His name is Farden.
They whisper that he’s dangerous.
Dangerous is only the half of it.
Something has gone missing from the libraries of Arfell. Something very old, and something very powerful. Five scholars are now dead, a country is once again on the brink of war, and the magick council is running out of time and options.
Entangled in a web of lies and politics and dragged halfway across icy Emaneska and back, Farden must unearth a secret even he doesn’t want to know, a secret that will shake the foundations of his world. Dragons, drugs, magick, death, and the deepest of betrayals await.
Welcome to Emaneska.
First off, I just want to give a huge shoutout to The Write Reads over on Twitter who was responsible for bringing this tour together and doing a great job of it! The aim of TWR and the Ultimate Blog Tour is to boost books and authors and bring book bloggers together. If you’re interested in being part of a brilliant community of people who are so supportive and encouraging then definitely give The Write Reads a follow on Twitter and be part of the fun. Now on to the review!
I’m a huge fan of the fantasy genre as a whole and anything to do with magic, mages, ancient libraries, a host of other creatures and dragons? Count me in! I really appreciated that Galley has created a unique enough world in Emaneska, whereby it has enough familiar elements to draw a fantasy fan in, without being a mere copy of other fantastical worlds in fiction. It stands up very well on it’s own and has original concepts.
My favourite element of Emaneska has to be the existence of The Written. The written are a group of powerful mages that have their spells or books tattooed on their backs and each mage has a unique book which changes their abilities. I loved the imagination in this choice and just as a visual this was quite striking. If there was there ever to be a tv show or film version, I’d love to see what these tattoos would look like!
Alongside the actual world building which Galley has done, I was so pleased when I started reading this novel and discovered that the writing itself was good. All too often you can be drawn in by the synopsis and find yourself disappointed but this wasn’t the case here. I found it well done for a debut novel and it got steadily stronger as the story progressed. It was engaging and descriptive but not overly so – which I really like in a fantasy novel. There were a few instances where I felt like there was some awkward dialogue or phrasing but these weren’t a huge drawback for me and it didn’t put me off from reading further.
Another huge draw of the book is Farden, the main character. Farden is the epitome of a fantasy hero in a sense – a powerful mage and warrior but what makes him slightly different is that he suffers from some personal demons. I don’t know about you guys, but personally I haven’t read many novels in this genre where the ‘hero’ has an issue with drugs or substance abuse. I found this to be an interesting choice. Perhaps it marks a shift towards protagonists with ‘realistic’ issues despite their existence in a very fictional world. Despite him being an intriguing character in many ways, I found it difficult to connect with him and I wasn’t emotionally invested unfortunately, but I did enjoy his overall story and the world which Galley has crafted.
Overall, I enjoyed reading The Written and would consider reading more of Galleys work in the future. The Written sets itself up perfectly for a sequel so perhaps I’ll read that at some point. I would really recommend this to fans of fantasy with thriller and mystery elements thrown in for good measure plus dragons! Who doesn’t love a good dragon! In all seriousness, though, definitely give it a try.
Until next time,
About the Author:
Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new Chasing Graves Trilogy.