Tuesday, 9 April 2013
Book Review: The Last Grand Master by Andrew Q. Gordon
by Andrew Q. Gordon
Book 1 of Champions of the Gods
Review copy from Netgalley
In a war that shook the earth, the Six gods of Nendor defeated their brother Neldin, god of evil. For the three thousand years since, Nendor and the Seven Kingdoms have known peace and prosperity.
But then a new wizard unleashes the power of Neldin. Meglar, wizard king of Zargon, uses dark magic to create an army of creatures to carry out his master's will.
One by one, the sovereign realms fall. Soon the only wizard who can stop Meglar is Grand Master Farrell, the Prince of Haven, the hidden home of refugees. An untried wizard, Farrell carries a secret that could hold the key to defeating Meglar—or it could destroy the world.
While helping Nerti, queen of the unicorns, Farrell saves Miceral, an immortal muchari warrior the Six have chosen to be Farrell's mate. But Farrell approaches love with caution, and before he can decide how to proceed, Meglar invades a neighboring kingdom. Farrell and Miceral find themselves in the middle of the battle. Farrell pushes himself to the limit as he and Miceral fight not only to stop Meglar but for their very survival.
This was a wonderful, romantic adventure tale. This is epic fantasy at its best. The reader is thrust straight into the action, as one of the first scenes is Farrell going to help at the request of the unicorns and during the battle he meets his mate, the one who the gods have chosen for him. Miceral is one of the Muchari, immortal warriors - I suppose something like elves, but there are no pointy ears here.
Farrell is surprised that Miceral is his mate, he is very insecure with anything other than magic and wonders what Miceral might see in him, a human wizard who does not have the build of a warrior or a warrior's skill. But it is his magic that saves the neighbouring kingdom and the life of his mate. Throughout the book, Miceral is always trying to build up his confidence whenever Farrell starts to doubt himself and Miceral's love for him.
The world building is great, with lots of details dotted here and there, without it becoming overwhelming and distracting from the story. I loved Miceral and Farrell but I was just a bit surprised how quickly they came to profess love for the other. Yes, the gods had ordained that these two were destined for one another, but it would have been nice to have a bit more tension before the two of them get together. There was a little bit at the beginning when Miceral's father, Horgon, objects that Farrell is unworthy of his son because he is human, but it seemed to get resolved very quickly. The main obstacle in their way is the fact that Meglar is getting bolder and Farrell is nowhere ready to face him yet. As the last grand master wizard, it is up to Farrell.
The love scenes are not very explicit, but you know what's going on and are in no doubt that the two of them are lovers and not just friends. It's more on the sweet side of romance rather than erotic. There are some secrets about Farrell's heritage, which I won't mention here in case of spoilers, but again, it seemed to be revealed too early. Later in the book would have been much better.
The writing flows well and the author sets the scenes with vivid descriptions that pull you into the book. There is magic, excitement, adventure, large-scale battles and characters so real you feel like talking to them, not to mention unicorns. Each character has their part to play, even though the book is told mostly from Farrell's point of view but you don't feel you have missed out on anything.
Despite my few niggles, I did enjoy the book very much and will be looking out for more in this series.
Reviewed by Annette Gisby
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