The last of a dying breed, a holy warrior must rise up against a growing darkness in Evelium.
The most unlikely of heroes, a lowly itinerant mercenary, Umhra the Peacebreaker is shunned by society for his mongrel half-Orc blood. Desperate to find work for himself and his band of fighters, Umhra agrees to help solve a rash of mysterious disappearances, but uncovers a larger, more insidious plot to overthrow the natural order of Evelium in the process. As Umhra journeys into the depths of Telsidor’s Keep to search for the missing, he confronts an ancient evil and, after suffering a great loss, turns to the god he disavowed for help. Compelled to save the kingdom he loves, can he defeat the enemy while protecting his true identity, or must he risk everything?
Paladin Unbound is a classic fantasy adventure, full of mysteries, mysterious cults, a warrior that is destined to save the world, and the grudges of Gods echoing for eons. In this novel, I was expecting something more grimdark. Many times, I questioned whether I was reading the epic fantasy trope or was there going to be moments of grim darkness. Suffice to say, this wasn’t the case and it made a break as I often read too much grimdark fantasy these days. You’ll find most of the characters in this novel are courteous, and sometimes perhaps a bit too trusting for my taste. But in the end, what you have is a complete story, right out of the package and it’s absolutely suitable for a children’s novel as well. It has something that grimdark fantasy is missing I think: Loyalty and Integrity. But that’s only my observation and that is an opinion. Nothing else, nothing more.
Umhra, a half-human half-orc mercenary is contracted by Lord Espen Morrow to find out what is going on in Ember Valley and why people are disappearing. This of course draws the Eyre of other mercenaries’ groups that discriminates against Orcs. I think racism is nothing more than jealousy disguised as hate. It stems from insecurity. So, they set out to do this task, and they uncover something more mysterious. Vampires and innocents. I don’t wish to reveal the story further, but I can give you a taste: Jealous Kings, Huge Immense Castles, Catacombs, the Undead, Gods, a cult called the Brotherhood of Resurrection (who are literally the worst people to call themselves a cult as I consider themselves a parody no matter what they think of themselves as high and mighty people trying to resurrect their demon God which, to be honest, is a stupid idea. Very stupid idea. Very stupid.) Actually, half of this novel reminded me of my playing sessions in Elder Scrolls Online. It was basically Castlevania but without so much of the grim darkness that was involved.
Let me be clear, this is heroic fantasy at all costs. And it’s got a traditional LOTR style element to it as well. It is refreshing, but I was hoping we could have seen some more clever stuff from the characters. Yes, it’s still a dangerous world, but the characters acted more on impulse rather than thinking two-three steps ahead for some parts of the novel. This is not always the case, and in many parts, you get quality writing. Sometimes there pacing issues, and sometimes I think scenes could have been shortened. There were many great characters in this novel, and I liked how Umhra managed to navigate a lot of this. Any sane person on his journey would have gone mad when you actually consider what he’ll get up to in the novel. I do say, he has a habit of travelling to Kings to meet them quite often! He is, of course, hiding a bigger secret.
There are powerful stakes, heart-breaking scenes, quality writing prose and amazing combat scenes. I really enjoyed this. It’s a 10/10 from me!
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