Thursday, 8 February 2018

Whispers of War by Sean Rodden

Promised review for an unexpectedly good book. :)

What I can tell you about Whispers of War… Personally, I downloaded the sample for a friend of mine who’s a fantasy maniac and I read it expecting the usual drivel about magical swords and dragons. I got hooked instead. It served me right.

1. You will need to dust your dictionary in order to enjoy it to the fullest. Seriously, you will.
2. If you like Tolkien’s world building, you’ll fall in love all over again. The characters, races and world-building are archetypal.
3. Talking about archetypal, expect situations to be similar to any myth, saga and heroic story that have nourished humanity since the beginning of time. Good versus evil, few versus many, betrayal in the garden of Eden, corruption, greed, jealousy, courage in the face of impossible odds, honour and redemption. The fact these elements exist isn’t surprising. The actual surprise is that the author succeeds in making them move the reader one more time, sometimes to the point of tears.
4. The prose is majestic. It is lyrical, deep, slow in building and rewarding in richness of experience. The atmosphere is magical. You can see the world through the eyes of the heroes as if you were present in their moments of greatness and loss. You can almost touch everything, smell everything, witness with your own eyes the skies that encompass them.
5. Unlike Tolkien, there is a surprising amount of cheekiness and humour, as well as a detailed description of heroes’ appearances. Both elements were very appealing to me.
6. The pace is excellent. It’s easy to trip and fall over one’s own effort to use such detailed, elaborate language. The book doesn’t let you down on one condition: if you accept you’ve stepped into another world, where the modern rules don’t apply. Forget instant gratification, pointless blockbuster action and goldfish attention span. You need to put that blasted smartphone down and let this book take you by the hand and travel you. Seriously. Don’t go anywhere close Whispers of War if you’re here for the quick trip where the hero kills the bad guys and gets the girl and the treasure.
7. If you expect to see women in charge… don’t hold your breath. There aren’t any. The council is made entirely by men. Women do influence decision making and are warriors. However I have yet to see a fantasy book in which women hold power and don’t exercise it by wile, but pure straightforward command. They are often the voice of reason in the book. Sadly, they aren’t rulers of nations.
8. I loved the characters. They are well-rounded and their relationships complex. Their conversations are laced with just the right amount of wit and humour, according to that person’s social standing and personality. The writer manages to include 18th century rare words and modern curse words in the same text with such skill that you will not feel the slightest disbelief towards such an unlikely combination. Yes, he’s that good.

All in all, if you liked what I described, this is a must buy from a new voice that would be right at home at the era of bards and chivalry.

Amazon link: