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The Call of Chaos (The Forgotten Years) Paperback – December 20, 2016
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About the Author
Sean R. Frazier is the author of The Forgotten Years series. He was inspired to write in elementary school but did not seriously consider publishing anything until he graduated college. Though he had grandiose visions of churning out nonstop novels, those dreams were shelved for a while…until now. Sean lives in Missouri with his wife, two daughters, and assorted pets. He is a father, a husband, a gamer, a runner, and a total dork.
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Top customer reviews
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The plot and that I could actually finish it are the only things keeping this from being a one-star review, and even that only got interesting in the final pages.
My biggest complaint is that the book absolutely was not competently edited. Typos, formatting errors, and syntax issues riddle the novel. Spell check in Word would have solved some of these. Others only needed a quick read to find (multiple misplaced end quotes). And yet I finished the book. Like I said, for the story.
It feels like Frazier has read a good deal of fantasy books which he has tried to replicate here. But in 2016/2017, it's hard to get past the generic nomenclature. The world is called "The Realm" and it's never made clear whether the Realm is a country or a continent or the world as a whole. The coming threat is orcs, goblins, trolls, and ogres; none of these are meant to be primary antagonistic forces in a fantasy novel. Character last names are given little thought. They are all compound words that follow the formula adjective+noun, ex. Silvermoon. Put simply, the world building is shoddy at best.
Even worse, the characters. None of the three main protagonists have a distinguishable voice. And every chance he gets, Frazier likes to give them italicized thought. While this should be the perfect opportunity to give the characters personality, it's instead used as a way for the narrator to give more information about what the characters are thinking. The whole book reads like the characters and narrator are one in the same. Add cringeworthy external dialogue to cringeworthy internal dialogue, multiply that by a factor of inconsistent characterization, and you'll have the sum of how uncompelling these characters are.
There's only decently written character is The Blacksmoke, and I think that's only because he's a secondary character.
Those are my main gripes. So what's the plot that kept me plowing through. It follows Cor'il Silvermoon, an outcast with unusual powers on a journey to live in peace (despite what the blurb tells you) which is derailed by his convenient discovery of a magic book and his convenient meeting with a character who has his same powers. It's explained at the end why Cor'il has them but not why the other character does. So it seems silly that them bonding over these powers is such a critical point in the story.
What are these powers? Cor'il can control Threads which I suppose are the fabric of existence as we know it? But they aren't really because the Threads are artificial maybe? It doesn't do a good job explaining what they are.
Then there's also a hidden city where a group of semi-omniscient scholars study the Threads or something but they don't have any impact on the story at all so I'm not sure why they're there.
And the whole story is basically characters walking around and waiting doing absolutely nothing until a major city is attacked at the very end of the book. Imagine Lord of the Rings except no one really has any motivation to be doing anything. There's a character who's framed for murder and is on the run from people we never see and never makes any attempt to clear his name. His entire backstory is contrived to put him in a position where he can meet up with other characters.
Oh and there's the thief Kendra who also has no impact on anything and the storyweaver Orvaril(sp?) who has even less impact on it.
Okay, now that I've written all this out, maybe the story really isn't that great. I can't deny that Frazier has great ideas insofar as the lore, but everything is so poorly executed it's hard to tell. If he'd spent more time establishing just how threatening the menace was and actually putting to paper how Cor'il developed his new powers and dove into the deep end of the lore of Threads and better set up his unwilling heroes and created character moments that gave me a reason to care about anyone, The Call of Chaos would have been fantastic.
But it's just not there.
Although I felt like the ending events came about rather quickly (as compared to, say, the Mistborn series, though Sanderson is a pretty high standard to hit), I enjoyed the book, and will certainly read the next one when it comes along.