Sunday, August 5, 2012
Vaetra Unveiled - Daniel R. Marvello
2012; 296 pages. Genre : Fantasy. Book #1 of The Vaetra Chronicles. New Author? : Yes. Overall Rating : 5*/10.
Jaylan Forester has a decent life. He's part-owner of an inn in Northtown, and a guard-for-hire with Raven Company, a local mercenary group.
Then a cryptic note, "Need help. Meet at inn. Can pay." introduces him to new people and new places. Ah, but it also reveals a terrifying self-truth. Jaylan may have sorcery talents!
What's To Like...
Vaetra Unveiled is comprised of three mini-quests : find a lost thief; find a lost boy; and look into a late shipment. The setting has a "northern Canadian woodlands" feel, and that's a pleasant change-of-pace. The chapters are a mix of first-person perspective (Jaylan's POV), and third-person (anybody else's POV), and I can't recall any other book that uses that template.
Vaetra is Daniel Marvello's term for Magic, and we can expect it to be a central theme in the series. But the locals, including Jaylan, view it with mistrust, something to be shunned, and if detected in oneself, something to be suppressed. Our hero wrestles with this thoughout the story.
Vaetra Unveiled is a very clean novel. There is no sex, no booze, no cussing, and no drugs. Indeed, the second mini-quest carries a strong anti-drug message. There is one incident of nudity, entirely gratuitous and unneeded. One gets the feeling the target audience is tweener boys.
It didn't take a genius to figure out what was going to happen next. I was starting to understand why sorcery was so widely reviled. Powerful and manipulative people always raised my ire, but this was manipulative power taken to a new level. Someone had to stop the Lord Thoron's (sic) of the world from preying on people who had no sorcery to defend themselves. (loc. 2582)
"I can see you care for him."
Sulana blinked. "What? Care for him? I... respect him. But it's nothing more than that."
Ebnik raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. Daven grimaced and looked at the ground.
Sulana looked back and forth between them. "Really? Why should you think that? I hardly know him!"
"Exactly," Daven said under his breath.
Ebnik nodded with a knowing smirk. "As you say." (loc. 2983)
Vaetra Unveiled is available at Amazon for $2.99. This is the only book offered by Daniel Marvello, although I gather he is currently working on its sequel.
"Every goal has a price. It's up to you to decide of the price is worth achieving the goal." (loc. 1014)
Regrettably, I found the writing and story-telling in Vaetra Unveiled to be pedestrian. The action is minimal and often misplaced. The most exciting clash involves a not-too-bright troll with a death wish, and the incident turns out to be irrelevant to the storyline.
The mini-quests are far from epic, and each of them provided several missed opportunities for added adventure and excitement. There are too many coincidences and too many spur-of-the-moment sentences.
First efforts by writers are often rough around the edges, and Vaetra Unveiled is no exception. But the world created by Daniel Marvello is too interesting to discard, and one can only speculate about how the unique role of sorcery will be handled in subsequent books in the series. Here's hoping the author continues to hone his writing skills.
5 Stars. Add another 2½ stars if you're a 10-13 year-old boy who likes to read Hardy Boys mysteries.