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A Song of Betrayal (The Adventures of Weylin) (Volume 1) Paperback – Large Print, September 1, 2013
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All of my next complaints could have been easily solved with simply a longer book. I cannot stress enough how much potential this had to be crazy interesting for me. But everything just whizzed by and the setups were predictable.
I found the world interesting. I wanted the opportunity to learn more of the Balauri race and get entrenched in the world. We were only in a small portion of it, and in that portion I unfortunately felt at a distance from it all—it moved too quickly. Weylin was an interesting character. We learned a bit about his past, but I would have liked more. I guess I never felt grounded in the story.
There’s a prologue that I don’t understand in the least. As far as I could see, it had absolutely no bearing on the plot. Sure, it was quick, but so far removed from everything else that it just didn’t tie in to anything.
Here's an example where events were kind of predictable (given a scene where someone talked about the potential of something and then it happens in the next scene—too close together):
Weylin’s group docks at a town, they're in a tavern, and a group comes in carrying a dying man. They tell all that there’s a Krake (huge, evil beast) out in the ocean. Nothing was mention of it before. Suddenly, Weylin’s group leaves and guess what they encounter out at sea? If the book had been longer, the Krake could have been mentioned earlier, in passing or folklore, and when it appeared, it wouldn’t have felt so forced. That's just one example. A couple scenes had the same feel.
There were some hints about certain characters that were never really answered clearly. I saw that this is labeled “The Adventures of Weylin, Book 1,” so I'm sure the second book will give us some answers. It has me a bit curious, because the passing of years would make my suspicions false, but I'm not sure what other explanation could be provided based on the dropped hints we received.
Sometimes the scenes felt a bit jerky and rushed through. Especially a few action moments. Again, lengthening them out a bit would have helped.
I don’t really have much else to say. I’m not ready to write it off entirely. I’ll keep an eye out for the second book because I’d be curious to read more of the world. However, if it doesn’t slow down a bit and take some time with each scene, I’m not sure I’d continue with the third.
So in conclusion, it was an easy read, quick and entertaining. It didn’t get much else out of me, but had the potential to do so much more.
Duckworth tells the story of Weylin, and through him we start to understand the race called Balauri, and their rich, divided history. Weylin has somehow fallen from grace and been banished from his homeland in disgrace. But Weylin, a Balauri who had only been second to the queen, isn’t content to simply live his life. He has a plan, though one that is very thin, and he has started to collect allies like Falk, a fellow outcast.
“A Song of Betrayal” provides a well-developed world in which the action of the plot takes place. Duckworth includes bits of historical text, and wonderful songs reminiscent of those found in “Lord of the Rings” to provide layers of depth. The characters are caught up in both their own past and the history of their world, which is a delight to learn about.
Duckworth does an excellent job creating a believable world and living characters in a dangerous and thrilling world. One of my favorite sequence of chapters included the ship’s crew that Weylin and Falk travel with as they journey to find other allies, where they fight the sea, storms, and great monsters. The writing is crisp, clean and the plot moves along at a wonderful pace.
While the book is a bit on the short side (which left me wanting more), and Duckworth relies on some classic fantasy tropes, the entire effort is well-crafted and the story holds together beautifully. “A Song of Betrayal” sets up the world of Harren, the flawed and believable characters that inhabit it, and a plot wrapped around the desires of those characters. Duckworth is more than just a capable storyteller. He’s very enthusiastic about his writing, and the reader will definitely feel that intensity coming off the page.
I can't really talk about the plot too much more without giving it away. Also please keep in mind that I am comparing this story to other Novella's I have read and not novels. Jesse Duckworth deserves credit for not keeping too much from the reader. He has found a good balance of explaining enough while keeping some secrets. Sadly a lot of Novella's fail to explain enough of the overall world and thus prove difficult to get a grasp of.
A simple yet effective way that he accomplishes this is by having a short history summary in front of most of the chapters. They kind of reminded me of museum plaques, they helped greatly in framing the world of the story as it took place.
This Novella accomplished what it was meant to, it gave me a taste of this world and frankly I want more. Chances are you will feel the same after reading it.