Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Dark Lord (Falconfar Book One)

Dark Lord (Falconfar)Title: Dark Lord
Author: Ed Greenwood
Series: Falconfar

Succeeded By: Arch Wizard


Score: 8/10
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: I'd really like to.


I've read quite a few books this year, and as a student the year for me begins in September, so that's quite some time to be reading.  But this is very likely to be the most unique of all of them.

I decided to review it almost entirely on the strength of the title, "Dark Lord", with the incredible artwork on the cover enticing me further. It embarrasses me somewhat to say that I actually had no idea of what it was about... But it paid off. If I had read the blurb, I would have chosen a different book. It's about a man who travels to his own fantasy world, and I generally avoid these books, for reasons which will be explained below...

But before I heap praise onto this book, there is one major thing that stops this book from receiving full marks. There isn't a particularly strong plot. The story is driven by consequence, rather than the goal, which is equally indirect - wander around until the main character feels right. But it IS the first in a trilogy, and the foundation is laid for a stronger story arc overall, which offers some comfort.

So if it's not in the plot, where does the strength of this plot lie? The answer is pretty much everywhere else. The obvious one to say would be the Characters, and they are done very well, particularly the main characters: Rod and Taeauna. But I'm not going to go into that because, in my opinion, there is a much more interesting aspect to the story.

It's not the action either, although there's plenty of it, again done very well. This varies between tense, serious fighting, to the more comedic situations of the characters being attacked while bathing or making love. It's a broad range of writing types, and I'm quite impressed.

But the thing that really stood out was how well the modern character interacted with his world. This is the thing that makes me wary of these types of books in general, because in nearly every thing I've read with a modern day character there is a pattern: initial wonder, immediate denial, acceptance of destiny, forget that the modern world exists. This isn't strictly adhered to, but generally occurs in the first few chapters. In this book however, the main character is constantly reminding hi
Self that he's from our world, for instance saying that something is as heavy as a cart, at which the other characters become confused. While there is a Vague resemblance of that cycle, it's less obvious, and doesn't complete even at the end of the book. In fact, he's a pretty useless hero, following Taeauna around trying to Learn about the world.

And the other interesting aspect is that while most of these type of books are people who stumble across the fantasy world, or maybe dream it up, Rod is the author of a series of books about the world. Now that wouldn't be so different in itself, but there is also a computer game of the series. It's that computer game company, Holdencorp, who have made the world of Falconfar such a terrible place, because of the simple dynamics of video games (ie in video games, there needs to be lots of enemies for the player to kill, so there's lots of enemies in falconfar since Holdencorp acquired rights). It's this kind of thing that makes the book so unique.

I really would like to give this book 10/10, but since the plot is lacking I don't think I can. But I loved it, and plan to recommend it to everyone. Including you. Read it.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): 1 male, 1 female (ex-winged woman)
Main Antagonist(s): 3 male
Main Relationships: Heterosexual
Genre: Fantasy
Brief Synopsis:

"Dark Lord" is the first of three novels in "The Falconfar Saga". Rod Everlar is a writer who has created a fantasy world called Falconfar, into which he is drawn. There, he discovers that three dark wizards dominate the land. Now he must learn to seize control of Falconfar and find a way of defeating the corruption within. "Dark Lord" displays all the hallmarks of Ed's reputation for creating a richly realised fantasy setting, and characters that shine.  

ISBN: 978-1844165193
Website: Series Page
Amazon Link: UK | US
Pages: 384
First Published: 3 Sep 2007
Publisher: Solaris

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