Saturday, October 26, 2013

First Chosen (Tears of Rage) - M. Todd Gallowglas

    2011; 190 pages.  New Author? : Yes.  Book 1 (out of four) of the “Tears of Rage” series.  Genre : Epic Fantasy; “Epic Lite”.  Overall Rating : 7½*/10.

    Julianna Taraen has had a rough life so far.  Both her parents have been slain, and the aunt and uncle she’s been sent to live with are less than doting.

    Birthdays seem to be bad days, especially #7 and #14, when horrific things happened.  But tomorrow is Julianna’s 21st birthday, and surely there’s nothing of numerological significance to worry about, is there?

    Yeah, right.

What’s To Like...
    There are a couple of slow chapters to begin with – think of them as the backstory – but after that, it’s nonstop action.   This is an R-Rated book – there is blood, gore, nudity, rape, sex, erections, BJ’s, etc.  There is a strong female lead, but you probably don’t want little Susie reading this.

    M. Todd Gallowglas lays the foundation for a complex world.  There are various “realms” (celestial, spirit, earthly); both Lesser and Greater Gods and their associated minions; several religions to quarrel with each other; and a slew of ruling “Houses” to plot and fight against each other.  That makes for a bunch of beings to meet-&-greet.  Gallowglas provides a Cast of Characters at the start of the novel.  Bookmark it; you will be referring to it often.

    I liked that the various gods, while certainly powerful, were not all that . . .well. . . godly.  Humans tended to be either “black” or “white”, although the baddies were resourceful and cunning.  However, some characters seem to be developed, only to be immediately killed off.  That felt clunky, although in a Fantasy Series, one’s death is never necessarily permanent.

     There is a bit of time-travel; that always is a plus with me.  The author likes to use contrived spellings – Aengyls, Daemyns, Saents, etc..  This will bug some readers, but I thought it worked well here.

    A little way down the hill, toward the direction of the mill, another two blankets were spread out for the servants.  They ate as well, only they had just started, as they had been serving their patrons earlier.  Unlike those higher on the hill, the servants did not converse much and did not drink at all.  Drinking addled the mind, and gatherings like this were when servants needed all their wits about them, for who knew what tasty bit of gossip they might pick up to share in the servant’s quarters later, or perhaps even a secret or two to sell to a rival family.  (loc. 1037)

    “Please my lady, uh, your Excellency.  Don’t do anything to get us punished.”
    “You are no one to command me,” Sylvie said, and crawled out from under the wagon.
    The only thing Sylvie’s plan might earn her is a bit of momentary humiliation, but it was time to stop living like a peasant.  If that meant sharing a bed with a man she could barely stomach, so be it.  She would rather suffer that indignity than spend one more day under the illusion that she and the maid were in anyway (sic) equal.  (loc. 3384)

Kindle Details...
    First Chosen sells for $0.99 at Amazon.  The other three books in the series run from $3.99 to $4.99.

“My father’s god is going to eat your soul!” (loc. 432)
    The ending to First Chosen was meh; it didn’t resolve any issues or complete a story-within-a-story.  Our heroes escape to fight another day, and the baddies continue their pursuit of dastardly deeds.  The final section introduces a whole new set of characters, then leaves the reader hanging.

    At 190 pages, the book hardly qualifies as “epic”.  Book 2 is of similar length; then Books 3 and 4 are each roughly twice as long.

    So I have a feeling that the first two books in this series were actually penned as one story, and were sliced in half so that the author could offer the first 200 pages as a teaser.  This is not a criticism; I think it’s a savvy marketing strategy.  But it means that First Chosen is little more than an introduction to the world, magic, and entities that M. Todd Gallowglas plans to utilize as the series progresses.

    7½ Stars.  Subject to change if the sequel has a more “complete” ending.  Add one-half star if the phrase “Epic Lite” appeals to your reading tastes.

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