'Writing for me is not about speeling, grammar or punctuation – that’s why we have editors.... No, writing for me is the ability to capture a story and put it in words.' - Fantasy Muse

Wednesday 27 February 2013

To kill a God

For the last few days I’ve been reading ‘To Kill A God (God Slayers Series)'by Darcy Dellaray.

The Blurb:

They call him the Wraith Dragon. He is the last scion of the Delandari clan. He was spared for one thing only: vengeance. Problem is, can one man kill a god?
They whisper he is the demon-eyed monster that hunts the land in search for its prey. Hunting is only the beginning.
Elite soldiers of Weston Kull, said to be the most powerful god of them all, have recently disappeared in Wyvenshore. Weston sends Lana, an ex-soldier of the Scorpion Elite, a legion of ruthlessly trained warriors, to hunt down the man responsible, Wraith Dragon.
Lana discovers that there is more to the demon-eyed monster than what the whispers have previously told her.
Entangled in a web of deceit and pain, and dragged into the heavily fortified strongholds of the most powerful and merciless gods on Earth, Drago and Lana unearth a dark secret, a secret that will shatter the very heart of their world.
Unlikely friendships and love, gods, magick, angels, dragons, death, and the deepest of betrayals await you.
Breathtakingly chilling, action-packed, fast-paced and thrilling, To Kill A God is a tale of vengeance but one that beautifully unfolds and leaves you wanting more.
He is Wraith Dragon. He is Vengeance.

Front Cover:

My opinion:

***May Contain Spoilers***

What drew me to the book was the front cover, it was eye catching and different. The title ‘To Kill a God’ only further cemented my interest – and it slightly reminded me of the epic game ‘God of War’ (Even the cover looks like the character).

The main protagonist is Wraith Dragon and the book begins with Drago hunting down a god named Weston, who he believes was responsible for massacring his clan. When I first started the book I had in my mind images of Kratos from ‘God of War’ and I was expecting some bad-ass character. Well, that picture soon crumbled upon itself when he got soundly beaten up by a woman within the first chapter. However, to be fair to him, she (Lana) was an ex-soldier of the Scorpion Elite, a legion of ruthlessly trained warriors. The story then follows their adventures as they go about killing gods – as the title implies.

As fantasy books go, the storyline is a change to the norm, the idea of characters taking down gods was something new, and off the top of my head I can’t recall having read a book that was similar to it. There is plenty of action to hook the reader’s interest from the get go and the fight scenes were well written and thought out.

The story is fast paced and moves from scene to scene without it dragging. The book is told in third person and it mainly follows Drago and Lana. The characters point of view switches regularly between paragraphs rather than it being cut into defined sections. The positives are that the story flows nicely and you get to see into other characters thoughts, at that particular moment, and not have to wait for their turn. However, it can be sometimes confusing to the reader, to ascertain which character the story is being told through.

From the blurb I was expecting some form of romance between the two main characters, and while they do develop a close relationship, it never materialised past friendship. Perhaps the author is holding back on that until later. So, if you’re hoping for a poignant love story then this isn’t it.

Although the book does contain some mature themes, I would say it’s safe for young readers. I enjoyed that the book didn't evolve into unnecessary violence just to make it controversial (as is the trend nowadays).

Some minor points of criticism:

  • At the beginning of the book, Lana is shown to be a somewhat psychotic character, as shown in her actions and mannerism but then her demeanour suddenly shifts to a caring compassionate woman, which left me confused, in trying to identify her.  

  • Fantasy books are littered with exotic names, and authors are given a free license to go out and have fun in naming their characters. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that if I was going to name a god - it wouldn’t be Weston. I had a hard time relating to that name, it just didn’t inspire the sense of awe from me that you’d expect to have from a god - but, hey, that could just be me.


All in all, this is a promising, well written novel, and without any glaring mistakes in spelling or grammar. I’d recommend it to those who are looking for a fast paced action book.

While I admit, I wasn’t as engrossed in the book that I couldn't put it down - it certainly wasn’t to the extent that I had trouble picking it up again.

Will I read the next installment? Yes, but at a reasonable price.

My rating out of 10 stars:

6 Stars – Above average, but as I’ve mentioned before, I wasn’t completely hooked by it, and as a result, I’m not fervently waiting for book two – but, having said that, I do hold a passing curiosity for what will transpire in the next book.

If you're interested then check it out here.

Monday 25 February 2013

Kelven's Riddle

As I’ve mentioned briefly in my first post, the aim of my blog is to write about fantasy books. I fear I might have glossed over that part in my excitement to write about my childhood.

A word of caution - If you’re looking for a blog that professionally reviews books with wonderful prose and beautiful adjectives, then sadly this isn’t it. I’m in no doubt that there are countless other blogs that can do a much better critique than me. What I will say, however, is that I will give my honest opinion of a book. If I like or dislike a book I will tell you why and not confound you with endless amount of words and at the end of it you’re left scratching your head wondering what I’ve said. Many times when I read reviews on amazon and various other sites, I can’t help but feel that the reviewer is trying to show off his/her literacy skills and forget the whole point of a review - I’m sorry, I’m going to stop my rant before I go so far off tangent that I’m going to make Desmond Nair look laconic.

Ok, in my first post I talked about my all-time favourite book (LOTR) and it would be unfair of me to compare it to other fantasy books. It would be a bit like comparing Megan Fox (insert ideal woman) to your girlfriend/wife or for female’s Johnny Depp (insert ideal man) to your boyfriend/husband. Well, I’m sure you get the picture.

So, now I’m going to talk about my favourite book, at this present moment. It may surprise you to learn this but it’s not from Gemmell, Jordan, Erikson, Sanderson, or Martin.

**Shake my head**


The most enjoyable book I’ve read (apart from LOTR) to this day is from a relatively obscure author called Daniel T Hylton. He's the author of an epic heroic fantasy titled Kelven's Riddle. The story is encapsulated in five volumes and so far he has written three books, with an impending fourth due soon (hopefully).

The first book is named:

Kelven's Riddle- The Mountain at the Middle of the World

Front Cover

The blurb:

The Mountain at the Middle of the World is the first book of Kelven's Riddle,the story of a man born into abject slavery. After the taking of his younger sister for the evil purposes of the grim lord of the world, and the subsequent killing of his parents, Aram decides to attempt escaping his bonds for the dangerous wilderness of the western marsh. Before he can put his plan into action, he is conscripted for duty in the east, at the ends of the known world, opening new lands at the edge of civilization. When an opportunity arises, he escapes into the mountainous wilds, desiring only to live as a free man if he can; instead he finds a destiny that he did not seek, and becomes something much more...

My opinion:

First of all Daniel Hylton is a self-published author (when I say self-publisher I mean in the sense that authors pay to have their books produced by a publisher), so as a result he has not got that marketing muscle that a more established publishing company like Orbit or Harper Voyager would provide. I doubt you’ll see this book in your local bookstore or library. The simple truth is that self-published authors are dictated by their sales. They can’t afford to mass produce their books and ship them off to every bookstore. The consequence is that more often than not their books are bought by readers who stumble across them by accident or by word of mouth. For me it was the former, I reached a dry spell in my reading and was getting bored with the books already out there. So I searched through Amazon, clicking through endless pages until I came across this book. The title ‘The Mountain at the Middle of the World’ first caught my eye. It didn’t sound like a fantasy book and I was hesitant at first but I decided to take the plunge and I’m glad I did.

The story begins with our main character - Aram, who is a slave. The first segment of the book as you can probably guess is about Aram shedding his chains of enslavement and running away. The story then follows Aram’s hardship and tribulations. A large section of the book involves just Aram on his own and without any dialogue with other characters, the author run the risk of making it feel tedious but Hylton did an excellent job in carrying the story along and at no time did I find it dragging. The book contains themes of a typical fantasy novel – a hero rising from anonymity, a love interest, a royal heritage and a great evil. Whilst these common elements are contained in this book, the storyline did not suffer and feel cliché or lacklustre.

The characters in the book are well thought out and Aram is one of my all-time favourite characters. He is like your typical hero but at the same time he isn’t. He isn’t a whiny, irritating little boy nor is he an over virile man who is perfect at everything he does. Instead you have a man that understands his duty and accepts it. For me, Aram is what every man should aspire to be. He is courageous without being arrogant or spineless; he is strong without being invulnerable or weak, he his honourable without being too benevolent or cruel.

In conclusion – If you are looking for a novel with a great story and characters that you can root for wholeheartedly then give this book a try. You may think this book is your typical run of the mill fantasy and you’d not be far off, however, Hylton brings a fresh and innovative change to a tried and tested formula.

My rating out of 10 stars:

9 stars – I opted for 9 stars rather than the 10 I was tempted to give - yet by giving it ten stars, I would be giving the impression that the book is perfect and there’s no room for improvement – which would be wrong. I haven’t read a book so far that is perfect (including LOTR) and I’m certain I won’t. In my eyes a perfect book does not exist – no matter how enjoyable a book is, there will always be an area(s) that an author could have enhanced on.

Give Kelven's Riddle a go, I promise you wont be disappointed. 


Before I finish, I'd just like to take this opportunity to post a pic of my cat. His name is Timmy and he never stops eating and in this pic he's eagerly, but not patiently, awaiting his food. 

Timmy or as I call him 'Tim Tim'

Friday 22 February 2013

My Beginning

Hello, dear readers. 

I've started this blog to talk (ok, write) about my main passion in life. And that is books - fantasy novels to be more specific.

I will be predominantly writing about the books I've read or I’m reading. Most of the books that I’ll be writing about are fantasy but I do occasionally branch out to other genres, which are mainly crime fiction, sci-fi and the odd romance (yes that’s right romance, there I said it). 

Before I begin I would just like to tell you a bit about myself and why fantasy. Don’t worry it won’t be too long.

From a young age I had grown up reading children’s horror novels, Goosebumps. To my childish mind they seemed like the coolest books to read at the time with their eye catching covers. It wasn’t quite the – I’m too scared to sleep – type horror but I still enjoyed the stories. 

It wasn’t until I was eleven that I saw a trailer for a movie that showed some black cloaked riders waving swords about. There was huge amount of hype leading up to the film but I just didn’t get it. That was when my sister told me that the film was based on a book. And so she went to the library and borrowed the book for me to read. The title read ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ 

I remember my first thought upon seeing the book was ‘What is that?’ The book was HUGE, it was the biggest book I had ever seen and at that time, the longest book I had ever read consisted of a couple of hundred pages (with large font size!) and so the thought of reading a book 1000 pages long was daunting to say the least. My aim was to read the book and then watch the film. I would like to be able to say that I read the book in one go but the truth was that I struggled past the first few chapters. Let me tell you straight, it’s a bit of a culture shock going from Goosebumps to ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ As you can imagine for a young kid of eleven, I found it difficult to grasp or fully understand. It was too boring and complicated to read and I didn't have the patience to read a 1000 pages. So having given up on the book I was dragged along by my sister to watch the film. I wasn't expecting much and having quite the book after a few chapters, my feeling towards the film had grown from indifference to dislike.

Well, did I like the film? 

To this very day I don’t think I’ve come away from a watching a film feeling so inspired, so awed, so mesmerised, as I had that day. 

The film had changed my life, and that is the highest compliment I can pay it.

After the film I went straight home with the overwhelming sense of excitement, and so I began Chapter 1. A Long Expected Party - When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced…..

What seemed so intimidating before now seemed so trivial. The book was slightly different to the film, but in a good way - like finding an extra haribo. I consumed the book as quickly as I could and thus my love of fantasy began. From that moment onwards a door (no, not in a closet) in my mind had been unlocked - the door leading to the world of fantasy.
The film had pried the door loose but the book had flung it wide open, and with such reckless force that the hinges had come off it.

From then on I steadily began to devour fantasy books by the tens to eventually the hundreds. Most of them were terrific and some were not so great (ok, they were awful but you can’t blame me for being impolite). My closet is teeming full of books and I’ve tried to neatly stack them in columns, but I still wince when I open the door.

I know it sounds cliché that my love for fantasy began with LOTR but for me it’s the simple truth. J.R.R Tolkien was not the first fantasy author (I know it’s hard to believe) but he is the first noted author of the genre. ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is the holy grail of fantasy. It has captured the imagination of so many people and has inspired a generation to put pen to paper (me included).

Thank you J. R. R. Tolkien

Image of J. R. R. Tolkien

And so to conclude my original question: Why fantasy? 

The short answer...

To dream, to escape, to hope.