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Covenant of the Faceless Knights: BEGINNINGS BOOK 2 Paperback – May 24, 2012
"a unique approach to fantasy with his intricate characterization and his eye for the unpredictable."
"If you're looking for a good fantasy novel that will leave you satisfied as a reader, then I believe you've found it."
"I can quite honestly say that I loved every page of this novel. From start to finish it's pure fun- big, brash, in your face heroic fantasy." -Ross Kitson, Author of Darkness Rising
From the Author
This is the first full-length novel in the series and picks up directly after the events that transpire in WOTHLONDIA RISING: ANTHOLOGY.
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That's not always an easy thing to do, especially when there are not a handful, but many, many characters that are needed to make the story ring true. It is a talent that I have not seen many writers manage that can have all sorts of characters with their goals clashing together and keep the reader interested in finding out what happens to each and every one of them.
I think this author managed that exceptionally well...
From the first page, it is obvious that the story is set in a rich universe of characters and settings. Moving from place to place in the book isn't a simple info dump but instead is a well considered and thought out picture that the author draws in your mind. The same is true of the characters in the book. None of them are anything like a cardboard cutout which is a pleasant surprise. The same is true of the minor characters as well, they are not simply cannon fodder and have a purpose in the core of the story which makes their appearances important to note. I won't spoil which ones are, but I will say that the ones that make their way through the entire story are, at the end of it, almost main characters in a way and their return in the next story I do look forward to.
While the lead up to the first meeting of the main characters of the story takes a little while, I didn't see a fault in doing so. The time was well spent in giving the reader a look into this world, some of the dangers and pleasures that exist in it and it established the world really well. But again, this wasn't an info dump. The story was told in a way that made it fit into what was happening to the characters and that gave the story life. I found that from the beginning I cared about what was happening to them all and I wanted to see what would happen next.
The mystery of this world is interesting as well. There are a lot of questions that occur as you make your way through the story, nut not all of them are answered. That's a good thing as an air of mystery I think lends itself well to the overall theme.
There is an underlying tension in the book that appears not just in the characters, but in the world itself. It's almost as if everyone is waiting for something to happen that will make the past history of this world a minor event in comparison... and that past history is violent and almost brought this world to its end.
The story is a quest of course. A quest to find something stolen from the side of the light which was keeping it safe from the forces of darkness. The interesting thing is that the heroes of the work don't actually come in contact with the one who is constructing the threat, never discover who they are, and only know of the one quest they are undertaking. But as that quest unfolds, we see the threat building in parallel with the adventurers as they attempt to fulfill their goals and overcome very high odds of success. But then this is the first story of course and so there is world building to do and events to place into motion... all of which I am sure will be encountered as the overall story arc moves to the next part of the story when the next book in the series arrives.
It's difficult to talk about the main characters of the story without revealing a lot of spoilers. I won't do that but I will point out that each of them has a deep background story that explains why they have the drives they have, and also helps to being them together as a group. Each has a strength and a weakness that can make their lives difficult at times and when they must battle the forces placed against them, there is strife and argument among them. That makes them not perfect, not overpowered either. They must come to act together or they will perish alone. Setting up the connections here was well done and there wasn't anything that I read that bothered me in their actions or the results of those actions.
As for style, the author writes well, and I didn't come across anything in the story that pulled me out of the world. I did have a moment wondering if the heroes would ever get to their goal for all of the problems that confronted them. I understand that this was necessary to make them all a cohesive fighting force and the climax of the story makes good use of that. I just wonder if perhaps one less battle sequence and one more reveal of the evil side would have been a better thought?
Otherwise, it's a tight read, well edited and a pleasure to read...
I'm giving this work five pitchforks out of five.
An excellent read, wonderful characters and I did rather like the succubi that appeared in the story. I will be looking for the next book in the series and I hope that appears soon for there is so much to be still told...
I really enjoyed this book. It's Dungeons and Dragons on steroids, and indie author Gary Vanucci is the Dungeon Master.
Noble Garius is in way over his head with the group of allies he has gathered. But he's got no choice, he has to use them. It was a toss up between him and Elec the Elf as to who my favorite male character was. Elec is awesome, so young and naïve.
Rose Thorne is aptly named. She is one tough lady, sharp, sweet and dangerous to know. She is bold and unashamed to use every one of her many weapons to make her point.
Saeunn is the heavy on the good-guys side. Filled with anguish and darkness, she, too, is dangerous to know. I wanted to see more of her in this tale, and that means she is an awesomely written character. Every one of these people is exactly what a true fan of epic fantasy expects to find in a book.
Even the side characters have great stories. So much angst! At times this tale is quite entertaining as Rose's colorful past poses difficulties for certain respectable men with whom she has a history. That is one of the better threads in this tale!
The plot is great, and the twists and turns are engrossing and at time hilarious. I LOVED the villain! Big, bad, horrifyingly evil villains are what make a tale, from my point of view. The fight scenes are really well thought out and kept me on the edge of my seat. Vanucci's magic system is logical. Things don't just happen randomly, which can be a problem in today's tidal wave of wannabe epic fantasy on the indie front.
Gary Vanucci's great strength as an author is the ability to create a real, tangible world filled with the right sounds and scents that make the reader forget they are reading. He fills that world with real people, fully drawn and fleshed out, behaving the way they should, and never losing that momentum. As events unfold, things don't always go the way they want them to, and their reactions to those moments are spot on.
If I had any complaint, it is that there are a few places where the author seems to repeat himself, but that is by no means a detraction. All in all, the book has a great flow. It is written with passion and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves truly epic fantasy.
Strengths: Very imaginative and detailed. I am usually a fan of heroes in a story, but I find myself rather smitten by the villains here. They have a much more real and relatable feeling to them. The Orcs and Goblins are amazingly good fun, and my favorite characters by far.
Just trying to cover a few things that other commenters did not. My perceptions are my own, so don't hate ^_^
Check it out, you might like it!
The story was fast-moving and the back story was woven in without getting in the way of the action, and there was lots of action. It reminded me of old gaming campaigns.