Tuesday, 7 April 2015

The Crimson Sword - Eldon Thompson


Although King Sorl has driven Alson into the dust financially, it was a quiet and peaceful place. Jarom loved his life as the Farson of Diln and relished in the responsibilities of protecting his village. But the peace and tranquillity Jarom loves is shattered when an evil wizard invades Alson and lays siege to Kyrnwall. Even as the wizard's mercenaries raid and plunder the surrounding countryside, Jarom is charged with a great mission and, along with Allion, his best friend, heads to Kuuria to beg help from their aged emperor.

Yet things do not plan and a terrible evil has woken from its two thousand year slumber. A demon queen, forgotten by the ages, sees only weakness in the island continent of Pentania and decides the Age of Man is all but over. Her armies of dragonspawn ride out to bring the continent to its knees and Jarom knows that only one thing has the power to stop her - the fabled Crimson Sword, one of the great talismans the Ceilhigh Avatars used to forge the world . . .

The Good
Eldon Thompson has managed to create a story that is full of peril and adventure, which reads like cheesy, old-school fantasy (despite being written in the 2000's). I really enjoyed this 'feel' to the book and it was nice to read about a hero embarking on an epic quest to slay evil and save his home. The small size of Thompson's map also helps because it cuts down on the long, arduous travelling that fills many works of fantasy, allowing him to greatly increase the pace of the story so it's pretty much non-stop action all of the way through!

The Bad
I'm not going to say that The Crimson Sword is a bad book and I certainly enjoying reading it, but it did have a few problems that detracted from my enjoyment of the story. The first, and probably the worst one of these, was with Jarom, one of the main protagonists. Jarom's character was very passive, thoughtful and forgiving, which didn't really fit with him becoming a great hero and vicious warrior. Despite all that was happening to Pentania, he never really got angry about it and his motives for trying to save it were pretty much just to be noble and fulfil what he perceived to be his destiny. I found this slightly odd and didn't really think it was believable - anybody would be raging if their country has been assailed by armies of darkness that are going about slaughtering people and burning settlements to the ground!

The second issue I had with the novel was with its villains, who were very stereotypical. Thompson frequently had them being evil just for the sake of being evil, which authors such as George R. R. Martin have made me sceptical about by showing me that evil actions are usually committed due to a person acting in their own self interests rather than to harm people. In addition to this, all of his antagonists were frequently described as 'smirking,' 'sneering' and 'snickering.' This got old quite fast and I don't really think these expressions are ever much use in trying to portray wickedness in a character. No matter how evil someone is, would they really smirk after they've burnt down a village and slaughtered it's inhabitants? Would they really snicker when people are captured to be fed alive to dragonspawn? Sadly, I think this easily avoidable mistake made the story's antagonists pretty bland and unremarkable.

My Thoughts
Eldon Thompson has really let his imagination go wild when writing The Crimson Sword and has created an epic story where light faces darkness. The novel is fast-paced, exciting and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for an immersing read. I can't wait to continue Jarom's adventures in the next book in The Legend of Asahiel, The Obsidian Key!

No comments:

Post a Comment