reviews

The Shattered Orb (Vagrant Souls, #1)

Write on: Sat, 05 Aug 2017 by  in SPFBO - ROUND 1 Be the first to comment! Read 465

The Shattered Orb showed a lot of promise with its slightly dark classic fantasy narrative.

The story took place in a land where each region is protected by an orb.  These orbs are inhabited by what was known as The Guardians, a newer pantheon of gods which were brought into the world by the First Priest.  The narrative started with Hiroc, an acolyte, discovering that the carcaern orb of Guardian Aern had been shattered.  In the midst of battling a cloaked stranger, Hiroc discovered that he might be Talented, a trait which is scorned by people in general at best and invite the seizure by the King and his inquisitors at worst.  Thus far, no one really knows what happened to a Talented who had been taken away. 

The story carried a current of mystery with lots of exposition around the history of the land, where the same shattering happened to the lands of the north.  Losing the protection from the Guardian orb will precipitate the wrath of wraiths which will beset the people of the afflicted region.  The worldbuilding at this point is quite limited in that the bulk of the narrative took place in the city of Indham where Idmaer's Spire and the Holy Order of Aern reside.  The spire in itself was the most interesting construct in the entire story so far, it's very walls and foundation linked to the presiding priest who owns it, such that it alters in accordance with the mood and whims of its owner.  The magic in the world is runic and exacts a temporal cost on its wielder.  Dragons are also of significance in this land, but as of this first book, these creatures remain in the background.

While we have a total of six points-of-view in this book, there are four main characters that garner the most page-time.  Two of them are barely past their teens and the other two quite definitely past their prime.  I noticed that there is a subtle shift between the chapters of the young ones and those of the elder ones.  It's just enough to differentiate between the thoughts and motivations of the naive and the mature.  However, even with such a treatment, character development was not one of the positives here as it felt inconsistent and appeared to be susceptible to silly plot devices.  An example was when a particular character which I started to root for suddenly did something stupid which frustrated me. 

The storyline on its own was actually pretty engaging, albeit predictable in parts.  Personally, it was the writing style that ultimately did not work for me.  The prose was direct, simple and easy to read.  What irked me was how the narrative sometimes tended to state the obvious.  It almost felt as if the reader was not trusted to make the connection and understand the cause and effect.  This annoyance prevented me from truly enjoying the plot development which appeared to be leading to greater things to come.  The ending was also well drawn out with a bit of a surprise in store.

All in all, there is room for improvement in this series.  The author definitely has a good tale to tell, and from what had been revealed and transpired, the plot and worldbuilding can only get more expansive and interesting in the sequels.

Last modified on Saturday, 05 August 2017 10:24
TS

A self-professed geek and proud of it, I started reading at a tender age and never really stopped until work got in the way for several years.  I regained my voracious appetite for books a few years back and then started to enjoy writing down my thoughts.  I am more of an emotional/instinctual rather than a critical reader. 

Aside from reading, I enjoy outdoor sports (running, hiking, cycling, an occasional frisbee game), photography and travelling.

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