Blog Archive

View My Stats
Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mini-Reviews: It Began With Ashes by D. E. M. Emrys and The Remortal by Ramsey Isler (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)



Official Author Website
Order the book HERE
Read my review of From Man To Man by D.E.M. Emrys
Read The Truth Behind A Legend by D.E.M. Emrys (Guest post)

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: I was introduced to D. E. M. Emrys’ writing when I read the prequel short story From Man To Man. It focused on Draven Reinhardt, a retired warrior who has been under some stringent conditions due to his current status as a simple worker. It intrigued me enough to give It Began With Ashes a shot. This story was a fuller one focusing on more characters and was a good debut.

There are many POV characters in It Began With Ashes, we have Draven Reinhardt, then his son Kale Reinhardt who adores his father but will have his own role to play in the events to come. Astartes is the son of Nicolas the tax collector who is rather unnerved as he travels along his father and sees things that have only been mentioned as roadside tales. Morganna is Draven’s wife and a person who stabilizes his home and has maintained his sanity. Kale is a young kid who idolizes his father and wishes to grow up and be exactly like his father. All of them will be tested in several different ways as they face an attack from the Vikir. The Vikir are a race of warriors who were defeated a long time ago and since then have only been part of folklore. Things change when they invade and and the story line actually begins.

The best part of the story is that the book’s pace as we are quickly introduced to all the characters and the situation. But it doesn't feel rushed; we are shown what afflictions the characters have faced so far. The book very strongly explores a vast character cast who are facing turmoil psychologically, physically and financially. The story opens with almost everyone in stage of transition and then before we know it, chaos strikes in the form of the Vikir invasion. The characters react in various ways and it’s clear that this book will be as much a heroic fantasy as a coming-of-age one. Kale and Astartes are clearly the two main protagonists through whose eyes we see most of the story, they are both young and often a bit clueless about their surroundings. The author very conveniently switches each POV chapter so as to show how much confusion that ensues in the story and how unsettled everyone is because of it.

Lastly there’s the characterization which is handled well by the author and gives the reader some intriguing accounts to follow and the characters that are very interesting. The reader will be completely enthralled and thus it makes for the last hook. Moving on to the inadequacies of the story, the biggest one is the world building front. The world and back history are only hinted at and never clearly revealed. The characters often spout things that mean something but because the readers are not clued in, the impact doesn't come through entirely. I’m sure with the second book the author will remedy this front but in this one, it was lacking. Another point was the story is on the shorter side and this could be something that many readers might find a bit disconcerting (for those who love their fantasy to be on the longer side).

It Began With Ashes is a good debut, it showcases some deft writing skills on the author’s part. This book is one for those who love fast paced, action packed stories with intriguing characters. Namely if you like Jim Butcher, James Barclay or Jennifer Fallon then you might enjoy D. E. M. Emrys’ debut as well so give it a shot.


Official Author Website
Order the book HERE
Read an excerpt HERE

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: The Remortal by Ramsey Isler was another surprise pick for me. This was a review request that pinged my interest purely based on the blurb. The book is about immortals living among us and about a teenage runaway called Telly that encounters them, the read was a surprising one to say the least.

The story begins with Telly who is a runaway and a part-time junkie, his best friend is Mattie who is also a runaway like him. On one of their most recent food excursions they run afoul of some gangsters and are almost about to get a lethal beating when a person called Van intervenes. His arrival saves their lives and he offers Telly an intriguing proposal. This is where the story really kicks in and the reader gets hooked on the premise. The story then opens up that premise and we get to see how the author explores the issue of immortality.

There is only a singular POV character Telly and hence the story is really on his shoulders. We get to see his transformation from an unsure runaway into a person who can plan for his future. Telly is an intriguing character who transforms in small and large ways and the entire story is about the journey he takes. Van is his eternal mentor and spurs him on with his suggestions and tasks. Van is a brutally fascinating character in himself and gives out some very curious tidbits about his past as well as the history of the immortals. This history is only teased and I’m hoping that there will be more revealed in the sequel as otherwise this would be a very very sore point for the book.

The story opens up with Telly as his transformation is the pivotal focus of the story and while it is taking place, the reader will be intrigued as to where it is heading as the blurb contents reveal what the end might be. Van’s death at Telly’s hands is the main event that the readers are promised however along the way there are few other subplots as well. Mainly the other immortals are quite wary of Van and his final agenda and they pursue Telly to acquaint him fully to their cause. There’s also Mattie and his troubles that keep Telly occupied and thus with all these subplots, the final climax doesn't quite precisely resolve all of them.

The ending while a complete one also leaves quite a few threads hanging and so it’s my hope that the author conveniently made it so for the sequel as otherwise it would be a bit unsatisfactory. The plus points of this book are its engaging protagonist, streamlined plot line and intriguing setup but what also lets the book down partially is the weak back story and incomplete plot resolution. The Remortal is a book that showed a lot of promise but didn't quite fulfill it. It's a good book but one that falls short of being fantastic.

0 comments:

Follow by Email

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Burning Isle” by Will Panzo!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Diabolic” by S.J. Kincaid!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “A Gossamer Lens” by M.R. Mathias!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Lost Gods” by Brom!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Blood Mirror” by Brent Weeks!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Wall of Storms” by Ken Liu!!!
Order HERE