If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past couple of days and visited Twitter even once, you will have come across the words in the title a number of times. Ben Galley, his books and this huge, ginormous, blog tour (organised by the wonderfully supportive and fun @TheWriteReads) are EVERYWHERE!!!
I want to be completely honest with you. I did something we all do sometimes (please don’t tell me otherwise) – I judged a book by its cover. Not one, but four, actually. The following four books have been available to read in this tour:
I’m a lover of fantasy and have been reading the genre for about a decade, but now that I saw these books I realised I probably loved the fluffy, girly, romantic sort of fantasy (and probably wasn’t even aware that there was another side to it, lol). Based on these covers (not that they don’t look great – they do! – just maybe not so much like ‘my type of book’ because they appear a bit too dark for me at first glance), I wasn’t sure if I wanted to take part in the tour. But then I thought, what if I miss out on a bookish genre that is actually awesome and exciting and great, just because I would not usually grab them in a book store? So I figured, you know what, I’ll just try it! So I picked the book that spoke to me the most (guys, I promise I’m not usually a shallow person!!! :D): The Written – Book one of The Emanska Series! Here’s the blurb for you:
His name is Farden.
They whisper that he’s dangerous.
Dangerous is only the half of it.
Something has gone missing from the libraries of Arfell. Something very old, and something very powerful. Five scholars are now dead, a country is once again on the brink of war, and the magick council is running out of time and options.
Entangled in a web of lies and politics and dragged halfway across icy Emaneska and back, Farden must unearth a secret even he doesn’t want to know, a secret that will shake the foundations of his world. Dragons, drugs, magick, death, and the deepest of betrayals await.
Welcome to Emaneska.
And you know what? I’m glad that I chose it. Let me tell you why in this first chapter review. I liked the writing a lot! I love the descriptive style that Galley uses, it’s sucking me into the book’s setting immediately. There’s a thin line between describing the setting, the characters and the world enough to make them interesting for a reader, and overdoing it in such a way that just bores you and lets you hope the story finally picks up. I was so happy that in Galley’s case it was the former! Here’s a passage that mirrors my observations:
“‘Of course it is, Gernn, just look at the scales of the front cover!’ replied one of the others, avidly. He waved his hand in a somewhat dismissive gesture. He coughed hoarsely, as if the cough had caught him by surprise, and then dabbed a handkerchief to his lips. Spectacles made from thin slices of rare crystal balanced precariously on his nose and a long beard, streaked with grey, cascaded down his neck and chest. ‘Dragon. No doubt about it. And one doesn’t simply go around borrowing their scales for book covers.’”
Story-wise, what I gathered from the first chapter is that there is a mysterious book that’s secured with a lock which a group of scholars couldn’t open yet. Then a Mage appears who is able to open it, and the book reveals a script in a Dark Elvish language. The first part of this first chapter ends with an OMG!!-moment, and then we’re transported to a new scene. We meet a hooded stranger who’s surrounded by an aura of mystery. He’s attacked by a wyrm (always a good thing in a fantasy book), but defeats it without much furore. What I didn’t really get here was why the person could just walk away from this fight so easily, even though he had been wounded and lost a lot of blood. But maybe this will be explained in a later chapter?
And with that, the first chapter ends. My feelings now? I want to know what happens next!! I want my questions answered! What are the scholars really looking for, and for what purpose? Who’s that Mage, what does he want? Who’s the mysterious hooded stranger? And what kind of world are we in? So as you can see, questions upon questions and the only answer to myself at the moment is: Noly, finish this book! And I will! This is a great starting point!
One slight negative I have to point out is that in just one short chapter, I’ve stumbled upon several typos and names that change their spelling almost every time they are mentioned, which made me want to get my red pen out – but that might be tied to my occupation 😀
In the meantime, I have read soo many other posts about the Ben Galley books by my fellow bookblogger friends who have taken part in the tour, and another book that really spoke to me was Heart of Stone. It sounds really deep and emotional and I plan on this being my next Ben Galley read.
I’m very glad that I was given the chance to take part in this tour and that I tried a step into a new fantasy realm – thank you, Ben and Dave (@TheWriteReads) for making this possible! The #Ultimateblogtours that @Thewritereads organises are massive and they’re only getting bigger and bigger! I’m so grateful to be a part of this amazing gang of supportive bookbloggers and can’t wait to find out what will be in store in the future!
(By the way, I’m not giving the book a star rating as of yet because I haven’t read the whole thing!)
Thanks for reading! Here’s some more info about the Author: @BenGalley
Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new Chasing Graves Trilogy.