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Book Review: Lamentation by Ken Scholes

 

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Lamentation by Ken Scholes

This book is a brand new release and it is an interesting book for a couple of different reasons. The author exercises imagination yet restraint, and he turns the genre of epic fantasy around in a fresh way.

Will's Review - Be careful there is a tiny spoiler alert at the end

Lamentation (The Psalms of Isaak)

This is an interesting new Epic Fantasy book by a first time author and it is the first in a scheduled series of epic fantasy books. There are a couple of things I want to say about this novel. First off, it is well written, crisp and clean. Everything flows smoothly and before you know it you are 100 pages into it. As far as the story and the action goes it is excellent and there are some neat things in the novel that make it stand out. I won't go into them at any depth just in case you intend on reading it. But one of the things I like is the use of magic when it comes to battle scenes or potential battle scenes. Powders are used that render a person very quiet, very fast, and veritably invisible. Not everybody can use these because you have to be specially trained but both sides have people that use these powders and it makes for some very interesting battles because you have both normal combatants and powdered combatants on each side. 

"Otherwise the novel is just a good fantasy read with some nice flavor
distinct to this world and the author flexes a good amount
of imagination in realizing the world".

There are two things I do want to say about this novel that put it a notch up in my opinion.

The first thing is how he manages the various barons, lords, houses, factions, etc. This can be a sore spot for me because I really don't see the reason for getting into all the deep politics of a world. This whole schema started with Dune.

But modern day writers seem to love it. The more complex the social structure the more interesting it is - to most anyways. But not so to me! Because it lends itself to difficulty in following what the heck is going on. After X amount of characters I start to lose interest, particularly because the ethics of the novel start to get muddled. I find myself wondering who is the bad guy and who is the good guy. 

But this muddling because of complexity doesn't happen in this novel.

Scholes, while he does have a rather complex social system with various houses, he handles it well. We get introduced to the them slowly and we always have a good handle on who is who and what is what. I give him 5 stars for that.

Here is the thing I really like the most about this novel : But in order to tell you I have to be a bit of a spoiler, not serious but somewhat, so consider whether you want to read any further or not.

**** Spoiler Alert*****

This is where the author took a risk that I approve of. I am a big advocate of taking risks in the genre of epic fantasy because well, haven't we all read 15 variations of middle earth, just with different names? In a typical epic fantasy novel things start out bad. Something happens and our hero is off to the races to develop himself and save his world. What this means is that the book works slowly to a crescendo from first page to last. And thats all well and good. Its a good way to write a book but Scholes turns this on its head in Lamentation. Lamenation begins with an enormous crescendo and works its way down from there! Huh? you say? Yup, the biggest, baddest, ugliest crescendo is how the book opens!! So where do we go from here? Well its an interesting ride because we get to follow our characters as they deal with what happened and try to put the pieces back together. Well, some try to put the pieces back together while others try to start anew. It's a great approach to an epic fantasy novel. Just for this alone it makes the book worth reading. I give it four stars out of five and look forward to the next installment in the series.

4 stars out of five
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