Friday, 1 July 2011

Nights of Villjamur (Legends of the Red Sun Book One)

Nights of Villjamur (Legends of the Red Sun)Title: Nights of Villjamur
Author: Mark Charan Newton
Series: Legends of the Setting Sun
Succeeded By: City of Ruin


Score: 6/10
Chart Entry Point: 8
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: I look forwards to it.


I wasn't sure what I was expecting when I began this book, but it' the first book I've read in a while that's ended in a truly satisfactory way. Considering that it's the first in a series, and plenty of plot-lines are left to explore in the next book, I'd say that's quite impressive. And it's not the only good thing that I can say about this book either. I found it to be a very nice read.

I often speak about the characters in a book, because often it's what makes a story for me. This book was no different, and the characters were good. But what really stood out about them was how they were written as viewpoint characters. Generally with viewpoint characters, descriptions are the same style from different perspectives. In Nights of Villjamur, however, I felt that each character had their own outlook on things. While Brynd (a human) sees people and rumel (The other major species), Jeryd (a rumel) sees people and humans. It's a subtle touch, but with high-caliber writing it's often these little things that make a difference.

While on the subject of races, there is one race that was done in a unique, but excellent way. The Banshees. Often considered supernatural, evil things - in this Newton describes them as simple women, who are overcome with despair when people die (hence the screaming). Again, this isn't a major thing. But it fits into the story so perfectly, helping to create a solid culture for us, as readers, to enjoy. The different races, the lifestyle and culture are all done very well.

The first downside of the book, the only major one I felt, was that the history and geography of the place is a bit confusing. It could be something to do with the names. a lot of the places start with "Vill", so it's easy to get them mixed up. The Empire has the same name as the emperors, and their families, and even the city (Jamur is the empire name). It looks simple on the map at the beginning of the book, but it's easy to get lost when reading about it. Similarly, Newton apparently has a larger vocabulary than I, as I had to look several words up in a dictionary. That doesn't happen to me often these days, but I felt it happened too much in this one. (Febrile was the first example, which means "Of or relating to fever". I think it may have been misused)

But I found that although the names were awkward, the story wasn't at all. It was fairly fast-paced, although it wasn't particularly action-based. The political aspects of the book were much more prevalent. As was the magic system - if I can call it that. It's well quoted the advanced enough technology looks like magic (actually, this is even said within the book). And this is how the magic works in this. I have seen the technology-magic system used before, but not in quite such a way. the general populace is aware that it's all technology, it just takes lots of learning and knowledge to be able to use the devices. and there are different factions, who use it in different ways - just as many magic factions in traditional systems do. Again, it's something that worked really well. here.

I enjoyed reading this book. It wasn't exceptional writing, the names of the characters and places were often confusing or forgetful, but it was an exceptional story. This book gets my recommendation, and I look forwards to reading the sequel.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): Several Mixed
Main Antagonist(s): Several Male
Main Relationships: Heterosexual, Homosexual (Male)
Genre: Fantasy
Brief Synopsis:

The inhabitants of the city of Villjamur are preparing for an upcoming ice age when a member of the ruling Council is gruesomely murdered. Jeryd, a nonhuman Rumel, is the city’s senior investigator, and after nearly 200 years, he thinks he has seen it all. Meanwhile, island boy Randur has come to the city in hopes of persuading the magic-wielding cultists to extend his mother’s life. As the ice tightens its grip on the island empire, enemies strike and an unknown force kills most of the Night Guard, an elite force led by Brynd, the king’s most trusted advisor and fighter. 

ISBN: 978-0-330-46166-5
Amazon Link: UK | US
Pages: 497
Publisher:Tor Books

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