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Tears of Min Brock (War of Whispers Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Some of the best stories I can remember are those that take me out of my own existence and insert me into a world I have never known. I get to become a part of the story and the adventure and excitement also becomes a part of my own.
In Tears of Min Brock by J. E. Lowder, I have again found one of those fascinating epic fantasy worlds that are daunting and dangerous, yet broodingly beautiful as well. Set in a time after the Dark War, Lowder brings about an adventure that is frightening and visual. His captivating world is filled with the darkness and dread and full of the creatures that cause fear, and yet throughout the story weaves an intricate pattern of light. He takes his characters into untold highs and lows of problems and beliefs as well as concerns for their families. When the darkness fights the light, we often rely on the light to win, yet what happens when it doesn't? In a world where a darkness rules, Lowder has brought us whispers of light, and a fierce young heroine. Can a young girl along with her best friend bring about the destruction of darkness, or is the light that whispers to her just a figment of her imagination?
In a deep and mysterious world where evil has appeared to win the war, Lowder brings us a story of hope and longing. His descriptions and embellishment's are both enchanting and dangerous. His young hero, Elabea can hear the whisper of the lightness from the land of Claire that had been rumored to have been destroyed by the Ebon, during the dark war. Elabea is slated as a storyteller, one of the great magic users of time, but will she live to fulfill her destiny? She is young and yet malleable, but her belief is deep and profound.
Her best friend Galadin too begins her journey with her, but he has his doubts. He does not hear the whispers, but he does believe in her. Both of their fathers fought in the war, and were now different men from the proud warriors they once were. Galadin dreams of becoming something more. He knows he will follow Elabea where ever she leads, and soon he too finds his place in this story.
They are joined by others, an old storyteller from before the war, as well as a hero many thought had died during the war. But can they escape the false whispers of the cauldron. How to they decipher which are the true ones, and when they do, will it be too late?
I enjoy fantasy and I found myself unable to put this one down. The evil and danger are inherent, and yet the light finds a way to twist throughout in thoughts and actions. The whisper is exciting and the fight and chase scenes hold you spellbound. In a world where the very darkness seems to hold sway, brightness seems to burn through the pages.
If you love the power of words and enjoy epic fantasy this is a world waiting for you. Our heroine is a 14 year old girl and with her is her young best friend, so while this could be construed as a YA Fantasy, make no mistake, it heralds the themes and storyline that cross over into the adult experience. I found this to be one of my favorite books of the year, and am looking forward to the sequel. Lowder writes a story that does not disappoint.
This would be a wonderful work for your budding reader and one for your long-term reader as well. A wonderful book for your library, Lowder has ratcheted up a notch on the playing field.
This book was received free from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.
J.E. Lowder asked me to read "The Tears of Min Brock". It is the first book in the "War of the Whispers" saga between The King of Claire and the Cauldron of Ebon. I will examined plot, characters, polish and then assign a grade.
The plot follows the classic Hero's Journey. The hero (in this case, Elabea) receives the Call to Adventure and journeys into the Unknown World where they encounter Trials and Tribulations. The hero's goal is to arrive at their destination and then return with a boon for their people. In this case, Elabea wants to become a full fledged storyteller so she can inspire the people of her hometown and overturn Ebon's oppressive rule. This structure, plus the rich and enchanted setting Mr.Lowder has developed, give this story an epic and mystical air. It was a joy to follow her journey to Claire.
I also like Mr.Lowder's take on the Hero Of Another Story. Elabea is the main heroine but her journey is only 1/4 of the narrative. There are others working toward the overthrow of Ebon and facing their own trials and tribulations. To my surprise, the story doesn't feel cluttered because of this. Instead, they enrich the story. Perhaps this is because all four of them are different fronts in the War of the Whispers.
For a third point, I give Mr.Lowder props for making a christian fantasy without introducing a story breaker. It is nigh impossible to include a benevolent and omnipotent deity while maintaining dramatic tension but Lowder makes it work. The War of the Whispers is as much (or more) spiritual than it is physical. The journey enables Elabea and Galadin to mature and ward off the Cauldron's drone as they make their way to Claire, thus enabling them to become the heroes the world needs to overthrow Ebon. While Manno Vox could airlift Elabea to Claire or defeat all her enemies in place of Galadin, that would defeat the point of the journey; while Galadin defeats trained soldiers on his own without training because of The Only's presence, without personal courage and faith he would lose anyway. It truly is a 'War of the Whispers', instead of a 'war of soldiers'.@
However, I have two problems with this plot; an idiot ball in the backstory and a cliff hanger ending.
As for the backstory, Brairtok, the King of Ebon, decimated Claire's Army and killed its leader, Manno Vox, because of a deception that a military leader shouldn't have fallne for. He pretended to have wagons of wounded troops and wanted to pass Manno Vox's lines, presumably to have them treated. Manno Vox allows him to pass without checking the wagons or demanding weapons or anything. Once in their midsts, the ebon soliders wipe out the Claire soldiers and Manno Vox is so shocked by this that Brairtok takes him out with a crossbow. On another occasion, the entire crop of story tellers, the best defense and weapon against Ebon, are given up for execution in exchange for Ebon to retreat from a location. Naturally, they don't retreat.
These two things are a problem because they undermine the premise. I think that if the people in the backstory weren't so stupid, then the bad guys wouldn't have taken over. It breaks my Willing Suspension of Disbelief that Claire with so many soliders and so many storytellers and generally outclassing Ebon in all ways, could have lost so completely that everyone thinks the place is myth one generation later.
As for the cliff hanger ending. I despise cliff hanger endings because I see them as cattle prods. I don't ask for a neat package with a bow on it but I want a sense that this leg of the journey is over. I don't get that here. I feel like there's a chapter missing or an eplilogue that was never written.
It's because of these two problems that, as much as I like it, I can't give this book a perfect score.
The characters are complex are diverse. There are cynics, idealists, cynics who want to be idealists but can't manage it. There are warriors and jesters and badass animal companions and angels! It's a wide cast and Lowder does an admirable job developing them all. It's especially impressive because they don't form a single group and so they can't be developed simultaneously.
Newcomb's party has enough characterization and plot importance to be the main party and so are Elebea and Galadin's fathers back in their hometown and Il-Lilliad's quest for allies.
For a second third point, the ebonites are not monolithically evil. They're still evil but in different ways. There are Punch Clock Villains working in the military, Brairtok has this 'glory and power seeker' thing, the Cauldron's Council have this 'evil priesthood' thing and the Cauldron itself is like some primordial First Evil.
There is no word cruft, which is a 'delight'. Also no problems in terms of spelling or grammar. On another note, there are patches in the story that are written in all CAPS. I have no idea what this means so I ignore it. Overall, there's good flow in this storyline.
Trickster Eric Novels gives "The Tears of Min Brock" a B+
Most recent customer reviews
Not too many books can truly be described as epic. Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Pullman's Dark Materials...and now TEARS OF MIN BROCK.Read more