Review of THE UNREMEMBERED by Peter Orullian posted at SFSignal


I enjoy writing reviews but I admit I am something of a wimp in doing so. Writing a book is a difficult task, despite what the proliferation of self-published tomes indicates. Each of the ones I’ve written is an exercise in perseverance, self-discipline and repetition. I applaud anyone who has successfully gone through that process.

Which is why I really dislike writing negative reviews.

For the most part, if I usually read a book if I’m pretty sure I’m going to enjoy it. Most readers are like this, no doubt, as we are all influenced by what we have read before, and our time is precious so we do not want to invest it in reading something that may not bring us satisfaction, wonder and enjoyment (or knowledge, if reading non-fiction).

This brings us to the review just posted on SFSignal of The Unremembered by Peter Orullian, the first in the Vault of Heavens trilogy.

It is probably the most lukewarm, middle-of-the-road review I’ve written…and, in spite of it, I am plowing through and thoroughly enjoying the second book in the series, Trial of Intentions.

The version of the book I reviewed is labeled “Author’s Definitive Edition.” I have no idea what changed, though I have read in other places that the original book was a lot like The Wheel of Time series. Though I admire what Robert Jordan (and after him, Brandon Sanderson) have accomplished with that series, I could not finish it – it just got too boring and convoluted in the middle. I saw some similarities, but they were the same fantasy tropes that you find in all fantasy series.

An excerpt from the review:

It’s a bit of a rocky start, with a lot of jumping around, and references to characteristics of the world that are undefined and confusing (e.g., the creatures that are being held back by the veil (and sometime breaking through) are called “the Quiet”; I may be slow, cause I didn’t get it for a while). And I have the unfortunate vice of being a map hound…and, even with reading glasses, it looked to me like distances were not making any sense in the group’s travels.

At this point I almost gave up on the book. Life’s too short to have to force your way through a book that is meant to entertain.

And yet…there were intriguing characters with interesting problems and a complex world that was developing and deepening. The main character, Tahn, has forgotten a large part of his past, and is limited by the power of the chant he must says before he uses his bow. The Sheason can use “the Will”, the life-energy of this world, as a weapon at the cost of draining his own life energy. And the concept of the Veil, which is failing (as evidenced by the Bar’dyn from the other side that they encounter) and which would launch a third all-out war, sets up much of the impetus of the plot. Political intrigue is added by introducing a faction bent on modernization, believing that old stories of the Veil, the creatures beyond it and the first two wars are mere fairy tales, and that all who believe in them should be subdued to make way for progress.

The story follows some oft-used tropes: a forgotten past; an unlikely hero who is more than he seems; music as power. But, each unwinds in interesting ways:

 If you’ve read it, I’d appreciate your comments.

 

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