Gol is a high end fantasy epic. It is three books within one and you get a lot of book for your money. There is a huge cast of characters, mystical Gods, tricky elementals and fantasy lands to get your head around.
The book opens in castle Barola in the land of Gol, where we meet Baron Eon Barola, his three sons and daughter. The Baron is forever scheming and plotting about ways to increase his power, he has a marriage planned for his daughter which will form an alliance. But first he must see off her current lover, a weak poet lad called Erun Cade.
When his sons fumble the beating, Erun is rescued by a hermit known as Irulan and taken under his tutelage to train for times to come.
In a far off land a huge earthquake erupts and a dark sorcerer called Ozmandeus captures the fire elemental called Ashmali who has been magically trapped for centuries. This evil wizard uses Ashmali to crush and burn all in his wake as he feeds the hunger of the fire element with the souls of all those he burns.
With Erun Cade’s training under way he is then sent on his first quest to reach a magical land and seek out one known as Scaffa, upon his travels he rescues Red Torrig a rebel who will become his friend, amongst many others. After three years of training with Scaffa on the island of Laras Lassladden, Erun is ready to take on quests set by the giantess herself. He must travel far and wide to capture the elementals of wind, earth and water, so they may work together against the increasing power of their brother fire.
Alongside the storyline of the elementals and Erun Cade, is the continued struggle for power from many of the nations and their peoples. Marriages, murders, corruption, and an annual games tournament are all written with a bawdy style, dripping with base sexual encounters and language which may appeal to a limited audience. Erun Cade is the main link between the two.
The fantasy lands, the different nations, the mystical creatures and the quests are all great elements of the high end epic fantasy and the author has created an ideal setting on paper. The huge quantity of material can mean a lot of back and forth and catching up with sub-storylines, which can be a challenge to keep track of, readers should note this book is written as a book 1 of the Legends of Ansu.
My favourite character was Red Torrig because he was funny, light-hearted and shone out from the other characters. For me there was too much doom and gloom in dismissive character speech, opinions of others, asides and mannerisms. Add to this an overuse of the terms “fool and Idiot” and I failed to engage with the characters.
Most readers want to escape into a book and shut out their own lives which are often already full of doom and gloom. I felt this was because the style of writing tried too hard to “tell” me as the reader how I should view everyone rather than letting me form my own opinions through more “Showing”.
This review is based on a free copy of the book given to me by the author.
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