Monday, 1 February 2010

Arch Wizard by Ed Greenwood

2008, Solaris
376 pages, Hardback
Review Copy


Cushions: 3
Daggers: 4
Paperclips: 5
Smiles: 5
Yunaleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥

I managed to get Blogger gremlins to cooperate and let me post this.

Summary from Solaris

Having been drawn into a fantasy world of his own creation, Rod Everlar continues his quest to defeat the corruption he has discovered within. He sets off in pursuit of the dark wizard Malraun, only to find that he has raised an army of monsters and mercenaries in order to conquer the world.

The way Rod appears to the reader and how all the other characters view him is a good reminder of the difference of how people are viewed in real life. At one point in the story Rod hasn't got a clue how to use all the artefacts in his possession. He is aware that the guards believe he holds an incredible amount of power, so Rod uses that to his advantage. Who the guards think he is, at this point in the story, and who he knows he is, are two quite different people. His fears, voiced out in his head, had me smiling away. Heroes aren't always that confident in themselves. . Ros is a writer: fellow writers will find his thoughts entertaining, especially when he does something rather stupid which he really should know not to do. The same goes for his frenzy in needing to write down ideas of a story after a dream. I would safely guess that Ed Greenwood has either done the same things, or he is writing about writers in general.

The idea of Rod being in a world he created is cool. I found myself eager to learn why some people and events are unknown to Rod. I found myself questioning why this was the case, what or who was responsible for the unknowns, or was it just the nature of reality that the world he wrote about evolved on its own accord, without anyone controlling it? The way Rod needs paper n ink to make magic work reliably is a good concept.

Vivid imagery appears throughout the book, especially when flames appear in a character's eyes. Flames are a popular theme in the story. Mixing technology of earth with a fantasy world is a bad idea (good for the story, bad for the characters within the story), one which the antagonists naturally shine to. The thought of all those evil wizards let loose on Earth had me on the edge of my seat.

I loved the humour, in both the way the story is told and the characters themselves. Even the antagonists are funny. Arch Wizard reminds me of how my first concept of fantasy when I was little: a clear indication of who was good and who was evil, magic, strange beings, swords.That is true to some extent here, although the enemies have lots of tricks up their sleeves.

Everyone seems to love running around shouting die with the enthusiasm I normally have when breaking up a used box (yes on occadions I tell the box to die. Or when I get carried away in chopping fruit/vegetables).

The back story and extra details are slotted into the story nicely, without seeming like an info dump. I think I spot it more because as an aspiring writer, I have to think carefully how much information to put in a story. There's plenty of details about how the world works to keep me happy, revealed a little at a time in appropriate places.

Content: Some colourful (and inventive) language is used, scenes are a little gruesome in places. A handful of adult references, (quite graphic) and the story touches on non-consenting adult relationships.

Minor grumbles: On a few occasion I was a little overwhelmed by the volume of characters and factions, but I think they may have had a slower introduction in the first book. (check what the first book was). I liked all the different point of views, but sometimes I didn't feel that I had long enough in one pov before the pov changed. This sometimes made the story a little hard to follow as the flow kept being broken up.

So what else is in Arch Wizard? A map lover, hidden mountains, evil ones breeding evil beasties, spells, gems for magical usage, magical gates, sword fights, You want more details? Go read the book!

Arch Wizard ends on a cliffhanger making me hunt out the release date of book 3, Falconfar,...which is actually released this month so I'll try and get a copy for review.

Like fantasy with humour? Try Magic Kingdom For Sale/Sold by Terry Brooks


Becky said...

Hmmm...I'm thinking this one isn't for me. It sounds complicated.

Yunaleska said...

It was a little, but I got it in the end.