Sad news, all. After this review, I’m not doing reviews every week. I’ve got to redirect all my time to The Kingdom: The Quest; it’s finally taking the shape I want, but there’s ways to go before it is worthy of you, my faithful readers. So from here my focus is there. However, if you’re an indie writer who would like me to read something, I’d be only too glad if I have time. I’ll take any genre except erotica.
I’ve been looking forward to this review. I first heard about James Tallett, like many other wonderful writers, on Twitter. With a username like @thefourpartland I had to have a look at his stuff. His website is fascinating.
I had the chance at last to sit down with the first book set in his fantasy world. I’m happy to report that Tallett brings this fantasy world to life with a scope and detail that, put simply, blows me away.
The nations of this world all sound like places that could actually exist. Despite names like Bhreac Veryan and Tor Hauwcerton, their industries and governments and atmosphere are described so well, it makes me wonder if Tallett visited them himself, and didn’t just imagine them in his head.
There’s a delicious and ambitious conflict brewing between these nations. It echoes our own history so well that it’s scary. There’s strong element of sorcery involved there (and if I tell you any details I’ll spoil too much). I didn’t agree with the magic, personally. The rivalries of the countries are compelling enough. They didn’t need any dark hints of supernatural forces.
But this is the first part of the series. Let us see where Tallett takes that part of the story. Considering the ending of Tarranau, promising a wild quest, I’m excited to see that. In the meantime, let us look at some things that need work before that next part comes out.
Fascinating as Tallett’s world is, I had to be patient at times getting through the story. At times, very patient. Tallett throws so much detail on page that the pacing suffers greatly. He has a tendency to identify his character’s motivations or personalities, instead of showing them. He then proceeds to repeat them several times.
That political tension I was talking about doesn’t start until about halfway through the book. The first half is Tarranau fleeing his home and learning to be a good mage. There are several passages of him going through different days; eating, sleeping and waking up. They add nothing to the story.
Tallet’s writing style could also use some cleaning up. His dialogue is clumsy; he uses too many words, though you can tell he has a sense of rhythm. Instead of using a few well-chosen phrases to depict things, he will go on for a whole paragraph. The paragraphs are huge and intimidating; he should have made them shorter. His action scenes are told “play-by-play”. Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t depict an action scene.
This is all a pity, because the second half of this book has exicting things. Tarranau gets mistaken for a spy, and goes on the run with a man who saved his life. There’s bandits. There’s magic. There’s deserts. It’s a thrill, despite the clunky writing.
I don’t see how it ties with the first half. Tarranau is looking for work, but this doesn’t seem to be adequate for some reason. I can’t put my finger on it. There’s not enough urgency there. Maybe it’s a personal thing. I didn’t have much time to read this, so I may have missed something. I apologize deeply if I have.
What I am sure on, however, is that I will be keeping an eye on the Four Part Land Series. Tallett doesn’t get everything right, but I see potential in him. Tarranau is a diamond in the rough. See for yourself at Amazon, Kindle Store, Smashwords, or Tallett’s official site.