This is, what I hope will be the first of many book reviews I write for the fantasy books I love to read. While I will try to keep the spoilers to a minimum, I can't gaurantee they wont happen, and thus, read at your own risk. :)
What is it about?
A Warrior's Tale is Lorna's first book in her Imago Chronicles series, and what a book it is. The tale opens with the main character, Nayla Treeborn, huddling down against a winter storm. We have little idea of where she is, or why she's there, but we get a fairly clear message of peril. Then it cuts to a flash back to Nayla's youth and proceeds to tell the very touching and captivating story of who Nayla is, and how she got into that situation.
Nayla Treeborn is, what I like to refer to as, a broken character. Not in the literary sense, but in the emotional sense. She is a half-breed between mortal and elf, a one-of-a-kind occurance in Lorna's very vivid world, and this creates much of the tension we feel throughout the story. Being neither full elf nor full mortal, she sits in a sort of limbo between the two cultures, never fully accepted by either.
A secondary conflict in the book rests between Nayla and her father, who not only refuses to accept her as his daughter, but abuses her and treats her as an outcast. And this is where the story truly begins, with Nayla being spirited away from her home to a far-off land by the valiant Joval Stonecroft, an elven warrior who finds Nayla beaten, lashed, and tied up in a barn.
Once Nayla begins her journey to become one of the greatest warriors ever known, you literally will not be able to put the book down.
Where do I begin? Lorna weaves one hell of a tale that kept me hooked right to the very end of the book and beyond. I wanted to start her second book right away just to stay immersed in her writing, in her world. Her descriptions are vivid, detailed, and captivating. There was never a point in the book where I thought it was getting boring, and I found she struck just the right balance of action vs. story to really keep an audience gripped.
Lorna's characters are very much the best part of her books. Not only Nayla, but many of the other characters as well. They each stand on their own, with their own personalities, hopes, dreams, cultures, like and dislikes. It left you feeling like you could see them in front of you, like you could reach out and touch them.
The world, though constantly in turmoil, is brought to life not only by the characters, but by very realistic weather, travel times, landmarks and events that make this stand out as more than "just another fantasy world". This is a world that you could go to again and again. One that you want to go to.
I'm afraid to say that there wasn't much to add to this part of the review. There were a few times when I wondered if maybe it could have done without a few of the many combat scenes, as there are many. But each one is different, and brings new and different events to Nayla's life.
I wouldn't call this bad, but love scenes in the book tend to get pretty graphic, almost to erotica levels, and are not for the feint of heart. But in this respect there are few, and this is more against my preference than an actual fault. As a writer, I run and hide from these scenes, so again i say, well done Lorna, yours are clear, vivid and convincing.
There was nothing ugly about this book at all. My only real issue is that there were many short spans in the eBook that had a minor formatting bug in them that caused several consecutive paragraphs to be indented. The effect this had was, at times I was left with a large blank area on my screen and all the text crammed to the right. These bits were short, but frequent enough to be annoying on a smartphone screen (which is what I use to do my eBook reading).
If your looking for something different in the fantasy genre, and you want a good, long, satisfying read, check out this book. Lorna's style is unique, and very refreshing in this often over-loaded genre. I assure you, you won't be disappointed.
Thanks for reading!
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