From Jared Besse: It’s been a pleasure to read and review this year’s SPFBO. I’ve gotten to love many new authors and series because of this competition and I’m excited to talk about yet another great book. See below for a synopsis, the FanFiAddict team’s thoughts, and our final rating of Hall of Bones!
In the remote land of Laskar the seven ruling clans have vied with each other for power for over a century. The son of the Reavesburg Clan Chief, Rothgar, has been groomed all his life for a role supporting his elder brother, Jorik, in leading their kingdom when their father’s time finally comes to an end.
However, the rulers of their greatest rivals, the Vorund Clan, are in the grip of something older and far darker. They have been conquered by evil, a remnant from the time when the gods warred with one another and the world of Amuran collapsed into the Fallen Age.
Everything is about to change …
The first book in The Brotherhood of the Eagle series, Hall of Bones begins a tale of epic fantasy, magic and intrigue.
Our Reviews & Ratings
A great read. I was hooked from the opening lines seeing our main character at death’s door strung up and left out to dry. While the story then flashes back and takes a little bit to get going, the worldbuilding and character development makes it all worth the journey. Hall is a norse styled fantasy in the style of Robin Hobb. What’s important here is the characters, particularly our protagonist Rothgar whom we follow in first person narrative.
We follow his story as a small child and his journey as he grows into a warrior. The world is slowly expanded as he grows and experinces more. By the end, I was hooked and I plan to read the sequel soon!
Highly recommended for fans of Robin Hobb, and with great writing and strong characters, this takes its spot as one of my favorites for this year’s SPFBO.
I must admit that I would not have read this book if I wasn’t a judge in this competition but I am glad I did because it was a wild ride! I think this is one of the books that deserve more recognition!
The story follows our main protagonist Rothgar who is trained all his life to support his older brother, the successor of their father who happens to be the chief of the clan. On the other hand, we have the Vorund clan with its blood thirsty and greedy chief who is shrouded in dark magic and mystery.
Rothgar is an interesting character and since we get to see the story through his narrative, we get to know him very well. The story starts with him as a child and then we follow him until he becomes a young man with everything around him changing suddenly. The writing is great, I like the prose and I found it very engaging. However, there is something that is kind of a pet peeve for me which is introducing a large number of characters in very small time. I felt that specially in the beginning when we were bombarded with a lot of characters and to be honest, it took me some time to follow the story and recognize which characters are important and which ones are minor ones. To be fair, the author does a good job at making the distinction but a bit late which made the beginning kind of hard to trudge for me. And another thing is that the book does include a glossary at the end of all characters but there is no fun in constantly jumping back and forth to see who is who!
The book can also be a bit descriptive and the narrative is sometimes lost for a short time before it gets back on track again. On the other hand, I felt some of the characters did not get enough descriptions and they have similar sounding names which made it hard to connect to them.
I think the story itself is very interesting and although it is similar in parts to some of my previous reads -no surprise given its Norse mythology inspired- it still has its own charm and the author succeeds in having his own distinct voice! As I mentioned the beginning was tricky for me but around 50% the book was just super interesting and those parts in the middle were worth 5 stars for me. It does slow down after that and new things are introduced which progress the narrative but I was still itching for more of those emotions and euphoria the middle part gave me!
The world-building is good, I expected more from the magic which is introduced later in the story but I think it will be a bigger part of the next books so it is not really something that put me off!
Summary: Hall of Bones is an ambitious first book in a series that obviously have great potential. I think at some points too much was happening and I would have gone with something a bit lighter for a first book but it was still super engaging. If you don’t have a problem with many characters, this will be a great read for sure. I am glad I am part of SPFBO which made me read this!
This was the best indie book I read this year other than Dragon Mage. Brutal and engaging.
Final Score: 8.5/10 (rounded up)