'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

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'


  1. I want to thank you, Morhib, for your kind words in reference to my work. Such thoughts are greatly appreciated, more than you may know.
    I want to point out as well that your writing is clear and precise, and serves to make the reader see that which you are describing rather than the words themselves, which is the highest aim of every writer.
    On a personal note, Book 4 of KR is finally, after much delay, going to the publisher and should be available in the Sept-Oct time frame. Book 5 will follow shortly after. I will see that you get a signed copy, if you would care for one, before Christmas.
    Say hello to Tim Tim for me.
    Thanks again;
    Daniel T Hylton

    1. Hello Daniel,

      Can I just say what an absolute pleasure it is to read your kind words. Your books have been one of the prime reasons why I have started writing my own story and I'd be happy if it is half as good as yours.
      I have, rather admittedly, been checking out your Amazon page every day for signs of book 4, and so I’m delighted to hear that it’ll be out soon. It is definitely worth the wait and I can’t wait to continue Aram and Ka’en’s adventure
      (I guess I’ll reread the series in the meantime).

      I would be honoured to receive a signed copy from you, however, I reside in the UK and wouldn’t want to inconvenience you.

      Best wishes, and thanks again for your comment,


  2. Hello, Morhib;

    My son resides in the UK as well, in Bournemouth. I will be visiting him sometime in the fall. Before I come over, I will get your address privately and send the book to you from his place there, if that is alright.

    In the meantime; keep writing.

    Best wishes in return;


    1. Hi Daniel,

      Yes that would be great. Just send me an email to muse@fantasy-muse.com when you arrive.

      Kind regards,