Flesh Golem: The Scowl - Part One (The IronScythe Sagas) Kindle Edition
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FLESH GOLEM is a fast-paced, short, punchy effort solidly ensconced within the S&S genre. It’s exceptionally well written, especially in terms of the author’s uncanny ability to set scenes, create vivid, visceral landscapes and images that come alive in the reader’s mind through the magic of lean, well-crafted sentences.
I’m impressed by this author’s ability to paint vivacious “mind pictures” and implant them directly into our psyches, and he gets the job done with incredible economy of words. From the first paragraph the reader is absorbed — transported — as if by osmosis into an alien, eldritch realm. It’s the furious world of Arn. The climate in harsh, the very oxygen of the air seems menacing, and it’s all wrapped up in a quasi-Médiéval littérature noir sort of package that’s gloomy, yet has that “I wish I could go there!” vibe.
Great sword and sorcery is all about escapism, and for those weary of ordinary lives of cubicals and shopping malls, here is a harsh, yet wonderful world that will help you “get away from it all” in a slightly hellish Club Med sort of way.
Do I have any quibbles? Sure, I always do. What detracts from this overall fine effort is the protagonist Vareena Krall who is a young, beautiful tomboy skilled at swordplay, ready-and-able to go toe-to-toe with the best of any masculine hero — in other words, the archetype of Katniss Everdeen is reincarnated yet again to traverse an epic quest, to kick-tail and take names in a dystopian environment.
I first met this character SOME 46 years ago when, as a boy of 11, I read Robert Heinlein’s PODKAYNE OF MARS. Podkayne “Poddy” Fries was, by golly, a young and beautiful tomboy ready-and-able to go toe-to-toe with the bets of any masculine hero …. um … and Poddy keeps coming back again in fantasy afterlife after fantasy afterlife, whether she is Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica, Princess Leia, or even Bella Swan (from Twilight) to name just a few.
Believe me, I’m not the only literary and social critic out there moaning and groaning about the dire necessity for writers and other creative types to get beyond what has become not just an archetype, but a downright cliché.
I’m still waiting for a major female fantasy lead who is maybe, well, a plus-sized young lady, or perhaps what in a Rolling Stones lyric Mick and Keith called a “daylight drab” — you know, a shrinking-violet-perpetual-wallflower type … or … I don’t know … any one of the kind of average “normal” female types you’ll see standing in line at the motor vehicle department or down at the checkout counter in your neighborhood grocery store.
I am tempted to say also that the plot is a tad thin, but this would be unfair because Flesh Golem is only the first in a three-part series, the IRONSCYTHE SAGAS. I suspect a writer as gifted as Mr. Heritage will delve deeper into the various twists and turns, motivations and subplots that will fortify this excellent start with some fibrous, juicy red meat.
I say: Don’t miss this ride into the Realm of Arn. I promise you, it’s a thrilling jaunt.
I'm not sure why other than" British Author" perhaps , as the two don't write in the same manner at all. I enjoyed this introduction to the setting a great deal, and while the characters remain a bit of an enigma, I'm left curious instead of confused. Fantasy is a hard genre to be original, consistent and accessible but this story manages quite nicely.
It's a quest story, but also a mystery on top of a character study. Events occur in a surprising, but believable manner that never screams out "writer fiat". I'll definitely be following this series
There's also no glaring editing mistakes and the author never falls into overly purple prose, which is always a plus to me.
Cowl works flawlessly as the doomed, enigmatic, and maimed monster-man cursed to destroy all products of "delving"(metalwork) because in the world of Arn metals are imbued with magical powers and magic is forbidden. In this novella, Cowl's mission is to accompany Vareena, an untried swordswoman who is the scion of a once great House to the now abandoned hereditary home. The reason for her house's fall from grace happened generations ago when her family's ancestral castle was taken over by a delving-demon. Now, with Cowl, enemy of all delving at her side, Vareeena is determined to free her home of this supernatural menace.
Heritage does a great job of moving the story along without seeming hurried and revealing new information about Cowl and the world in a timely and intriguing manner without the dreaded info-dumps. Heritage also has a fine pen for picturesque prose, which will make the read especially enjoyable for those who prefer slightly more vivid and sophisticated writing, though he never comes close to drifting into purple prose.
And perhaps, in the finest accolade I can give Heritage, Flesh Golem inspired me to immediately buy the Cowl Omnibus so I can continue reading tales in the world of Arn.