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The Vitalis Chronicles: Steps of Krakador Paperback – May 20, 2013
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Please Note: the author provided me with a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review when it was published.
This book follows several individuals and their adventures on the two continents of Grandia and Veria. On Grandia we track Ardin as he continues to discover his abilities and how to use the them effectively. Also present on this side of the world is King Rendin who must lead his armies out of the relative safety of the Dragon Tooth mountains in an attempt to try and defeat the Daemons and hopefully expose the evil Relequim. On Veria we witness the stories of Mayor Merodach, Major Anders Keaton and Quinn Phelts as they deal with both internal and external threats to their beloved Elandir.
Some thoughts on "The Steps of Krakador"...
1.) epic fantasy at its very best
2.) well written with a polished sense of pace and timing. With lots of action, intrigue and clandestine, backstabbing plotting... even a little romantic longing thrown in.
3.) some great, extended battles. Graphic, gory and glorious... loved them.
4.) loved the character development of many individuals, notably Cid, Rain and Keaton. The author allows us to witness their inner most thoughts, often while enduring contenious external events or conversations.
5.) several very important characters that can be seriously injured of killed... adding a sense of shock and realism to this fantasy adventure.
6.) a definitive and satisfying ending.
7.) maps... several maps making it possible to follow (most of) the action. The only thing missing on the maps was the locale of King Rendin's (and his army) final trek. This has been partially corrected on the final e-version publication.
8.) cover art... stunningly different. Not sure who it represented, but I loved it!
9.). and finally, being the old sentimental softie that I am, I loved the epilogue. Touching!
A couple minor complaints...
1.) while I'm very grateful for any maps, a little more detail on the map(s) leading to the final battle would be have been appreciated by this reader.
2.) with battles involving the heroes with supernatural abilities (i.e. Ardin) I found the encounters that used terms like 'meta-physical currents' and 'spiritual powers' etc. in the battle descriptions very confusing and truthfully, beyond my comprehension. I realize that certain individuals have some special abilities, but to me, good old-fashioned thrust, jab and parry (with an occasional fireball thrown in... lol) would suffice most of the time. Obviously a personal and subjective opinion.
A trilogy that heralds the arrival of author Jay Swanson to the ranks of the upper echelon of fantasy/adventure writers.
An overall intriguing story/series that got better with each ensuing book.
I look forward to reading more of this author.
As it is... 5 Stars
Jay is a master of words and makes sure you vividly envision each battle as if you were fighting alongside his characters and the final installment to this amazing trilogy was no exception. This is a trilogy I will be able to read over and over again, and I'm not even a fantasy reader, but Jay's writing style has converted me for sure!
If you wish to step out of reality for a bit and fall into a world with magic, mages and epic battles - The vitalis Chronicles are the books for you.
Can't wait to see what this author comes up with next!