The first book that I've completed reading since the unceremonious inception of this blog has been A Throne of Bones by Vox Day. The book is a Christian SF/F novel printed by the newly minted Marcher Lords Hinterlands. The press, from my admittedly limited understanding of the publishing industry, was created specifically for this book, and has since expanded to Vox's other works.
This book is monumental. The sheer size of the hardback version is simply staggering. On the cover, there is an intricate array of bronzed scrollwork surrounding a skull. Its quality, finish, and attention to detail are readily apparent. It sits on my bookshelf and carries a commanding prescence that is only rivaled by Webster in mass, and very few in quality. Each chapter has a header using the skull and some artwork, it's a nice touch.
But you don't buy the book for its cover, so onto the details. The book uses multiple points of view throughout the book highlighting and interlocking web of storylines. Based in a timeframe that would be very similar to the Roman Republic. There are a dizzying number of characters, both overtly talked about and viewed in their own perspective, as well as substantial covert character array that I can only imagine will work it's way out in future installments. The book to me was initially very complex, between the characters, terrain, alliances, politics and military strategy. During the first 10 chapters I found myself spending more time than I'd liked to find out some basic Roman Republic terminology, study the map of the world, and re-reading certain sections to be clear on their meaning. Not a large complaint, but it was something that mildly annoyed me. By midway through the book, it really didn't seem to be an issue. There is no predictability for the first 2/3 of the book. I had absolutely no success in predicting future events. When you think you would know how something was going to go, or how you expected it should go. A significant change of course would send you reeling back from what you thought you know. This happened on more than one occasion, and although startling, it was entertaining.
The characters are well developed, accurately portrayed, and are consistent in their portrayal. Their variances are far and wide, from the rebellious teenage girl, the gruff dwarf, the crafty mage, the honorable general, the savy politician, and the child prodigy.
The ending of the book is a little coarse, with no real closure to any aspect of the storyline. It's been confirmed that there will be future installments in the series, and for most readers this probably won't be an issue, but if your a single serving type of reader, don't expect closure.
I read an advance copy of Vox's previous work A Magic Broken. At the time I assessed it as on par with the quality of work to which this book will be most commonly compared to, A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Many will know Martin's series has been converted to a successful HBO series. I stand by my previous assessment of the author's work. If the author can successfully complete at least a trilogy from this world he has created I think it can stand to become one of the great SF/F series's, and garner him accolades along with Martin, Tolkien and other fiction greats. I would recommend this book, without reservation.
Favorite character: Marcus
Favorite event: Corvus speech at the naturalization debate
Favorite quote: “You can bargain with everything but trolls and devils. Trolls are too stupid, and devils are too damn smart.”
My prediction is that Corvus was based on one Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus.