Guest Review: Heir to the Sundered Crown (The Sundered Crown Saga #1) by M.S. Olney


We at FanFiAddict want to thank Steve Caldwell (aka The Bookwyrm Speaks) for his review of Heir to the Sundered Crown.

Make sure to give him a follow on Twitter, @Sandman_Slim101, or on his blog, The Bookwyrm Speaks.


Rating: 8.5/10

Synopsis

The Kingdom of Delfinnia is plunged into darkness after its royal family is assassinated. When Luxon emerges as the first wizard in a century, he’ll have to join a band of noble allies and fulfill his destiny as the prophesied hero. Perfect for fans of Raymond E. Feist!PUBLISHER DESCRIPTIONA realm torn asunder by civil war will give rise to a hero.The Kingdom of Delfinnia is in chaos. After Assassins kill the king and his family, the barons now battle one another for the crown. Unknown to them, one heir yet lives.As the civil war worsens, dark things begin to stir in the vast Eclin mountains. Horrors long thought destroyed have returned and led by an ancient evil begin to march upon the war-torn kingdom.Meanwhile, in the mage city of Caldaria and as all hope seems lost, a young man named Luxon will discover his powers. The first wizard for a century, he is the man who will one day be known as the Legendary and the hero will give the realm its greatest king.Sent on a quest to find the hidden heir, Luxon teams up with the legendary monster slayer, Ferran of BlackMoor, the deadly yet beautiful Witch Hunter Sophia Cunning and the noble Knight of Niveren, Kaiden of the Marble shore.Together they travel the realm battling deadly monsters, assassins, and the most feared enemies of them all, the servants of the dark lord Danon himself, the evil N’Gist cult.The Heir to the Sundered Crown is a heroic fantasy tale filled with action, battles and magic that will ignite the imagination and set the stage for an epic confrontation between the light and the darkness.

Review

That’s where Heir To The Sundered Crown by M.S. Olney comes in. It has that old school feeling of good versus evil, while adding in a few modern touches of realism. While the world building is strong with this book, its much more character driven, and that starts with Luxon, the main focus of the book. In the kingdom of Delfinnia magic banned in any place but Caldaria, the mage city. Luxon is an oddity, a wizard in a land of mages. He is in touch with his magic instinctively, and doesn’t need to use ritual or spells to use his magic, unlike the mages, who require specialized training to access the magic. Luxon’s life situation has also had some consequences on his life, as his father was executed by the barons when he swore that when the entire royal family was assassinated that the youngest price escaped. Considering a live heir invalidated the six baron’s claims, he was branded a lying traitor and executed to shut him up, disgracing his family in the process.

This is what Luxom has had to live with. It informs his decision making throughout the book as he joins a group of allies in trying to defeat an ancient evil, an evil so bad it still frightens people centuries later. Its fun watching his growth from awkward youth to confident young man with unique power. He is well complimented by a varied cast of supporting characters, including his friend Yeppert, a mage student with surprising strength of character and will, Sophia, a Witch Hunter, Ferran, a Nightblade, those tasked with defeating monsters, and Kaidan, a knight of Nivarin, the order that keeps rogue mages from causing trouble. They all have interesting back stories and get lots of development throughout the story. Definitely not cardboard cutouts.

There are no shades of gray in the villains. Danon is an ancient dark wizard thought dead with the defeat of his dark god, but his return with dragons disproves that. His magic is well beyond what any current mage can do, and there’s only one possible check to his power. Cliria is the other villain, a powerful witch, the partner and lover of Danon, and she has spent centuries arranging things to make his return possible. Her reveal is one of the best moments of the book, as things really start to unfold from there. Their motivations aren’t justifiable as anything other than a lust for power, and it’s kind of a refreshing callback to villains of the past. The characters really add some flavor to the mix.

NARRATION

The narration is handled by Joseph Tweedale. I was unfamiliar with his work before listening to this, but I was impressed with his voice work. He managed to create young sounding voices for the mage students, but also a wide range of adult and older voices for various other characters. He even put an excellent spin on a dragon’s voice. He creates unique voices for each character using various tones, accents and cadence changes, all while avoiding dropping into a monotone during the narrative portions. I look forward to listening to more of his work.

FINAL THOUGHTS

As I stated, this book has an old school sensibility which I really enjoyed. None of the anti hero or conflicted villains we see in so many books today, just characters that are generally good trying to stop the plans of truly evil villains. Its an engaging story I think any fan of fantasy can find something to love. I highly recommend it.

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