Esme’s SPFBO 2017: Heir to the Sundered Crown by Matthew Olney

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This was part of Kitty G’s grouping and has since been eliminated.

This is another book where I listened to the audio instead of reading, and there are SO many names of people and places it’s making it a little difficult to write the review. If you’re reading this, please forgive my spelling, Matthew.


Plot:

There are a lot of POV’s in this book and most of their plot lines intersect throughout the book.

The prologue starts out with the murder of the King and his family, there’s only one survivor, but he’s thought to be dead and has since been forgotten.

After the death of the royal family, there are 6 different people making claims to the throne which became known as The War of the Six Claimants. The one in the best position to take the throne is a general in the army, and he’s gone as far as to try and crown himself. However, when he tries to do that the people get very upset because rumors of an heir to the crown have surfaced and they would prefer to be lead by the ‘rightful king’ over the general. The general set out on a mission to find the heir, and kill him – although he knows how to play the diplomat and pleases the crowd by saying if he can find the heir he will help restore him to the throne.

Luxon is a kid who grew up in Caldaria, it’s one of the few places where magic can be practiced freely without fear of persecution. Wizards and mages used to be welcomed as advisors to the realm, but have since been pushed back into Caldaria out of prejudice and fear. Luxon finds himself being bullied by a kid named Accadus, and he unwittingly hexes him nearly killing him. It gets him put on trial for attempted murder and uncontrolled magic. He was found innocent of the attempted murder, but the magic use still had consequences. For reasons that are too long to type out, he finds himself in a Void realm where dragons have been banished – he meets an old wizard, one of his ancestors in this realm who tells him he’s been trapped for thousands of years. He has to find a way back to the real world before a Witch opens the gate to the void and brings forth Fell Beasts and her husband, and evil Wizard/god.

Kaiden is a knight of Neveren who’s sworn to help defend the weak and to kill evil creatures and seek out dark magic. He finds himself in jail after defying a barron, and he’s imprisoned with a lady mage named Alira – and finds himself at odds because Knights of Neveren are sworn to seek out and arrest mages. They end up escaping together.

A witch has taken hold of the General who’s trying to be king, as well as other Barons in the realm. She’s able to mind control vast armies of people and make them bend to her will – they become mindless automatons on the outside, but on the inside they’re screaming. The witch is merciless, she tortures a barons wife and children in front of him trying to get the information she needs. Her goal is to open a gateway to the void that was sealed years ago to get her husband back, and to release all of the evil behind the gateway.

There’s more going on but it would turn this post into a novel – I hope I was able to tie this together to make it make sense, there was a lot going on.

Final Score: 8/10


Characters:

Luxon – A young kid, sort of typical for his age but he grows exponentially when he finds himself in the void. An hour in the real world is a decades length of time in the void, and Luxon finds himself trapped there for weeks – which feels like decades to him in the Void. He’s one of the first Thaumaturgist to have appeared in several generations, and could be extremely powerful if given proper training.

Kaiden – he’s a serious white knight, he tries his best to do the right thing even if other people are telling him not to. He takes his oaths seriously and is overall a decent person.

The General, Rason, has been totally taken over by the witch, Claria, and is doing horrible, horrible things to people and has zero remorse. You get his POV throughout the book and it does make it interesting – I’m a fan of villian POV’s.

There are a lot of smaller POV’s, but I think these three probably get the most page time. I would have liked to get to know the characters a bit better, some of them are there and gone so quickly it was hard to get a feel for them, but the ones I got to know because they had more page time were done well enough.

Final Score: 6.5/10


World Building:

  • Caldaria is the one place magic can be used without being imprisoned or executed.
  • Wizards and mages are gulfs apart as far as magical abilities. Mages can do moderate magic, enough to be useful, but a wizard is far more powerful.
  • Dragons have been banished to the Void, and the King of Dragons speaks to Luxon about his people and how they came to be there, and how much he misses the sun and blue skies of Delfinnia.
  • There are armies of werewolves roaming the forests and killing people, a bite can turn people very quickly.
  • There are zombies and ghouls, undead and witches. Witches aren’t just ‘people’ with magical powers, the witch who’s trying to open the gateway to the Void is probably over 100,000 years old.
  • There is a LOT of lore going on with how the world was created, the old gods and their children. Pay attention to that, because it all loops back into the story, it’s not just there as extra world building, it gets woven into the plot.

 

Although I’ve seen a lot of undead, ghouls, witches, dragons and all that before, the lore revolving around the gods, and the types of witches in this book were well done. I like it when the background mythos of the world has an impact on the plot rather than floating around loosely.

Final Score: 8/10


Pacing/Prose/Tone:

The book starts out with murder which sort of sets the tone for the book, there’s a lot of death, a lot of monsters, and a lot of magic. The scene with the baron and his children was particularly dark and and violent.

The pacing was okay, but it did take me a little while to get into the book, and I think that’s because so many characters and plot lines were thrown at me from the start I didn’t know which characters were going to be key players or what exactly was going on with the plot until about 20-25% through.

Pacing Final Score: 6.5/10

Writing Final Score: 8/10 


Originality:

There was a lot of stuff done here I’ve seen before, it felt like a classic epic fantasy story with a few exceptions. The further I got through the book, the more unique elements were used, so it started to catch my attention later rather than sooner.

Final Score: 6.5/10 


Audience:

  • For people who like classical fantasy
  • For people who like war and military fantasy
  • For people who like a lot of POV’s
  • For people who like action, fight scenes and violence
  • For people who like hordes of monsters, and werewolves
  • For people who like sword fighting
  • For people who like darker books

Final Score: 43.5/60 or 7.25/10

 

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