Bonus Saturday Book Review!
Today’s book is a fantasy novel by one Mr. Daniel Casey…
Adversaries Together is the first book in the new fantasy adventure series Ascendant Realms. In this opening installment, we are introduced to the men and women who will go about changing the world of Syr Nebra. The political intrigues of city-states attempting to become nations and eventually empires vying for control of resources as well as the hearts and minds of the numerous human races is the focus of the series.
My Review — 3.5 Stars
The punctuation errors in the first sentence started the book off on the wrong foot, and I found that there was a typo or three on just about every page.
The author uses words like epitrachil, verecund, and monition, and they are just too complex for the average reader–sort of pushing them away. The descriptions of the world and the political system can be a bit complex and hard to follow, and yet there’s very little given about the characters themselves.
The paragraphs are WAY too long for me to easily read, and the book tends to be very wordy. It’s focused a lot on the political situation, but without giving much background on the politics. The names are complex and hard to keep track of, with so many characters introduced that it takes a few minutes to shift between stories.
There is A LOT of information packed into short sentences, and the author sort of “hints” at information without actually explaining them.
Fight scenes are VERY weak, with a lot of “tell” and not as much show.
Now for the positive!
I found it a lot like R. Scott Bakker’s “Prince of Nothing” series in terms of the complex political systems, the sort of distant characters, and the overarching story line. With a professional editor to help shepherd the story along, it could be nearly as good.
The world is immense and very complete, and though description is lacking in some places, you definitely get a feel for it as you read.
The characters are fascinating, though it can be a bit hard to identify with them. You get the POV of a lot of different characters, and you see the world though a number of eyes–a good thing in this case!
The various story lines are threaded together quite well, and the political intrigues and machinations are laid out neatly by the author. There is a lot of detail that cannot be found in other books, making it a pretty great read.
As long as you’re not a grammar/punctuation Nazi like myself, most of the typos and mistakes will be hardly noticeable as you are sucked into the world built by Daniel Casey.
Here’s a Taste:
“Come, I’ve found something.” Kira nodded for Fery to follow her back toward the towers.
Fery spun and hopped down from the wall, “Lead the way.”
As they stepped through the doorway they pause as their eyes adjusted to the darker interior. The tower room was empty but for three ladders that with the doorway divided the circular space into fourths. In the center of the room as a stairway pit that disappeared in darkness.
“You’ve been exploring?” Fery asked as Kira lead them down the stairs.
“Yes,” Kira ran her hands along the walls of the staircase and when they reached the bottom the passage opened up into a corridor that she had torch lit earlier.
She point to the right, “So that leads down to our camp.”
“The great room.” Fery nodded.
“Right,” Kira turned to the left, “But down here the corridor moves to under where we were standing.”
As they walked Fery noticed more and more light coming in, then as the hall turned slightly it opened up into a wider hall. There were window every five feet or so, not the long slits of the towers and other building but larger and teardrop shaped. The floor and walls were smooth, covered in a white plaster making the whole hall perhaps the brightest place in the dwelling. Fery went to the nearest window and looked out, she saw the open glen below.
“Brilliant view.” She said.
“It’s more than that,” Kira came over, “The trees are set at just the right angles that these windows are obscured but we can see out.”
Kira pulled Fery along, “But that’s not what I want you to see.” They moved down the corridor and when they reached the end it opened up into a large room. The ceiling rose up like the interior of a dome and the floor dipped down slightly making the entire space look even more cavernous.
“This is larger than the great room.” Fery stepped inside and wandered toward the middle of the room. She pointed up to the open circle at the ceiling that was pouring light into the room in an empyreal cone, “Where do you suspect that is?”
Kira shook her head, “I don’t think it’s as near as we think. I was staring up at it for a while and I think it’s like a well with mirrors all along it.”
“You think it’s pulling light down from some far up opening?”
“Something like that,” Kira nodded, “It wanes when clouds come by but you can still see a quite bright glare up into the opening.”
“Whatever did they do here?” Fery shielded her eyes as she tried to spy what Kira spoke of.
“It’s a bit like the solars they have at the Cathedral but not,” Kira walked along the wall, “But this is was is really interesting.”
Fery turned to look over to her, she blinked a few times and rubbed her eyes. They refocused and she saw what Kira was talking about—a giant mural circled them, a vivid bas-relief.
“And then look up,” Kira craned her neck as she walked backwards slowly to join Fery, “It’s a map of Syr Nebra.” The walls sloped up and the two saw the great painted map of the world encircling them.
Kira pointed just to their left, “There we are.” A bright yellow teardrop marked the Cruor, perhaps six feet from the Novostos.
“There’s more land here than I know.” Fery followed Kira’s finger then drifted to the left of it to find her own city, Rikonen, which was marked by a red diamond. She kept turning her head expecting to see The Deep come back around but just kept going, “The Deep is huge.”
“And look,” Kira drew Fery’s attention back to the right.
“Where is that?”
“I’ve never seen it before,” Kira admitted, “I didn’t think there was anything much beyond the Ashka Sea over the Ragans.”
“My father told me about Lappala but this…” The land continued down below the black diamond that was Lappala for several feet before it joined the bright white that signified the southern pole. But to the east of Lappala there was more land although not a single bit of it was named or had a mark on it.
“And there’s more beyond the North Sea,” gestured to the strip of land that looked like it was painted as mountains that lead to another expanse just as large as that south of Lappala. It too bled into the white of the northern pole, “Whole lands that they knew existed but didn’t know anything about.”
“That we’ve never known about.” Fery added.
“Queer, isn’t it? How between the Cathedral, the Spires, and Essia that we know nothing of these places?” Kira’s voice was full of wonder, “A whole sea beyond the Ashka that we’ve never set an oar in or felt the wind of.”
Fery nodded equally awed, then she turned to Kira with a confused look on her face, “Do you think Roth knows about this?”
Just then there was a voice echoing through the halls calling out to Kira and Fery, “Speaking of.”
“I’m becoming far too aware of that bellowing.” Kira said conspiratorially as she made her way back. Fery lingered looking around for a few more moments. It seemed like an eternity as she took in the mural with the light from above seemingly illuminating new parts of it.
“Fery!” Kira had come back and stood in the doorway, “Fery now, come, this sounds important.” Kira’s voice was urgent.
About the Author:
Daniel Casey has a MFA in Creative Writing-Poetry from the University of Notre Dame. He’s been an adjunct English instructor, a soccer journalist, and a literary magazine editor.
Find him on:
Twitter: @misanthropester & @ascendantrealms
His Blog: https://misanthropester.wordpress.com/
Or on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23589357-adversaries-together