Friday, June 3, 2011

Indie Book Authors E.D. Linquist and Aron Christensen - In the House of Five Dragons



Fantasy novels aren’t generally my ‘thing’, but when given the choice between fantasy and sci-fi, I decided that fantasy was the way to go.  I think I chose well, although I’m going to have to read more by Lindquist and Christensen just to be certain.  

The only way I can describe this novel is to call it epic.  I haven’t read anything this gripping, and time consuming, in months.  Unfortunately, I got busy and finishing this book took longer than I care to admit.  The first three-quarters of the book took me days, however, that last twenty-five percent flew by in one night, keeping me up until 3:30 am.  (I was not pleased when my alarm went off a few, short hours later.)

Honestly, I had a hard time getting into the book, but I believe that this was because of the genre of the book, not the book itself.  As I said earlier, fantasy novels aren’t always my ‘thing’.  However, after finishing it, I was ready to go back to the beginning and read through it again (something I’ll do later) and see what I missed the first time around.  

The book opens with a man stumbling through the wilderness trying to find his way home.  The first problem that he faces is he can’t remember where home is or the right words to describe it.  The story then goes to two people, but not people, two beings, talking about this man and wondering if he will make it in time, if he will remember.  Already, I was confused.  I don’t like to be confused, so frustration quickly followed.

On a basic level, the book has two worlds, Terra and Alterra.  Terra being the human world, and Alterra being a world formed of thoughts, emotions, and curiosities.  I found the Alterran world harder to wrap my head around in the beginning of the book, but I think I wasn’t supposed to understand until the main character, Rikard, also began to remember.

Terra was changed thirty years ago at the battle of Njorn Pass, when Captain Rikard Mazrem, a VEIL knight, made a blood pact with the Alterrans to save his men in a battle they were sure to lose.  Rikard disappeared from the field and was believed dead for thirty years.  After the battle, life began to change, and a huge empire was built.  Flash forward thirty years to Rikard’s return; nothing is as it seems, and nothing is as he remembers.  

With an unusual, but eventually helpful, talent, Rikard is soon able to begin changing life within the empire, restoring honor and helping the masses.  

Where is The House of Five Dragons?  It is an underground criminal organization has spent years infiltrating the honorable ranks of VEIL knights and other positions within the empire.  Their goal was to control the heir to the throne, Rikard’s son, so they can one day control the entire empire.  When Rikard returns, The House decides to switch their focus and try to control him with the help of a caretaker, Thainna, since he is now likely to be the next emperor in place of his son.

There are others who are not pleased with these developments and form plans of their own to keep Rikard from getting the throne.  These characters must, however, be very careful not to draw suspicion upon themselves because of the new ability that Rikard has gained after spending so much time in the Alterran world.  

Once the stage was set for the story, there was never a dull moment.  I found myself disappointed when the story shifted from one character focus or plot line to another, only to be sucked in to what was going on with those particular characters and then mildly disappointed again when the focus shifted once more.  This continued on and on throughout the story.  Needless to say, I was never truly disappointed, especially not when secrets were finally revealed.  

The authors so clearly developed the Terra world and characters that after a few chapters I felt like I was walking through the town with them.  Thainna, the main character, is a complex, good-natured girl who had to make the best of the life that she was born into and even managed to remain good as a lowly thief in a large criminal organization.  Her love of her brother and bettering her community drove everything that she did, even when it was a detriment to herself.

As a mother, and sister, Thainna was not a hard person to understand.  She simply loved her brother so much that no matter what the price, she would pay it to make sure that he was taken care of.  She believed so fully in him, that everything she had was put into buying him the throne of The House of Five Dragons.  Growing up, I certainly would have done anything in my power to protect my brothers and sister, even lying, cheating, and stealing.  Now, as a parent, I would go farther than one could ever imagine to protect my children.  I know where Thainna is coming from; if put in her place, I would have made her decisions, no question about it.

Rikard Mazrem, the other main character, is a simple, honorable family man who was put into a situation where he had to make a decision or perish.  When he made his decision, he became a hero.  Rikard never wanted to be a hero, and never considered himself one.  He simply wanted to return home to his family and continue his life.  When he realized that life was not how he left it (after all, thirty years had passed) he decided that honor needed to be restored to the VEIL Knights.  Rikard was a hero, and in his return, proved once again what a hero is.

Many of the ebooks that I read and review have numerous grammatical and punctuation mistakes.  Comma placement and periods are a serious source of frustration for me as a reader.  Noticing these mistakes detracts from my reading experience tremendously.  I find it hard to enjoy a book that the author hasn’t taken time to completely proofread and learn the proper use of the punctuation they are relying upon.  That being said, In the House of Five Dragons had the least mistakes of any book that I’ve read and reviewed, along with Hungry for You by A.M. Harte.  Until the last few chapters, I can’t recall finding any mistakes in the book.  I didn’t keep track, but I would be surprised if there were more than three or four issues in the entire book.  

This is a book that I highly recommend, and I already have a copy of my next read by E.D. Lindquist and Aron Christensen.

7 comments:

  1. Hi Essie,

    The complaint about punctuation [and spelling and grammar] is the biggest single issue raised in the independent fiction world. Good editing and proofing is one of the costs defrayed by the 85% of royalties paid to traditional publishers. They have banks of proofs and there are still errors that make it through. They are really hardy critters, typos and bad commas.

    For most independents, the cost of a proof or editor is more than they will make on their book, if indeed they sell the end product. Many are free.

    Sadly, like most of the literacy skills in the English language, punctuation is sliding. Fewer people know how to punctuate and fewer people notice the errors. It is not lack of effort that leaves indie books riddled with mistakes; it is the cost of a second set of eyes, or third, or fourth, added to the fact that it is incredibly hard to proof your own work. You read what you think is on the page and not what is actually there. So authors who do still recognize an error, may not see it. Or them, the many.

    As we get more indie publishers coming online and the process moves more into a financially viable concern for writers, there will be more carefully edited work on the line.

    Best wishes,
    Lxx

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  2. Holy cow! Letitia, I just looked up the editing costs, and I am blown away. I see a real need in the community, and it has the wheels in my brain turning...

    Thanks for the thoughts and comment,
    Essie

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  3. I'm STILL bashing my head over a few more typos I found in Hungry For You. I've read through that book 1 billion times and somehow the buggers still slip through, sigh.

    But yes, ED Lindquist has been on my to-read for AGES. I'm just waiting for a moment to breathe, if it ever comes...!

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  4. Funny, when I read Hungry for you I don't recall seeing too many typos...in fact I can't come up with one. I honestly try to ignore them because I know they do slip through, but in some of the books I've seen the mistakes are so glaring that I can't seem to go on.

    I've got another of ED Lindquist's books on my TBR list...but the list keeps growing, and school is out for summer, so it may be a while before I get to it.

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