TheAlternative

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Smashwords book reviews by TheAlternative

  • Clearwater Dawn on June 24, 2011

    Book Review - Exile’s Blade - Book One - Clearwater Dawn by Scott Fitzgerald Gray Exile’s Blade - Book One – Clearwater Dawn Scott Fitzgerald Gray Kindle Edition Publisher: Insane Angel Studios Publication Date: May 8, 2011 358 Pages (eBook version) ASIN: B005007GHA Due to review commitments I do not get to read as much fantasy as I used to, which is really a shame. As a matter of fact the last true “fantasy” review I did was over a year ago. But, thanks to Clearwater Dawn by Scott Fitzgerald Gray I know that I’ll be picking up more in the near future, especially since this is the first book in a planned series. I recall how much fun Raymond E. Feist’s Magician was the first time I read it. That true joy of finding a well-written, creative, and stirring piece of fantasy fiction is hard to replicate. I remember being spellbound by the depth of the characters, the unique and unusual use of magic, the truly original plot, and the new worlds fully created out of nothing more than the imaginations of the author and his audience. Clearwater Dawn had much the same effect on me and, in my opinion, is every bit as good as the stories of the Riftwar series. I cannot pay more of a compliment to Mr. Gray’s work than to compare it with that classic series. The Riftwar books remain one of my all time favorite fantasy series and one of the few that I’ve read more than once. The Exile’s Blade series will be my next. Clearwater Dawn falls into that category of near-classic fantasy simply waiting for an audience to find it. Indeed, it’s hard to believe that this book is self-published and selling for only .99 in the Kindle store at Amazon and the Nook store at B&N. The story is clearly written by someone well-versed in the world of fantasy creation and a search of Mr. Gray’s past achievements will confirm that he is a long time author of Dungeons & Dragons manuals, campaigns, and narratives. As luck would have it, that previous experience carries over nicely into this novel. The locations are elaborate but not verbosely so and the characters are both believable and down-to-earth (including the princess who should be haughty but isn’t.) There is murder, and court intrigue, and secrets, and quests, and magic, and secret doors, and arranged marriages, and war and all the things you’d expect to find in a first-class fantasy adventure. With that said, the story is, of course, not perfect and the minor clichéd plot of a noble fugitive is trope-worthy but all-in-all the story is written well enough for that insignificant point to go relatively unnoticed. If you’re anything like me the “what’s going to happen on the next page” factor will have you turning pages furiously and the various character relationships will keep you interested until the very end. This was an enjoyable read and I’m happy to say that I’d recommend it to any and all fantasy fans (no matter age, fealty, or coat-of-arms.) 4 out of 5 stars The Alternative Southeast Wisconsin