Monday, June 18, 2012

Orbs of Power by Rob RodenParker

Summary (courtesy of the author): "Join Prince Alorin and his bride-to-be Princess Bellany on their journey to vanquish evil from the three kingdoms of the continent of Aedaria. To do so, they need the Orbs of Power that give their human hosts incredible powers, but they need to find them first. During the Sealing War of years past, the orbs were created to help defeat the demons and devils that threatened to take over the lands and conquer all of the kingdoms. After the war the orbs were scattered throughout the continent, and only a few remain guarded.

With an amusing cast of supporting characters and plenty of villains to battle, Orbs of Power will take you on an exhilirating journey full of romance, politics, and adventure. Along the way you will encounter heroes and sorcery, devils and demons, and fantastical creatures such as centaurs and merfolk. Follow these two unlikely young heroes as they learn to harness their newfound powers while discovering each other on their path to becoming king and queen together and trying to save humankind.

And here's what I thought:  I really feel awful that it's taken me so long to finish this book, and then post a review (since I'm about a month behind my deadline for it).   I had the best intentions to read it, and keep going ..... but I kept getting stuck, and then having a hard time coming back to it.   

I thought this was a good story, and I liked some of the characters, but somehow, I just couldn't sustain my interest in the storyline.    As you can see from the summary, this is a swords-and-sorcery type of adventure, and there is a lot of action throughout the story.   The pacing is pretty even, and the characters are interesting.  The author has a good technique down for writing certain elements of the story, especially the swordfighting (which makes for some pretty exciting parts).  

However, there just was something missing here for me -- I'm not sure if it's because I became a bit disinterested in the main characters, or because I got stuck on a lot of the dialogue.  The dialogue between characters tends to vary between the semi-formal that I read in many high fantasy books, and then veering the other direction.  Example: Alorin is getting to know Tyana, and he's talking about reading with her.  Tyana asks him if he has any "savory" habits, and Alorin replies, "Oh, yeah.  I love reading, especially history books...." (p. 9).   Um....   yeah?   Not quite what I was expecting.  Not that I expect characters to speak formally every single second, but this kind of thing happened frequently, which made the dialogue seem inconsistent.  Also... the other thing that kept giving me pause: the bad guys tend to monologue (basically, they like to go on and on and describe what horrible thing they're going to do, and why).   Not really something I enjoy (in books or in film, actually).

As with any book, my reactions to this story were purely personal.  There were things I enjoyed about the book, and the author has a good, descriptive writing style, and it was clear to me that he really enjoyed writing this book.    However, it just didn't resonate with me.  If I hadn't promised a review, I probably would have just given up about 3/4 of the way through the book.   I think the author is on to some good things, and perhaps with the next book, things will be a bit tighter and more consistent.  If this sounds like the kind of book you might like, I'd encourage you to not only check out the author's site, but also see what other readers on GoodReads had to say.  Just because this wasn't quite my cup of tea right now doesn't mean that other readers won't thoroughly enjoy the book.

First lines:  Alorin was acutely aware of his fatigue, how his muscles and limbs burned as he pressed his practice session into its third hour.  As the prince of the traditionally war-like Nenevah Kingdom, Alorin prided himself in his swordsmanship, or rather he tried to.


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