Sunday, March 23, 2014

Darkin: A Journey East (The Darkin Saga #1) by Joseph A. Turkot

 Darkin: A Journey East (The Darkin Saga #1) by Joseph A. Turkot

Synopsis: The greatest dark wizard, long thought dead, has risen anew; in his wake marches the vast army of the Feral Brood. None could have foreseen the total evil set to descend upon Darkin.

A long age of peace has left the land devoid of heroes. Slavery has taken hold of the world’s commerce. All hope rests in the rebellious spirit of one slave.

Alien bloodlust besieges Adacon late one night—an impulse drives him to murder his guards and set out to find and kill his oppressers. Escaping into wilds unknown, he realizes the great peril awaiting him.

A strange hermit appears from under a sand dune, claiming to know “magic.” He believes that if they work together, they can build a band of warriors powerful enough to change the fate of the world. Can they find any still harboring valor and chivalry in their hearts?—or will their quest be for nought, ending in the ruin of the world?

Review: There were a number of things I didn’t enjoy about this book.

The biggest problem was probably the characters, they didn’t really have much personality to them and they didn’t really interest me.
Adacon, is supposed to be an escaped slave, had no evidence that he was. What there was of his personality didn’t match his status of being an ex-slave, he was confidant, no fears, no worries about being captured, intelligent and educated. He was also far too skilled as well, both him and his fellow ex-slave have excellent fighting skills and are able to overpower trained men despite not having practiced themselves. They have other ‘natural’ skills they shouldn’t, such as being able to ride horses skillfully.

The love story didn’t see natural either, two characters fell pretty much instantly in love and would do anything for each other. The family had no problems with the relationship. It just all seemed too easy and unrewarding.

The characters were on the whole overpowered. Most of the situations had no tension since the characters always seemed strong enough to take on even overwhelming odds.

Too often the characters would say or do something they (and the author) would think was funny or clever, but it just wasn’t.

The characters speak in a very unnatural way, almost archaic, but not really, more like a kid’s tv show from the 80’s.

One of the characters is a gnome who enjoys alcohol. The other characters are always very critical of his drinking (despite the fact the gnome had just found out his son had died), and the author is as well in the way he describes the gnome and what he does, compared to the other characters. Rather than coming across as a moral against abusing alcohol, it seemed to be preachy and it annoyed me how badly everyone was treating him.

There was a massive overuse of magic, every time the characters got into a difficult situation, the author would bring them close to defeat, then someone would use magic and save everyone. While magic is part of a fantasy novel, it shouldn’t be abused in this way, even books where the main characters are wizards (such as the Harry Potter series.) the characters use methods other than magic to save themselves.

The story was very clichéd and unoriginal, most of the plot has been seen many times before.

The descriptions were okay, but nothing special. It was generally easy to follow the action and to understand what something looked like, but it was lacking the attention to detail that most fantasy novels include.

There were large chucks of world building information and occasionally it became difficult to remember it all.

Overall this book was okay, but had many flaws. I didn’t feel connection with the characters, the death of almost any book, and I wasn’t convinced the main POV character personality suited his background. It was clichéd, and when it tried to be funny or clever it generally failed. The massive overuse of magic and overpowered characters hit another nail in the coffin by taking away any tension there might have been, and making any dangerous situation pointless and the resolution dull.

In full disclosure I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

Rating **


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