Fighting off monsters, battling a gang of assassins seeking to kill him, Rigel finds honorable employment as a hero. He knows that he must die very soon if he remains in the Starlands, but he has fallen hopelessly in love with a princess and cannot abandon her. Through the imaginative landscape of the Starlands, Rigel's quest leads him to encounter minotaurs, sphinxes, cyclops, and more fearsome creatures in Dave Duncan's latest fantasy series.
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By Benjamin on 21-01-14
Forget the mattock; dig in with a teaspoon
Not having read Duncan before, I did not know what to expect, only that the book was recommended to me by audible based on my other reads.
One good thing about this book is that it includes all the trappings of heroic fantasy. Orphaned hero seeking his parentage, living on the edge of society because he's just a bit different, gets whisked off to a magical land where he discovers he has some special amulet which makes him extremely powerful, but also comes with its own enemies and perils. And then you throw in all the things that are supposed to be in a fantasy novels, centaurs, minotaurs, harpies, elves, sphinxes. Notably lacking: a bearded dwarf that spoke with a Scottish brogue.
Unfortunately, because of this, it seemed like a novel built from stock parts.
It is a quick fantasy read that will not challenge the reader. It moves along fast enough and doesn't bog down. It is OK so long as you don't try to dig too deep.
Another good thing about this book is the reading. Podehl does yeoman's work deepening characters that Duncan wrote pretty flat. He deserves quite a bit of credit for raising this book up in my estimation.
Now about those characters...
This is one piece where the book really fails. The characters are almost all one dimensional, many wouldn't even have that if it weren't for Podehl's reading. The evil megalomaniac is a bad guy, because he's a bad guy. His evil henchman performs odious acts, because that is what you do when you're an evil henchman. The main character acts heroically. Why? To impress a girl. That's new. The reader just can't identify with what is essentially a cast of cardboard cutouts.
I would not recommend this to anyone except maybe the convinced Duncan fan who knows exactly what he or she is getting into.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By Jason on 16-03-14
I picked up this book without a lot of hope but was a little bored. Next thing I know I was sucked in! There are truly many twists that you do not see coming, and from a huge reader that is hard to do to me!
The book does a great job of making you feel for the lead, while also filling out the other players in the story very well. The world is fleshed out amazingly well, and leaves you wishing to go yourself!
If you enjoy good Sc-Fi or Fantasy you will almost certainly enjoy this book as it does a wonderful job of weaving the two together.
I highly suggest you give this one a try, I am currently reading book 2 of the duet and it is just as good as the first and for the price these books are a steal!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful