Book Review – Oblivion’s Forge
by Simon Williams
Let me start out by saying I enjoyed this bookJ
World: The world of Aona is very intriguing, with a rich and long history, of which the reader gets enough of a peek at to draw one in. It’s a complex world – with various races and factions, magic users, peasants, tyrants and heroes. Most of whom don’t like one another much. Aona is a world of half-forgotten myth and ill-remembered gods. And it seems such mystical beings are set to return.
Oblivion’s Forge is dark, with a world on the edge of apocalypse, many people in thrall and prepared to do whatever it takes to please whichever religion/faction they serve. I’d say good and evil aren’t clear cut. Certainly a surprise twist where a villain becomes an unwitting hero shakes the reader’s ideas of good and evil, and who serves whom.
The author gives many hints of what is to come, who REALLY runs the show and a dark history. It helps to know this is the first book of the series, and so I hope unanswered questions will be addressed in later books.
Characters: There are a LOT of characters in this book, and some play a far greater role than others as one would expect. However the point of view jumps around and in places I found it hard to keep up with who was doing what. Vornen – the main male character is most interesting. He has a dark and mysterious past, which we learn a little about. Haunted by the Gates which have appeared he is not his own man, and he is quite fatalist (with good reason). I had a lot of time for this character, he is brave in his own way and decent, at least in a world which is being torn apart. His befriending of a lost pilgrim leads to monumental events. He also has his flaws, which makes him both worthy of pity and respect in equal measure.
The shifting point of view was distracting and unless I missed something (which is certainly possible) at least one of the characters seemed to disappear.
Writing: There is some wonderful imagery. The world is painted well enough to give the reader a taste but not too much that it detracts from the story telling. There were a few technical issues, but they were a few and overall didn’t diminish the reading experience for me. In places the prose is almost poetic.
On the downside I’d say the last couple of chapters where unnecessary – unless as a lead in for the later books. The problem was fixed – sort of – and suddenly a character we meet mid way, and doesn’t seem that important suddenly comes to the fore, with her master. It reads as the start of a new book, to me at least.
A good read with a rich, complex world, intriguing plot and fine characters. A bit hard to keep up with the rapidly shifting point of view (to be fair to the author I was reading this over a relatively long period) but certainly engaging enough to keep me reading. The plot itself pulled the reader in, as one found oneself cheering the heroes along as they struggled in a world of chaos and strife, and curious about what it was making the midden hit the windmill J.
I’d recommend this author for fans of dark fantasy, dystopia and dark fiction. I’ll be picking up Mr William’s other books for sure and continuing to learn the fate of Aona and it’s people.