The Exile by Martin Owton

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I audiobooked this so my spelling may be way off – my apologies!

The book starts off with a moderately long prologue showing a Lord Torellan attacking a city even though he knows his King won’t approve of it, and he will likely be banished or worse. He bribed some clansmen into helping them, and in return all they want is a reasonable payment and for the invading army to kill every last Dorian soldier.

It then skips to a young man named Aron who’s having a drink in a bar, one things leads to another and he finds himself in a fight with one of the guardsmen for the city and he ends up killing him. He was set to hang since the guardsmen was the top swordsmen that Earl Baldwin had at his disposal. The Earl’s wife convinced him that they should spare Aron and instead enlist him into service to pay back his debt for killing the guard, Merrick.

Aron finds himself training with the Earl’s men and he finds out quickly that they are very poor swordsmen, he’s able to defeat them easily in practices and starts to make enemies fast – not only had he killed one of their own, but now he’s there shoving his talent in their faces.

The Earl’s son has been captured by a neighboring city’s lord and is being held captive, he wants Aron to go on a mission lead by his nephew to bring back his son. It’s a tall order though, and the soldiers going with him are skeptical it can even be done. It’s a poorly planned mission as well, they leave with literally no plan other than to go scope out the city, get some intel, and try to act on that intel when they get it.

Tangrid, a relative of the Earl, is technically in charge of the mission to get back the Earl’s son. He’s an arrogant ass that doesn’t listen to or like Aron. He makes a lot of mistakes and puts the entire mission in jeopardy. There’s also a drunk known as Devo who constantly gets himself into trouble, the only reason why he’s on the mission is that he’s originally from Sarazan and knows the city. The downside is that he’s a wanted man in the city and will likely hang if the authorities get wind he’s there.

Getting into Tankrid’s face about his poor decisions doesn’t do him any favors with the man, but it does make his popularity grow with the other soldiers on the mission and slowly he’s accepted into their group despite their original reluctance.

Aron doesn’t even know where to start because he doesn’t know where the man is being held prisoner, so he decides he needs to find a Wise Woman who knows how to “Walk the Mists”. That’s basically taking your consciousness into the spirit world and finding others within it, it works best if the other person is sleeping.  It takes him a long time to find the right woman and even when he gets there things aren’t easy because in order to find someone in the Mists, you have to know them well, or have a piece of their clothing/hair, and since Aron has neither of these he firsts has to find Edith, who can then lead them to her brother. Edith does successfully find her brother and Aron comes up with a risky plan involving a boat.

Eventually, he does end up rescuing Maldwin, the Earl’s son, but as soon as they leave the city they are being tracked by a Wizard who is helping the Sazarian’s. He’s able to track where they go through magic and even influence the weather around them to sink their ship. It doesn’t help that someone from their group gets captured and turns their cloak in order to save themselves from the Sazarian lord.

I think I finally started to like Aron and other characters when he starts bonding with Maldwin, it brought out more depth to Aron as he recounted his past and started to feel like he had a friend. I had a hard time getting attached to the secondary characters since they weren’t quite as in depth as Aron’s character. Some of them you weren’t really supposed to like, though, this would maybe appeal to those who like villain POV’s as well as the hero POV.

There were some things that didn’t totally work for me, the main character has an entire family of women basically throwing themselves at him, complete with the married mother sleeping with him just to “bond” him to her. It’s not a magic thing, just a sex thing and it felt a little shoehorned in. There’s another scene where he sleeps with a goddess too – basically, it was just a little too much MC worship for me. I do think this book would appeal to those who like going on a quest adventures with a decent amount of action once the quest gets underway.

Audience:

  • Multi POV
  • high fantasy
  • old school magic and wizards
  • low key magic (not a ton used)
  • going on an adventure
  • villain pov

Ratings:

  • Plot: 11/15
  • Characters: 10/15
  • World Building: 11/15
  • Writing: 10.5/15
  • Pacing: 11/15
  • Originality: 11/15
  • Personal Enjoyment: 6.5/10

Final Score: 71/100 = 3.55/5 stars on GR

 

 

 

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