Monday, 28 May 2007
'The Stormcaller' - Tom Lloyd (Review and Giveaway!)
Last year was all about the (well deserved) hype generated by the release of 'Lies of Locke Lamora' and 'The Blade Itself'. In the midst of all this excitement you would have been forgiven for not noticing that Gollancz had released 'The Stormcaller' at about the same time. Having to live in the shadow of these two books is unfair on 'The Stormcaller' as it is an enthralling read that is well worth a look (and I've got two copies to give away but more on that later...)
Isak is a 'white eye'; one of many chosen by the Gods of the Land to be a leader amongst men. He is larger, faster and stronger than any normal man but suffers from blinding rages and is ostracised by 'normal' people. A tedious existence, as part of a wagon train, comes to an abrupt end when (for reasons known only to the Gods themselves ) Isak is chosen to become the heir to Lord Bahl of the Farlan tribe. The one-time wagon brat becomes one of the most powerful men in the realm overnight and must deal with the resentment this brings, not least from Lord Bahl himself. If this wasn't enough, childhood nightmares begin to take on new meaning for Isak and dark forces begin to stir at his arrival...
A slow beginning belies a richly told story against a backdrop that is beautifully realised. I'll admit that I winced a little when elves and trolls were mentioned (I can't remember the last time I read a book with trolls in it!) but their appearances were artfully understated and so they avoided becoming another 'Dungeons and Dragons' cliche. The Land is a harsh place where only the strong can thrive. Lloyd lends his characters sufficient backbone to do what they must do but none of them are supermen, I particularly liked Lloyd's study of immortality (in certain characters) and the problems that had to be faced because of this. A white eye's rages (Isak's in particular) are sudden and come without warning, these random attacks could have disrupted the flow of the story but they are handled in such a way that they are pivotal to the plot and can send events hurtling in strange new directions. The number of characters in the book can be overwhelming at times, especially when the lowliest guard is treated in as much detail as Isak himself. Fans of intricate world-building will love this although fans of anything a little faster paced will be put off.
I would say, give 'Stormcaller' a chance and you will be rewarded with an intense journey (with characters that you will care about) through a world that you can almost see when you close your eyes. I'm looking forward to the sequel 'The Twilight Herald' when it is released in July.
Eight and a Half out of Ten.
'The Stormcaller' - Giveaway!
So what do you reckon? Sounds like a great read doesn't it? Well, I've got two mass market copies of 'The Stormcaller' (thanks to the author himself!) to give to two lucky people (picked at random) who drop me an email by this Friday.
Email me at graemesfantasybookreview@(no-spam)yahoo.co.uk (remove the 'no spam' bit) telling me who you are, where you live and if you frequent any particular forums.