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on Feb. 14, 2013 :
A Trickster Eric Novels review
"Adventure Hunters" is a low fantasy with a trio of heroes doing their own thing but get caught up in a big plot. It's not original by any means so I like it all the more. After reading the first arc I thought of it as mashed potatoes; warm and filling and tasty.
The plot follows a king finding an Artifact of Doom and is driven to acquire the means to activate it and gain the power to defeat his opponent in a war. Like I said, not original but it's well written and there are a few unusual points. The first of which is that the king in question is not a megalomaniac with global conquest in mind; instead he's good king in a desperate situation. His methods and actions brand him as nothing more than a mild anti-villain. Second, the reason for his actions is a border dispute over a trading post that escalated into a full blown war. Something like this has happened before in real life and compared to larger-than-life threats in fantasy (and other genres) it is low key. I like this because I can take the plot more seriously when the villain is a genuine character instead of a personified threat. The small scope also keeps the story focused and streamlined. Finally, the conflict is resolved by the end. There are no loose ends but plenty of room for follow up adventures. It left me satisfied and yet also wanting a sequel; like eating a delicious something makes you want to eat more of that something.
The main cast is a classic fighter/mage/thief trio. They're introduced searching for treasure in an old ruin and it read like something out of a D&D novel. It was fun, exciting, and a great method of character development because it showed their characteristics in action instead of telling about them. The next scene deconstructs the adventurer lifestyle by showing how they go about making a living and continues the development by showing what they do in their downtime. They gained additional facets by being mild anti heroes. Regina, for instance, is the black sheep of Info Mages because she looks for artifacts in old ruins (i.e. 'tomb robbing') instead of teaching or preserving documents like the rest.
I like the setting. I really do. On one hand it's a magical fantasy world with mages and gargoyles but on the other hand it operates like a mundane world: kings squabble, common people work for a living, and at the end of the day you go to a tavern to drink with your friends. I find the world building fascinating; there's a self-governing body of mages called the 'dieta of mages' that polices magic users and provides advisers to kings that are autonomous from that king. There's also fictional history which fills in details and reminds the reader that more is going on in this fictional world than what happens to the main characters.
The only flaw I can see in this novel is the prose. It can be awkward at times and require rereading which breaks the reader's immersion in the world. I would say three or so patches are bad and the rest are isolated. They are the only thing holding this book back from a perfect score.
Trickster Eric Novels gives "Adventure Hunters" an A
(reviewed the day of purchase)