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Ardalia: The Breath of Aoles (Book One) by…
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Ardalia: The Breath of Aoles (Book One)

by Alan Spade

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Note: This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Pros of this book

Well, one thing I have to give the author: he really outdid himself as it pertains to names. I’ve never seen so many different spellings of things in life!

The author was quite involved with presenting the settings of places. I felt like the location sequences were well written.

There were a few characters I liked, albeit not the main character. Alicene possessed a serenity and silent strength that made me smile. Xuven was not only smart but also resilient. Even in parts of the story where Xuven could have been perceived as harsh, when you have to deal with a personality such as Pelmen, you have to adopt being a bit of a hard ass. Fekkar’s dedication and resourcefulness was brilliant to see and the tough, confident zeal of Laneth was a bright spark in this read.

The resolution did not have the ambiance of a cliffhanger and was the other bright light in this read, although it took quite the journey to get there.

Summary of opportunities (Cons)

• Prologue at the beginning or detailed glossary at the end would have aided in comprehension of the characters and surroundings.
• Chapter lengths should have been cut significantly. It would have served to make the action more immediate.
• Work was a bit too narrative heavy—ambiance was more textbook than novel. A more proportioned mix of narrative and dialogue would have kept the interest ongoing.
• The flow of dialogue was not in alignment with the fantasy type dialect the author was trying to establish for his characters.
• From a syntax perspective, decrease the use of ellipses and incorporate better sentence structure, in terms that the sentences, in some areas, ran a bit too lengthy.
• Crucial plot points threatened to (and at times did) go amiss amidst the supernumerary blocks of information that didn’t play much of a role in the novel.

Overall, there’s a story there but the way of conveyance did it a grave injustice. I will let other readers be the judge. As for myself, I do not care enough for Pelmen to journey with him to his next adventure. ( )
  NoLabelsUnleashed | May 22, 2015 |
I received this book as a digital copy in return for a free review.

I've been putting this book review off for a few days. I've been busy, and it took me much longer then I had anticipated to finish this book due to taking over a new volunteer role, and working on my taekwondo for testing, and just all sorts of other things. In addition, this book was just not that good.

*SPOILERS*

The story begins like so many other pulp Fantasy novels. Young man, disheartened with life in the small village and looking for something more. Wait...did I say man. Sorry, this isn't a man, it's some other species of biped that isn't really described in a way to get a proper understanding of the physiology. He rebels against his abusive father and follows his friend and master to the big city. However, because he wasn't able to go with them he must escape the village and ends up being smuggled by a group of travelers. Turns out, though, that these travelers are actually smuggling people for some nefarious purpose; and when our main character refuses to be swayed by the temptation of riches a fire shaman attempts to kill him. Luckily, he escapes and makes it to the city.

Once into the city he searches for his friend and his master, but his master has been taken ill and is dying. Consequently, he looks for his uncle who owns a shop. This uncle takes him in and promises that should the main character become a 'hunter' and agree to work for his uncle he can have room and board. Meanwhile, he searches for a medic for his master, and gives him a few more days. Unfortunately, although his master recovers enough to give him his bow, he dies and as a result his children lose there status in the resulting political fallout. As a result, the main characters friend becomes tempted by the fire shaman people traffickers and disappears. So, our main character, his uncle and his uncles friend the krongo (a stone giant) set off on an adventure to discover what is going on.

Of course, the main character has to give up his dream of becoming a hunter (and all the subplots set up during the first third of the book); but as he heads into the wild with his uncle he gets the chance to learn in the real world. Unfortunately, although the character does get to learn many things on this journey, like the first third there is no tension in the story. Each segment of the novel seems to be building into something, but like a balloon that has been tied properly the story just fizzles into nothing. When the character kills someone for the first time he struggles for a time with having to kill an intelligent creature for reasons other than food, but that internal struggle really isn't important and just gradually fades away. At one point there is a romantic tension being built between two characters which may, or may not cause issues within the main character regarding the two females of his species that he likes. However, when the awkward 'I've never thought of a girl that way' section is past we jump ahead and the romance has come, gone, and is forgotten.

In addition to the above problems, there is no description in the book as to the characters, the world, the history, the magic, or just about anything. Things are dropped into the readers lap completely whole as though we should already know the background. Much is implied about what was and therefore what will be, but we are left wondering why we should care. A perfect example of this comes the first time the author refers to the creatures that pull the carts as rodents. I didn't know they were rodents. In fact, since I had nothing to base my picture upon I had thought of them as some form of bovine. However, apparently, they are like giant rats...maybe a tapir? Who knows? I would hope that the author knows what the animals and people in the story look like, but perhaps he doesn't? Maybe he just has a great story, but no idea of what anything looks like; and consequently, I have no desire to continue in this universe.

It is not that there isn't potential in the fantasy realm, but rather I do not believe that Mr. Spade has the ability to bring forth his vision in a way that will engage me. Perhaps I am spoiled on High and Epic Fantasy, and have forgotten how annoying Pulp Fantasy can be. However, even some of the most annoying Pulp at least takes the time to describe the characters that we are reading about. I may not think that the Drizzt Do'Urden stories are particularly brilliant, but at least I have a clear picture of what the character looks like. Consequently, I recommend avoiding this book unless you don't mind being board and frustrated with a story that falls so short of its potential. ( )
  pcvfallen | Jan 21, 2015 |
Asked to be read by Author in exchange for Review

The author was kind enough to send me a copy of the ebook after I failed to win his giveaway. There are some things I quite liked but a few things that stopped me from being completely invested in the story and the characters. The story is quite good, but a little bit over stocked with criss crossing themes. We have elemental magic, we have strange beasts, we have a Lord of the Rings style journey. It almost seems too much though and I think the Author may have been trying to set up such a massive trilogy or series that he ends up overloading the first book. I know you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover but I didn't like this one. Felt the cover of a 60's romance novel in painting style and the little oddities like the mainly having three nostrils but no nipples was confusing as I'm thinking "Okay where the hell are we??".

Our main character is likeable but not loveable and the supporting are well written but I found Perlman interesting enough to want to know where his journey goes. I was actually enjoying his initial journey when, as told in the summary, he goes off on another mission. We are also a few times led to expect something, like Perlmans quest to compete in a competition to be a hunter, only to have it skipped or never happen. I wanted to see that competition.

I think this is a good start for the author and shows real promise. If you like Fantasy and Adventure you should get a kick out of it. I think with more practice writing in the English language Spade should be able to smooth out his writing style as currently the names and places don't quite have an English feel to them which sometimes makes saying them in your head difficult. ( )
  areadingmachine | Aug 19, 2014 |
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It was hot in the tannery even though the doors and windows allowed constant airflow.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Pelmen hates being a tanner, but that's all he would ever be, thanks to the rigid caste system amongst his people, the hevelens. Then he meets Master Galn Boisencroix and his family. The master carpenter opens up the world of archery to young Pelmen, who excels at his newfound skill. But Pelmen's intractable father would have none of it, and tries to force Pelmen to stay in the tannery.

One day, however, Pelmen's best friend and Master Galn's son, Teleg, disappears. Lured away by the prospect of untold riches through mining amberrock, the most precious substance in the world, Teleg finds himself a prisoner of the Nylevs, fierce fire-wielding worshippers of the god of destruction.

Now Pelmen must leave all he knows behind, overcome his fears and travel across the land, in search of his childhood friend. Along the way, he will ally himself with strange and fantastic beings: a shaman who controls the Breath of Aoles, or the power of the wind, a krongos, a creature of the mineral realm who can become living rock, and a malian, adept at water magic.
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