Gen was a bard's apprentice, his nimble hands meant for the lute and his voice for a song. Then the half-mad and completely bored Shadan Khairn invaded Gen's village to winter there and start a war. He shoved a sword in Gen's hands and tormented his body, shaping a bard into a warrior to be killed for sport. As the days of torture pile up like the snow, Gen searches for death. But the day is at hand when the shattered shards of the world will knit together again, and the world's slain god will be reborn. The mighty Ha'Ulrich will be the father, the mysterious Chalaine the mother. In dangerous times the holy couple doesn't need a bard. They need a warrior. And Gen needs a reason to live.
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Good fantasy series begins here (but too many typos in e-book). Told in 3rd person, the writing style is quite decent, despite the poor editing. I also heard the whole series, narrated superbly by Simon Vance. He is my favorite narrator.
Lots of weird names, so below are brief descriptions of the characters in this book, and the setting, but no plot spoilers:
The planet is Ki'Hal. Long ago, this fantastical planet split apart into shards, only accessible via magical portals. The three major shards are also nations: Rhugoth, Tolnor, Aughmere. Planet Ki'Hal has three moons: Trys, Duam, and Myn. Trys is eclipsed. Each moon yields different magical gifts, which can be supposedly used only by skilled mages. The nexus for the power of the moon Trys is a sacred place called Elde Luri Mora. Trys, shown on the cover of each book, is central to the plot.
The main character is an orphan named Gen, a likable bard's apprentice turned warrior, about 19 years old when the series begins. He is apprentice to the wise bard Rafael, in the obscure village of Tell, on the nation-shard of Tolnor.
Gen has a crush on Regina and is best friends with Gant. He despises the Showles family, especially their father Bernard, the despicable village leader.
A mad warlord king from a different nation shard (Aughmere) invades Tolnor, and takes an interest in Gen. His name is Torbrand, the Shadad Khairn, sort of like a tribal warrior Khan, or a sheik. Torbrand seemingly only loves one person, his daughter Mina.
Then there is the Chalaine, of noble birth, beautiful, kind, and brave, but overwhelmed by the prophecies of her divine destiny. She's about 18 years old. Her best friend and handmaiden, Fenna Fairedale, plays a strong supporting role. They live on the nation-shard Rhugoth.
The Chalaine is destined to wed the Chertanne, aka the Ha'Ulrich (ull-rick), aka the blessed one. He is from the nation-shard Aughmere. His father is Torbrand, the Shadad Khairn of Aughmer mentioned above.
Together, the Chalaine and the Chertanne (Ha'Ulrich) are prophetically destined to save the world, through their offspring, as described below:
“And thus we see,” Obelard plodded on, “that in this perfect union of Ha’Ulrich and Chalaine there will be powers unparalleled to heal and destroy— the Chalaine’s healing to counter Mikkik’s destruction, the Ha’Ulrich’s generative powers to counter Mikkik’s malcreative force.” The Prelate paused as if expecting some reaction to his brilliant statement.
The Chelaine's mother Mirelle is called The First Mother. She is also beautiful beyond the norm, but is politically shrewd, ruling in the capital city of Mikmir, on the nation-shard of Rhugoth.
We meet three ancient über-warriors: 1) Samian Birchwood, perhaps the kindest one, he's a woodsman (and Maewen's father), 2) Elberen the archer, a wise and knowledgable elf, speaking the old language, and 3) General Telmerran Fourtower, the boldest (and most reckless) of the three.
Members of the elite Dark Guard protect the Chalaine and the First Mother: Dason, Jaron, Kimdan, Gerand, Volney, Cadaen, etc.
Church clerics: High Pontiff Obelard, Mage-priest Ethris, Padra Athan, Aaron the acolyte, Salem the sailor-turned-pureman, etc. They serve the prophecy, and the Church of the One, the murdered god Elderloth. They strive to defeat the god Mikkik and his army of hideous creatures. They also strive to defeat the ilch (ilk), a humanoid sent by Mikkik to destroy the holy couple and their holy child.
The series also includes a few of the Millim Eri, powerful ancient elves, the last of their kind.
Love these characters, the strong women and the courageous men. Wanted more scenes with the elite warriors from the past -- what there is could have been more vivid. Love the friendships and fun scenes, the esprit-de-corps and camaraderie, the loyalty despite threats. But there are grim dark scenes — bloody death and torturous suffering.
Fantastical elements include mages, elves, demons, giants, Orc-like Uyumaak, gods, soul-eating cravers, etc.
A few notes up front to those who might actually be interested in reading this review: 1) Despite a bit of criticism below, I think this is a GREAT story, it had me hooked, and I totally recommend it! …especially if they combine the 4 parts** 2) This review covers the saga as a whole & also differentiates the over-arching story/story concept from the books as end-products. 3) I am purposefully very vague in my examples below to avoid spoilers. -- Book 1: A- Overall Trysmoon Saga: A- I could basically give The Trysmoon Saga two different “grades”; one for the story idea/story line and one for the book. In general, this is a GREAT story for escaping into an engrossing tale (really what I was looking for—now I can go back to more detailed/slower books). If B.K. Fuller can keep imagining stuff like that, we’ll be hearing about him again for sure!! There are, of course, a few fantasy clichés (e.g. simple farm boy [bard] saves world), but that’s impossible to avoid in this genre. I can honestly say, there was no point at which I got bored or felt like it was more of the same. I think this is an A++ story idea, and a B to B+ execution. The reason I don’t give it an A is that, as a whole, it seems less like an complete epic fantasy and more like a great start to what will become a truly spectacular epic fantasy novel (rivaling other famous fantasy books)… as soon as the publisher* tells the author flesh out some parts more. The writing style is plenty fine for me, and I liked that words weren’t wasted on excessively florid environmental descriptions (good for people with a science background like me). On the flip side, there were many opportunities for much more extensive development of characters, story line, or magic systems—all without making the book drag. There are several characters that probably could’ve had an entire novel devoted solely to their backstory, explaining why they act the way they do (a particular mother and a couple of brothers come to mind). Without that, I think a lot of the secondary characters ended up being kind of flat, or at least FAR less dynamic than they could’ve been. There are some classic one dimensional characters, which really could've been rounded out better (especially minors in book 1). In another example of missed potential in a "minor primary" character, this character apparently does such a dramatic about-face that it doesn’t even make sense—nor does it add layers/complexity to the character. While this apparent reorientation is kind of, partially, sort of elucidated to some extent over the saga, there’s no significant further development or explanation as to WHY this apparent behavioral volte-face is actually in concordance with a personality that, as best as I can deduce from the information gleaned, basically just exemplifies a psychopath (in the true DSM-5 clinical sense)… period… end of character development. I mean, it’s still good, but it’s a MAJOR missed opportunity to create some more complex engrossing characters. -- The Audio (A-): Solid. No complaints about production quality. The narration/voice acting by Simon Vance is well done. Some character voices sounded fairly similar, leading me to think that Vance may not have (or utilize) the range of someone like George Newbern, who’s range and character diversity creates a TRULY immersive audiobook. That said, I think diction, pace, tone, etc. were excellent, and I would be totally happy to listen to more books narrated by Vance. -- Book 1 = Got me hooked! The best of the series (A-). Nice stroll through the intro, then ramped up. Only complaint: the secondary characters were pretty 1-dimensional
Books 2 & 3 = good (B). In a multipart story, this is the section to fill in character development (and backstories where needed). That fell short. On the other hand, it’s hard to keep the pacing up in the middle, and books 2 & 3 did a fairly good job with that. Book 4 = very enjoyable final installment. Bonus points for great idea for the story line, and nice dénouement. Honestly, the resolution and dénouement in this final book account for one of the finest conclusions I've encountered in a while. But, the book is a less than perfect final product because it seemed like it could have been fleshed out more. It kind of seemed a bit rushed to get to the initial climax… like all the nonessential details leading up to that part got jettisoned, which messed with the pace and my perception of time passing. I actually jumped back a bit to make sure I didn’t miss anything. (B+/A-)
-- **This story is broken into 4 fairly short books. So, I can’t help but ask “being honest, how happy am I, really, about blowing 4 credits on this?” …definitely not disappointed, but it’s good book 1 hooked me first [those !@#$% marketers got me this time]. *Self-published text (an apparently well-done one at that) "complicates" that feedback a bit. I can't help but wonder, "If this were taken to a publisher, would those suggestions have been made?"