The story is really simple: The main character, Justin, is an elf that was sent on a secret mission to defuse a conspiracy in the North. I can’t dive into why the story didn’t work for me in detail without the risk of spoiling it but I’ll just say that it was underwhelming and too short. When Justin arrived on his destination, he solved the so called “conspiracy” in less than 10 pages and then “The End”. After reading 90 pages to reach the destination which was supposed to be the main plot and should’ve been the climax section, it was so disappointing to see it ended easily, quickly and way too convenient. Not to mention the first half of the book consisted of him gathering a little army to go with him to the North.
Please do remember that this book can be considered a novella for its short length. It’s about 100 pages and spending more than half of the book travelling and gathering members was unnecessary. If the book was longer, it would be okay to go with this direction but for its length, it was underwhelming.
Basically, the structure of the story goes like this more or less: Page 0-25 = receive a mission, page 26-50 = gather a small army, page 50-75 = travell and sing, page 75-95 = random action scenes, page 95-105 = arrive at the destination for the main mission, talk a bit and then the end. These pages are a rough estimation because I read the book in ebook format but my point is, it felt like I was just watching the main character that I haven’t connected with yet, doing things I didn’t care about and then the story ended just when it was just starting.
Justin as a main character also felt bland and emotionless. Not only that, there seems to be nothing special about him. For instance, he’s an elf with special ability to discern lies, but we don’t get to see this skill used more than three times, probably only once if I recall correctly. A lot of missing world-building elements were needed desperately for this kind of high fantasy setting to work. Without any intricate world-building, this kind of high fantasy book felt small and constricted. The book has elves, dwarves, talk of dragons (which doesn’t appear in the book) but we don’t get any clear background on their history and the relationship between each race.
However, if I had to choose only one main problem with the book, it would have to be the prose and structure. This book showed me why a good editor is really important because it would have benefited so much from one. The writing felt messy and there’s an excessive amount of unnecessary reused words or comma that stopped the flow to my reading. Maybe this kind of prose will work for other readers but definitely not for me.
Every opinion here is my honest opinion and review, just because I don’t like it, doesn’t mean this book won’t work for other reader but for me, The Ring and the Flag fell short on almost every level.