Friday, August 27, 2010

THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD: A Dark and Complex Fantasy

I've been meaning to write a review on THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD (THE HALF ORCS BOOK 1) by David Dalglish, but at least in a blog form I don't feel like it has to be polished or professional sounding.  When I can come up with a better review, I will post that on Amazon, but for the time being let me say this:

I LOVED this book.

And that's no easy task, I assure you, because I usually don't read fantasy.  I've never read any of the LOTR books--just couldn't get into them.  I tend to read works that are a little more slice-of-life.  But when I read the sample for this book, I had a feeling that I was looking at something special.  It drew me in from the get-go, and I never felt myself lost or overwhelmed by terms or names that would normally lose me in other fantasy works.

What I admire the most about Dalglish's work here is that he takes a real risk.  He does not give us clear-cut heroes.  On the contrary, the two main characters do some horrible things.  Evil things.  Yet, we follow them on their journey because we know that these two Half-Orc brothers have never had proper guidance.  Shunned by humans and elves alike, it's easy to see where their distaste for other people come from.

Harruq is one of the brothers.  All he's had in his life is his smaller brother, Qurrah.  Qurrah has taught him his entire life that they are creatures of destruction, and that they need not be ashamed of their violent nature.  When Qurrah meets a dark lord and sorcerer, Velixar, he's given abilities and powers he could've never imagined.  Harruq follows along, although he has doubts and even questions their violent deeds.

The book is full of action, yet Dalglish never allows it to overtake the story.  Story and characters are the most important to him when it comes to his writing, and that clearly shows.  Some people may be put off by the horrible deeds that the two Half-Orc brothers do, but you must understand that this is Book 1.  This is to show us what paths they may end up taking.  Everybody has to have a beginning, and they're not always pleasant beginnings.  The Half-Orc brothers, due to having a rough life and being treated horribly by others, are easily swayed to be weapons of destruction by anybody who has faith in them.  Plus, they believe that this is their nature--but will it always remain that way?  I cannot give that away.

It's an easy book to read, because Dalglish paints very vivid pictures without ever getting lost in the details.  Not once does the reader feel like he's lost or overwhelmed, or at least I certainly didn't.  I finished the book quickly and I look forward to reading the others in the series.

What would I rate this?  I think I'd have to give it 5 out of 5 stars.  It's brilliantly written--and again, he made me read a fantasy novel all the way through, and that's something I would've thought to be impossible.  That alone must count for something!

THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD (THE HALF-ORCS BOOK 1) is available on Amazon, and as of now it is only $0.89 for the Kindle.  I highly encourage you to check his work out.  Even if you're not into reading fantasy, you may surprise yourself.

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