Rated 6.44 out of 10 Statistics
Occasional Coarse Language
Overall Rating: 6.441
Average Rating: 1 (Guests), 6.38 (Members)
Rating Count: 3 (0 Guests, 4 members)
1 indicates a weighted rating.
"A nice take on traditional fantasy"
(Crossposted from my blog)
On her website the author prefaces the blurb with this uninspiring line:
"This is a fantasy story about a young prodigy and his side-kick (who can kick some serious side). It’s set in your standard fantasy world with all the expected accouterments. Details in the text."
I really think she doesn’t need it. On the one hand it makes the story sound more comic than it is, and on the other it’s dry and uninviting. “Standard fantasy world” is not a description that raises anticipation in me. Instead it brings to mind clichés. It’s the word standard – it’s not an appealing word.
So is this cliché ridden? I’d have to say not really. I think what the author was trying to say is that the story fits in the traditional fantasy sub-genre – which it does.
Swords and Sigils does have one of the common issues of the fantasy genre (more on that later), but it avoids more clichés than it uses so far.
The characters are well drawn and interesting – even when Melkeen and Sarta are arguing (or more accurately when Melkeen is being argumentative and Sarta is being unflappable) it’s easy to root for them. Some people may find Sarta a bit too good to be true, but her skills and calmness are a result of her life and thus believable in the context of the fictional universe the author has created. Melkeen is talented, obnoxious and yet also likable once you consider his origins.
The quest Melkeen and Sarta embark on is a little unusual. Rather than a quest to find one magical McGuffin to defeat a dark lord of some kind. Instead they are on a quest to recover lost artifacts and knowledge. So far it’s like a traditional fantasy road trip story – more about the trouble the journey gets them into than the destination.
So far there’s no dark lord or world shaking danger to defeat so far. Too much fantasy goes that route. All the antagonists in the story so far have been very human. Even the chief wizards who were very petty and human in their plots. Long may it continue.
The world building is wonderful. A lot of thought has obviously gone into the setting.
The writing is good and doesn’t impede the reading. :-)
I’m interested to see how the plot develops and engaging a reader’s interest is always good.
The main problem with Swords and Sigils so far is the infodumping! If you’ve read my previous reviews you’ll know I’m no big fan infodumps and there are several of these in the first few installments. While it was necessary to justify Sarta’s abilities and why the other wizards are out to get Melkeen I can’t help feeling that there had to be a better way to handle it than dedicating whole updates to it. Long passages of exposition impede the flow of the story and encourage readers to skin (I know I did with some of them).
Swords and Sigils is a decent traditional fantasy story with two interesting protagonists. It doesn’t fall into many of the tropes that litter the genre, but it does occasionally wallow around in its own back story too much. It’s well worth a look for fans of Traditional Fantasy.
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