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Rune of the Apprentice (Rune Chronicles) Hardcover – November 1, 2016
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"With Jamison Stone, you get a writer who clearly understands the epic fantasy audience, yet also must find a way to appeal to readers who rarely explore these kinds of books. I belong to the latter group. The key here is to excel at characterization and plot, as Stone does. In addition, I found that Stone's writing has an almost poetic allure where there is a beautiful and insightful rhythm to his word choices. Stone's writing style is quite seductive. Like an artist, Stone uses descriptive words as his brush, meticulously painting each character." -Nerdy Girl Express
"This is a superb fantasy adventure I couldn't put down. It should provide hours of entertainment and adventure for readers of fantasy, or any lover of high adventure." -Clabe Polk Mystery and Adventure Review
From the Back Cover
"Stone has hit it out of the ballpark with this book, and you will not want to put it down." --Ben Greenfield, New York Times bestselling author of Beyond Training
Top customer reviews
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The core cast of characters are varied and have just enough of a hint of background that I was interested in learning more about them.
With the exception of the first few chapters, the story flows smoothly with enough detail and action interspersed to keep things interesting.
I've seen other reviews mention a cliffhanger ending, but I don't believe that to be the case. While this is clearly meant to be the opening book in a series of stories I do feel the ending point was appropriately chosen. It was satisfying while obviously leaving the story open to be resolved in future installments. After all, it's clearly indicated that this is Book 1 of the Rune Chronicles. Don't expect resolution to the overarching story line within the pages of this book.
Interesting and rather unique setting. The world has plenty of room and opportunity for exploration and revelation about its history. I'm genuinely curious to know why things are they way they are.
The core cast of characters are developed well for a first book. While many could fall into generic fantasy tropes they are still uniquely interesting and flawed enough to make them likeable. (I really like the new take on the classic berserker stereotype.)
The author very vividly paints battle scenes in such a way that it's clear what is happening. I've seen a lot of established authors in the genre struggle with this.
The pacing in the beginning of the book is off a bit. We're introduced to a world vastly different from our own and the author goes to pains to make sure we learn (too much) about its peoples and regions right off the bat. The story suffers from this info dump in the beginning, which is further complicated by a few jumps in viewpoint from character to character. After the first few chapters things get flowing quite well, but I did struggle getting into it in the beginning.
All in all, I'm glad I picked up this book and I'm looking forward to future installments in the series. This is a great first effort for a new writer and I expect he will only continue to improve with experience.
Stone writes the way Brayden fights. The narrative has great energy but lacks finesse.
• author has obviously read a lot of fantasy and made note of the standard elements, such as the prologue/teaser, the good-versus-evil theme, the interweaving of personal, political, and military themes
• fully imagined world (complete with the requisite endpaper maps) described in great detail
• mysterious young protagonist who must discover his lineage and learn to control his innate powers
• familiarity with martial arts
• accurate grammar and punctuation (although the editor didn’t correct the confusion of homonyms such as peace/piece)
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT
• has not yet found his own voice; the narrative is inconsistent amalgamation of several voices, standard fantasy tropes and conventions
• vocabulary aims for lofty language, piling big words on each other without regard for the nuances of language
• voice attempts the formality of fantasy but is interrupted by contemporary idioms and terms that are jarring in context (e.g. the sword fighter "cut a clean gash in Nara's external obliques”)
• repetition and hyperbole (e.g. ”alone unaccompanied" "swifter-than-natural artificial")
• instead of weighing and selecting among synonyms, the writer simply uses them all
• favorite words used so often they lose their meaning (profound/profoundly; pulsing; numinous; suddenly; then … then … then … ; sentences beginning with "Sadly, …”
• a few spots where gratuitous information is irrelevant to the narrative and probably is included only to set up sequels (e.g. fleeting reference to space travel)
• narrative arc needs to build; when you start at the top emotionally, there's nowhere left to go
When a book is overwritten, it's hard a reader to enter into the story. The first 50 pages were a slow slog to get through. The story would have been stronger if those 50 pages were condensed into 20.
Much like Aleksi, who must learn to control the "runic power" in his "pulsing palm," Stone needs to develop self-discipline to serve his imagination and writing talent. Rune of the Apprentice is an exciting adventure if you read fast and just follow the plot. Don't slow down and pay attention to the words or you'll become mired in the repetition and misuse of vocabulary. If Stone continues to mature as an author, subsequent books in this series should grow stronger, more fluent, and more readable.