Title / Stranger of Tempest
Author / Tom Lloyd
Publication Date / 2001 (first published)
Standalone or series? / Book 1 of the God’s Fragment series
Star Rating / ★★
Goodreads synopsis: Lynx is a mercenary with a sense of honour; a dying breed in the Shattered Kingdom. Failed by the nation he served and weary of the skirmishes that plague the continent’s principalities, he walks the land in search of purpose. He wants for little so bodyguard work keeps his belly full and his mage-gun loaded. It might never bring a man fame or wealth, but he’s not forced to rely on others or kill without cause. Little could compel Lynx to join a mercenary company, but he won’t turn his back on a kidnapped girl. At least the job seems simple enough; the mercenaries less stupid and vicious than most he’s met over the years. So long as there are no surprises or hidden agendas along the way, it should work out fine.
You guys are probably aware by now that I am always up for trying new fantasy books and this one sounded like something I’d enjoy. Unfortunately this was very much a case of it’s not you it’s me, if that makes sense. This was just one of those books that didn’t work for me. It definitely has potential to be a good fantasy series though but I personally had a few small complaints and one bigger complaint. Let’s start with the smaller ones. I wasn’t invested in the characters at all and felt that they lacked a little depth. Having said that, they were still well written. I think Lynx was the most well rounded character but I didn’t feel like I understood him. I couldn’t get a grasp on his motives or his personality, which makes it a little tricky to become invested. The other characters lacked depth and I didn’t really care about any of them. Maybe we’ll get more background in later books. As I say though this is only a minor issue – it didn’t detract too much from my overall reading experience. The other small complaint was the pacing, although this really goes together with my main issue. To me the pacing was off and so didn’t help me become invested in the book, if that makes sense. My main complaint was the plot. It just felt very aimless to me. Basically this is your standard mercenary group plot with quite a bit of walking through tunnels in the middle of the book. I read this book over a couple of weeks because I had very little motivation to read it – the plot hadn’t drawn me in. I’ve said before in previous reviews that I don’t mind slower plots but this felt like it was going nowhere. It dragged quite a bit and I will admit to skim reading a few small sections. The fact that I couldn’t get a grasp on characters motives didn’t help me understand what was going on. I also think the second half let the book down overall. Something else that was missing for me was the atmosphere. There was very little to no suspense. This lack of atmosphere also contributed to me not becoming immersed in this book as I never had a true sense of extreme danger. Maybe I missed something, I don’t know. The narrative switches between now and then, which I wasn’t a huge fan of but I didn’t find it too jarring. I think because it wasn’t constantly changing between the two. On a more positive note, I thought it was well written, although it is overly descriptive so if that is not your thing than I would probably avoid this book. I think the dialogue was a bit mixed at times. Sometimes it was quite well done, other times a little fumbled. I can say that the world building was pretty good and there were some good action scenes too. The last thing I’ll mention is that this felt more like a standalone book than a first book in a series. By the end of this book things were wrapped up quite nicely and so I didn’t feel like there was a bigger picture or underlying threat to explore in the next book – maybe I just missed something. I don’t want to put anyone off trying this book though, as there are many great reviews of it on Goodreads.
Overall this book had a lot of potential and I think a lot of people will enjoy it, unfortunately I wasn’t one of them. I am not going to enjoy every book I read, so I would still recommend checking this out if the synopsis sounds appealing to you, as I think this was a good book. Although I didn’t love it I still think this was a good introduction to this series. I won’t be continuing on with this series though. Have you read this book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.