By Stephen Moore
Rogrig is a reiver, caring only about stealing and killing and following his graynelord, but when something strange happens on the battlefield, he wanders off on a world-changing adventure.
I’ve read stuff from this author before, so I know he has a unique way of presenting himself—all authors do. I also know he has a good grasp of words, which is present for the most part in his newest venture. However, he’s added a little twist this time, presenting his tale in a first-person with old-time speech.
‘This was not a threshold lightly crossed.’
‘This was altogether different, if immediate. Without the use of my eyes, I was allowed knowledge of that dark space. An enchantment was lifted or the gift of blind-sight was bestowed upon me. Either way, I was made aware not only of its extent but also of the nature of the welcome that awaited me there.’
Though not altogether difficult—as some have already said of it—you can see how at times the prose is thick and circuitous. In essence, he repeats himself heavily, drawing out the narrative, which, in turn, slows down the story drastically. In this way, very little happens for pages, and when it does, he uses such ambiguous, roundabout language that it feels like very little has happened at all.
The bigger problem, however, I found lay in the speaker—Rogrig Wishard, himself. Throughout he portrays himself as the worst of the worst, nothing more than a simple thief relying on his inbred instincts. Yet this is what we hear from him:
‘Worse, I came to realize…this gifted sight was mine alone. Among my whole family it was only I who possessed it. In all honesty, what innocent child can carry such a weight?’
For an uneducated, inbred man, he monologues quite well in his mind, while outwardly his spoken words don’t match up so well. This disparity is rather jarring and hard to follow for me, as you can see:
‘So I can knock your teeth down your throat–! Lowly Crows, where are you?’
My last concern deals with not the book, per se, but its genre. The author has stated this was written for adults—his first foray away from children’s books. However, I’m not quite sure how. There is sex in the book—yet the language is so windy and abstruse that I know of many adults who wouldn’t be able to crack his overly wrought code. On top of that, it seems he’s only used the claim ‘Adult Fantasy’ in order to drop in a plethora of swear words, which he uses to highlight his main character’s low nature. But again, I don’t see how this is useful. For one, his character only uses them when speaking, not when thinking. Second, everything else in the world is so heavily thought out and given distinct different names than what we are used to that I don’t know why they use the same swear words as us. Maybe it’s just me.
In the end, I gave it three stars. You might be asking why after reading the above. The book and story are presented well—meaning it shows the ticks of someone having scoured over it to bring it to perfection. This is no hack-job. And in fact, others may rather enjoy the long-winded sentences that sometimes lead right back to where they started. For me, it’s not particularly my taste. It feels illusionary and untruthful. Nonetheless, it shows hard work and I hope the author the best, despite it not being my cup of tea.
Stephen’s Website, click here.
To Buy Graynelore, click here.