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From Men and Angels by H. L. Walsh
My Spoiler-Free Opinion
From Men and Angels, FMAA, written by H. L. Walsh a fellow indie-writer who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and befriending. I’ll get straight to the point, FMAA was a fun read! It is a High Fantasy story that’s a coming of age for the main character Malach. Alongside fellow protagonist, and best friends, Daziar and Honara along with his Wolf-Companion Skie.
Probably the number one worry and/or complaint about High Fantasy novels these days are that authors like to include more exposition than necessary (topic for another time). But HL Walsh doesn’t do that here, I found that there was just enough exposition here that didn’t draw me out of the story. Which I appreciated, but I’m a lore junky, so I’d be okay if there was more of it. That’s beside the point, rest assured I feel that there isn’t an overbearing quantity of exposition here. So if that’s something that worries you, you’ll be fine, at least I was.
So now that the big question of this High Fantasy novel is answered, what else can I say? Remember I’m strictly spoiler-free, so here I go. I’ll get my critiques out of the way first so that I can end this review on a high note of what I liked, which I believe outweighs the former.
Like any book, especially for a debut, FMAA doesn’t come without a few bumps here and there. This is most prevalent in grammatical errors, but from the First Edition, of which the Second Edition is now available; so this is among the smallest bumps I ran across. Plus I’m no grammar expert either, so it’s easy for me to bypass. I look forward to the second edition with these errors fixed, giving a much smoother ride.
There are a few moments in the narrative that I felt like the narrative was holding my hand, telling me what was and is instead of allowing me to come to the conclusion on my own. This was a little jarring for me.
Some scenes felt a bit rushed, this may just be me, as I prefer subtly and preparation leading up to a scene change. But the other side to this is that you can’t be too wordy, so there is a line of balance here to consider. I felt like some scenes were a little rushed, but that may just be me.
What did you like then? Well, there’s plenty to like! The side characters were likable enough, everyone has their weak point and flaws. This makes them more believable. I felt like I could connect to Malach, that being I’m more solitary and enjoy space. Preferring a quiet life just like our hero of the story. But my favorite character of all was Skie, Malach’s loyal companion, not pet! But without spoilers, that’s all I’m comfortable to say.
Other characters such as Honora and Daziar were likable and cool, but I felt weren’t fully fleshed out so I couldn’t relate to them much. But know, this is just Book One, so the excitement of character development for these two has my anticipation! Another pro.
The action also is something to note. There is a good balance of slow scenes and fast scenes that gives the story good pacing. Enough tension to turn the pages and time to catch your breath after fights. This is an essential balance to have and I felt was done well.
As mentioned before, the characters are balanced, but to not say more would be criminal. Each character has his/her own flaws, as we all do. Flaws that hinder them, and more importantly flaws that they need to overcome. Also, there is a good balance of diverse character personalities and backgrounds. Making the story more enjoyable as we see the world through different lenses.
The final and most important aspect that I liked, is Skie! That’s all I’ll say, you’ll just have to find out on your own and read the story.
Overall FMAA is a well-written piece. The story and characters are well fleshed out and done with clear careful planning. It’s not just some random written story. Despite a few bumps here and there, which I believe the second edition has clear up, I have to give the book 4/5 stars and place it on my top shelf. I look forward to the sequels and highly recommend From Men and Angels to everyone looking for a good read!
5th July, 2020
The Magi by Kevin M Turner
My Spoiler-Free Opinion
The Magi is the first book in a series that I very much enjoyed. It was recommended to me by my Mythology professor, in college, and once I got my hands on a copy I could not put it down. I gotta say, as to what I liked, well there was a great abundance to like. The characters, a hidden society, good vs evil (though not all is black and white) and so on. But I gotta say what enthralled me the most was the execution of how knowledge can be lost to history. Concerning what I didn’t like, well, there wasn’t a whole lot worth noting.
From the start, we’re forced to ask so many questions, but one, in particular, I was constantly wondering about. This idea of how something had been lost to history, so much that the only recorded evidence that this thing in question even existed could only be found in only one book. Not to mention that this thing in question was only found in one short paragraph of said book. I loved that! It creates so much mystery and intrigue that made me want to travel through history to figure out what in the hell happened. In addition to wondering about this particular thing that had been lost to history, I had other questions that were the vertex of several obstacles the characters had to overcome pulling me away from the overall bigger question and into the heat of the moment.
After a while we start to get some answers, but they don’t necessarily feel like they were just shoveled on. No, it felt like we had earned those answers by the time we go to them. Indeed, the characters had earned these very answers, and by the time I reached the end of the book I was left asking different questions. Enough so that without my already enthralled mind, I would buy the sequel book just to get those answers. But it was too late. At that point, I was fully invested and needed to see the stories end.
Guys, in the end, the Magi was a fantastic and inspiring read for me. Sorry about the vague use of details here, but in efforts to retain any potential spoilers I felt that to be best. Kevin M. Turner’s The Magi, along with its sequels (more on them later, hint-hint, clue-clue) have earned their keep and stay in a well-placed spot on the top shelf of my bookshelf. 5/5 from me, I loved this book and recommend it for any readers of the Fantasy, and related, genres.
25 January, 2020
The Sphere, Book 2 of the Magi Series by Kevin M Turner
My Spoiler free opinion.
So The Sphere is the sequel to Kevin M Turner’s The Magi. Which if you’ve already read my blog on The Magi, you’ll recall that I loved the first book. Well, I wouldn’t say the second book was better, but it was awesome. There was so much going on and so many dynamics at play that I felt immersed in the story up till the very end. You have the politics, responsibilities, and duties of not just life but of morality at play here. There wasn’t much I could say against this book, but after learning about the mystery of the Magi in the first book; well it is hard to follow up on that mystery. Less, of course, you add another mystery… And that is exactly what we got here ladies and gentlemen.
Not only were we given a sequel to the first book, but we were given so much more knowledge and understanding about the magical side of reality and the world the author had made. We received character growth, action that progressed the narrative and to top it all off a mysterious artifact that even the Magi barely know much about. This was well executed I believe, in the sense that more mystery and intrigue were given in our characters struggle to research, organize, plan their journey and then execute said journey all the while dealing with the dramas of life.
When I say Drama, I mean drama. A lot was going on between characters, in the community, and school. I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of Young Adult fiction, which I believe constitutes here as a sub-genre. I just have a hard time connecting and taking the main character(s) seriously if their all kids. It’s not intended to be offensive, I just find adults to be more believable in handling such extreme affairs. But The Magi series is an exception to my overall bias. Plus we have plenty of adults in the narrative who, without their support and aid, our young protagonist(s) would not have been able to accomplish their journey.
I mean it when I say I loved this book. It had so many hallmarks of a good story I enjoyed, and it even was able to deliver yet more mystery to a secret society that already was mystery enough to the outside world. We have drama, political obstacles, character growth, action and tension and the icing of the cake for me was, of course, the mystery that genuinely felt historical in this fictional piece. My hat is off to the author here, as The Sphere receives a 5/5 from me and of course, is right next to its predecessor The Magi, on my top shelf.
1 February, 2020