This first part of a new fantasy series by Conn Iggulden is a very good start and shows that this author (who I have not read before) knows what he is doing. It deals with a world with a major city, Darien of the title. It has links with our own world as the Bible is known here. It is a world where magic occurs and three main characters all possess some link to magic. Elias has a knack of avoiding danger, Nancy can absorb and channel magic and Arthur is a golem with photographic reflexes. Their lives intertwine as power struggles break out in Darien.
The writing is successful although a little repetitive at times, especially in the fighting in the last act. The plot is engaging, the characters are well-defined and I am certainly curious as to where this goes next. The series shows a great deal of promise and I recommend it to lovers of fantasy.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
If you have read the story "Friendship Bread" you know that story takes place in the fictional town (maybe? I don't know) of Avalon. Author Darien Gee has returned to this location and characters in subsequent books: "The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society", "An Avalon Christmas" and now in "An Avalon Valentine." It is nice to revisit some of these characters we have come to known. But due to the length of this book (176 electronic pages) Gee doesn't have a lot to work with regards to the four main story-lines she decides to follow.
Story-line 1 follows long time character Hannah Wang. She is happy in her relationship with her boyfriend Jamie Linde, but now her ex-husband is back trying to rekindle their former relationship.
Story-line 2 follows another long time character, Connie Colls who is getting a bit bored with her samey relationship with vet Eli. That is until a new vet comes along who has Eli changing his ways.
Story-line 3 and 4 follow two characters that are new, Lucia Blake and Goldie Love (yeah that last name...sigh). Lucia is dealing with having a crush on her mail carrier and Goldie is a retired romance writer who is resistant to celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary.
There's a little hidden story-line in this one too, Julia Evarts daughter from the first book, Gracie, gets a little part of the Valentine's Day theme, I honestly wish that it had been cut since it just didn't work well with the other 4 story-lines.
I have to say for me this whole book was a wash. The POV jumped around a lot and we don't get to spend much time with any of these characters. I thought that Hannah's story-line had the most potential and could have been it's own stand alone book taking place in Avalon, but shoehorning in Connie, Lucia, and Goldie's stories just made the whole book feel cluttered. Maybe if Gee had decided to make this into a full length novel so some of these stories could have breathed it would have worked better.
The writing was okay, but I was missing the magical sense of this town that I have read about for a few years now. I just thought that the background of Valentine's Day would make it more interesting, but I was honestly bored. Maybe if Gee had shaken things up a bit with regards to some of the longer term romances in this book that would have made for a more compelling read? It just seemed most of the issues were once again adults not talking to each other and everyone just ignoring having a conversation that ended up fixing all in like ten minutes.
The ending fell a little flat. I am happy to get some new Amish friendship bread recipes though.