Sunday, December 22, 2013

Book Review: Hard Luck

This is an exceptionally fun tale that does a little bit in the way of a genre-blending two-step.  The characters are lively, animated and personable.  It is through those characters that the beautiful setting is painted.  There will be a few things that take the reader by surprise, elements that one doesn't expect to run across in what seems to be a traditional fantasy piece, but these elements do nothing but add to uniqueness of the piece.  Very much so, this book is a fun little romp and the series promises to be an increasingly fun and dramatic ride.


One of the unusual elements that you're going to find in the book is in the linguistics.  Usually, when we read a fantasy novel, we find that the language has been sprinkled with a handful of archaic terms or sentences here and there.  This is a trick to give the impression of people from olden times speaking while the author is still using a thoroughly modern dialect.  In this book, the author has instead just used the modern dialect without disguising it what so ever.  The characters speak in ways that you would expect to hear from people on the street.  Further there is the inspired and completely unexpected choice to have the elves of the piece speaking in a tone you'd expect from the south-eastern United States.

Story-telling is a central part of the culture of several characters and so we're given to see a lot of stories-within-the-stories.  The elven story-telling style, for instance, is very similar to the laid-back casual yarns of Br'er Rabbit and Johnny in the House of the Rising Sun.  It is very much a tale to be told to the young'uns of what can and should be done versus what can't and shouldn't be done.  By comparison, the other characters are implied to have a style more akin to what we expect from traditional fantasy, ranging from a tone like that of Galadriel narrating the beginning of the first LotR movie to the boastful and bombastic tale-tellings of a Viking.

The magic system is interesting partially because of the fact that the background of the world is such that magic has been almost irrevocably removed from the environment.  Intensely magical creatures and beings have died and others have found themselves more and more hampered.  The gods have mostly been cut off from the world and mostly seem not to care, save for a handful.  The countries that remain are trying to find ways to deal with their problems that they used to use magic for.  Analogous to what would happen if the real-world were to suddenly find all of our technology was non-functional, the world became wracked with plagues, famine and war.  And this is where there is a slight genre crossover.

Magic hasn't completely left the world.  It now simply can be found within select people here and there.  From a flying man to a teen berserker and other things behind.  The world now finds itself lacking the magic they used for convenience and faced instead with people growing up with inherent power.  Consider if all the technology failed but some people started gaining super-powers, and that's a good comparison to the situation.  The majority of these gifted people are still young, however, and what we thus have is a chance to watch the building of a culture only a generation or two removed from the apocalypse.  An apocalypse which may have been caused by mortal interference.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H5IPASW

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