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review 2014-10-14 21:52
The Roads to Baldairn Motte - Garrett Calcaterra,Craig Comer,Ahimsa Kerp

The Roads to Baldairn Motte is an epic fantasy in the vein of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and Erikson’s The Malazan Book of the Fallen, in that it has a large list of characters, each with different plots, all of whom are caught up in a continent spanning war. Where those more famous epic fantasy series are crafted by one author, however, this novel was penned by three – Garrett Calcaterra, Craig Comer, and Ahimsa Kerp, and with that in mind, this book is amazingly cohesive and easy to follow along with, even though each story is different in tone and style than its sisters’ tales.

Here the stories show a huge war being played out in a well-developed land of medieval times. There are political machinations ongoing in these realms of kings and nobility; upheaval is ripping the land apart; and armies and navies are being sent out to wage war. Where other series tend to focus on the "power players" of these types of conflicts, here the three authors decided to take a different approach, shining the spotlight on the more common folk in the tale, showing how these whores, sailors, and other "normal" people find their life impacted by the conflict between their "betters." Something that gave this fantasy a very different flavor than my normal reads.


The other thing that made The Roads to Baldairn Motte a bit different was the writing approach to this tale – the novel being divided into three distinct sections. Here, Garrett Calcaterra, Craig Comer, and Ahimsa Kerp each developed their own vision of this ongoing conflict with different characters in their own unique sections of the novel. Nothing about the world itself or its ongoing conflict changed, but the stories themselves were distinctly different in focus and viewpoint. And while there were recurrent characters who appeared throughout, each of these was seen in different lights in each author’s story. Something that caused the reading of this story to be out of the ordinary, feeling more like an anthology tale than a single novel.


Now, naturally, all was not completely rosy when three authors are writing what is basically one long tale. Honestly, there were points in the tale where it seemed the current author was trying to wrap up a lingering thread from his coauthors’ section as quickly as possible. And many times, I felt that there was not enough groundwork laid for scenes or plots that were going to continue in the next section of the book, or to put it another way, things were told to me instead of being shown to me. But other than those complaints I had no major issues with the story as a whole.


Overall, this was a well developed and crafted fantasy novel. It had enough world building to establish the reasons for the war and its combatant’s motives and desires as well as enough description of important events to build the story to its conclusion. There were more than a few memorable characters to keep me interested, so while this story did not blow me away, it was definitely an entertaining read and well worth a try for epic fantasy fans.

Source: bookwraiths.com/2014/10/14/the-roads-to-baldairn-motte-by-garrett-calcaterra-craig-comer-and-ahimsa-kerp
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review 2014-01-30 11:49
Fantasy Review - The Roads to Baldairn Motte
The Roads to Baldairn Motte - Garrett Calcaterra,Craig Comer,Ahimsa Kerp

For a heroic fantasy novel written by not one, not two, but three authors - Garrett Calcaterra, Craig Comer, and Ahimsa Kerp - The Roads to Baldairn Motte is a surprisingly well-structured, remarkably cohesive tale that actually benefits from the different voices, without seeming fragmented. It's worth noting that this is a second edition of the tale, with new content, and a massive restructuring. I can't speak for the original edition, but my impression, based on this, is that restructuring paid off.

What we have here are three overlapping stories, each with a different narrative lead, but tied together by the same world, the same war, and the same struggles for survival. Interestingly, it's less about the war itself and those with the greatest stakes, and more about the 'common' people who are swept up by it, drawn into it, and (in some cases) ultimately defined by it.

Yes, there are kings, princes, emperors, lords and noblemen here, some of who are central to the tale, but it's the whores, farmers, peasants, doctors, soldiers, and other 'common' people with whom we're invited to connect. There are, of course, characters who cross over between tales, and I surprised to find that they retained a consistent feel, despite being written by different authors. Clearly, a great deal of thought and planning went into shaping this 'mosaic' novel, and it shows.

I felt the writing was a bit rushed or abrupt in places, as if the authors were impatient to get on with the story, but not to the point where it took away from the experience. The world was well-established in terms of politics and geography, with the stakes of war made quite clear. Some scenes could have benefited from a bit more physical description, just to anchor the reader in the world, but that's a minor quibble. Overall, the dialogue was strong, and the writing showed some definite flair. The Roads to Baldairn Motte is an interesting tale, both in terms of structure and content, and definitely worth a read.

Source: beauty-in-ruins.blogspot.ca/2014/01/fantasy-review-roads-to-baldairn-motte.html
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