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on Sep. 07, 2012 :
Robert Day, the author, seems like your average D&D player or computer role-playing game enthusiast, who actually took time to write down bits and pieces of his favorite books and games and make a story out of them. There is absolutely nothing in his whole novel that is new or even noteworthy, but he tells the familiar in a very charming way and the pages just fly by at breakneck speed. I read the whole book in two evenings, after work. The main character is extremely likable and he meets many new characters along the way, keeping both companions and enemies fresh. He spends just enough time with each, to make you feel like you know who they are, and what motivates them. This is important in keeping up interest. I'll happily purchase the next book and be ready for another wild ride.
(review of free book)
on Nov. 21, 2011 :
I always get a bit nervous when I read high fantasy novels as I’m a real fan of snappy, fast-paced stories and relevant, relatable characters. I always get worried that I’m going to commit the reading sin of all reading sins and start skipping pages to get to actual plot. With Demon Gates, however, I have sighed a huge sigh of relief.
Demon Gates took me back to the moment when I first opened The Fellowship of the Rings. It was a moment when I first grasped how thick the book was, how tiny the type was and how wafer thin the pages were and I sank in despair wondering if this was a book I would ever finish. But when I think back to when I read The Lord of the Rings, I realise that that is exactly what high fantasy is all about. It’s not about quick reads, the author has designed a whole new world for you to explore, the joy of reading comes from the epic nature of a high fantasy, that’s why the fantasy section of the bookshop is filled with fat books. And that is what I have re-learnt from reading Demon Gates.
The story has been constructed so well by Robert Day, balancing both the personal journey of young Valdieron and the overarching epic storyline of the impending escape of the demons on the world. I think Robert has found just the right mix to keep the plot both grounded and fantastical. Valdieron has been a real pleasure to travel with and the time spent on his character over the pages has fleshed him out into someone I’m really quite fond of now. The author’s skill really shows through by the end of the book where you feel both that you have been on an epic journey of adventure and discovery but at the same time you are certain that you ain’t seen nothing yet! There’s a tangible sense that the story has only just begun, that Valdieron has succeeded only in the easiest of his tests.
Possibly one of the greatest assets of Demon Gates is the fight scenes. I love a bit of swashbuckling action and this book is filled with it. The descriptions are so vivid, you’ll be standing there right amongst the action, ducking at the opportune moment. What is really clever is the way Robert Day has written Valdieron’s battle training into his sleep, eradicating the need to spend endless pages on his training rather than getting on with the story. At the same time, Valdieron’s skills do not develop overnight, as it were, his development unfolds across the whole story, keeping it realistic and keeping him human (if indeed that is what he is… Bit of a hint there!).
I really enjoyed Demon Gates, definitely one of my favourite high fantasy stories. It’s clean, it’s not confusing, it’s personal as well as epic, it’s definitely suitable for older teens as it’s not overly graphic and most importantly it’s a really engaging story that has been really well crafted. A definite recommendation whether you are into high fantasy or not, it’s an accessible and enjoyable venture into the genre.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on March 27, 2011 :
Demon Gates is a story about a meek young son of a horse breeder who is suddenly thrust into a series of events that could easily shape the future of the world he lives in.
The premise is the evil demons that once have ravaged the world have been locked away into the Void. Ancient Loremasters managed to lock them in their prison, with formidable seals preventing the Portals from becoming active. However, the seals are failing, and the demons have once again entered into the world to wreak havoc.
Not being a big fan of darker fantasy, or demons for that matter , I was very pleasantly surprised to find myself swept away in a story which was very expertly told, deftly weaving several storylines together with a skill that I truly envy. The author has created an extensive world with believable characters, nasty creatures, and picturesque locales.
For once, I don’t have to wait a bit for the next book in the series to be released. I know book two, Ashar’an Rising, has been released. I’ve already purchased it, and it’s now sitting on my iPod, ready to go!
This book is a tremendous read, at a very reasonable price. I encourage everyone who loves fantasy to give it a try! Robert, you’re a helluva writer!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on March 01, 2011 :
Demon Gates primarily follows young Valderion the son of a simple farmer and horse breeder. Vald lives a simple life helping on his family farm and occasionally going into town to meet up with his friends. When tragedy strikes his small town he is given a token from his long dead mother and has to make his own way in the world. In the beginning he learns that this token is much more than it appears and can help him achieve a destiny that he would never have been able to conceive. At the same time that all this is happening the seals that shut portals to a demonic realm begin to weaken and break. Demons are beginning to invade the world and plan on wiping it out as vengeance for being sealed away thousands of years ago.
I will say that the book really did not have me struggling to put it down until about a third of the way through. Up until then it was a good story and I was enjoying it, but at some point it became extremely difficult for me to stop reading to get anything done. The introduction of some new characters along the way really help to advance the story and help Vald achieve more of his potential. My personal favorite had to be Llewellyn an elven bard of some renown and an overall nice guy. These two form a strong friendship and a close bond. If I say anymore I will begin to give spoilers and I would like to avoid that.
The end of the first novel wraps up very well, but not much has been done about the demon problem or the quest that Vald has embarked upon. The second book promises to be filled with a lot of action and enjoyment. The fighting scenes are written in a way that reminds me of R. A. Salvatore with the detail and complexity of the melee battles. For .99 the first book is a must and if you enjoy it like I did I'm sure you will find yourself getting the second as well.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Jan. 17, 2011 :
Demon Gates follows the tried and tested formula of the good verses evil story line involving magic and leading towards a great confrontation or battle. From my experience, a first novel in a trilogy serves a number of purposes: setting the scene, creating the story line and establishing all the historical background necessary to create context, introducing all the main characters and putting some "meat on their bones". It should provide the reader with a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction at having completed a novel, but, at the same time, leaving them with an anticipation of what's to come in the next novel in the series. Most importantly the reader, although knowing it is fantasy, should find the story believable.
Demon Gates is a light read with a basic story line although it did come across as a bit too contrived. All the elements seemed to be there. The context was set and the battle lines are well on the way to being drawn up. I would have liked to have seen the main character, Valdieron developed further. We know he is the hero of the story but I had trouble connecting to him. I would also liked to have seen more real character development in some of the supporting players in the story. Although this first novel is a self-contained story it didn't leave me in anticipation of the next novel in the trilogy.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Oct. 24, 2010 :
This book is the first of a series. It starts out exciting, with demons sealed away a long time ago suddenly breaking free, and Valderion forced to start an adventure after his family and friends are killed; during his journey he learns how to use a sword and gets into a lot of fights with trolls, robbers, and so on.
The story loses a bit of its pace in the second half, since Valderion gets involved in a tournament in the capital, which drags on for far too long; the only demonic activity being one demon participating in the tournament in disguise.
At the end of the book, the demon invasion has not even really started yet; out of several sealed gates so far only one seal actually broke. With the other seals breaking as well, I should expect more mayhem of demonic origin in the next book... :)
(reviewed within a week of purchase)