'CHASING SORCERY' IS WITHOUT DOUBT, THE BEST EPIC FANTASY BOOK PUBLISHED IN YEARS!!
If you even slightly consider yourself a fan of fantasy - or if you just enjoyed 'Game of Thrones' - you'll LOVE this.
Just when I'd got thoroughly fed up with writers telling the same old 'boy comes of age and saves the world' type stuff, or writing stories over endless numbers of books that never seem to end, finding 'Chasing Sorcery' was a welcome breath of fresh air!
It's got a dynamic, fresh approach to the epic fantasy genre with a varied and interesting ensemble cast of central characters - of all ages. LJ Hutton has effectively combined the best features of other fantasy writers such as; the political intrigue of GRR Martin; the creation of a world with its own history, language and philosophy of Tolkien's Middle Earth; the immediacy of pace and action of Brent Weeks; and the warmth, humour and depth of characters of Robin Hobb and Terry Goodkind.
It's so refreshing to meet unique characters, who you can really give a damn about, and who don't always know what to do next. There's some seriously tasty muscle (Maelbright - yum), strong female leads (go Matti), as well as a nice balance of reluctant or naive heros and heroines (I can't wait to see how Ivain turns out!). The baddies are seriously creepy - I defy anyone to drive in fog calmly after reading about the Farlaith, and it's great that as a reader we get to find out the Abend's plans too - plus the moment with Tancostyl and the goat is very funny! I found it unusual to have openly gay characters within a fantasy novel, but it's very much a case of some characters being gay, rather than a book about gay characters. Even the secondary characters are well drawn, but they don't become so numerous as to become impossible to keep track of - something that other writers fail to appreciate!
The action is exciting, and there are a range of unusual situations that the characters find themselves in, and 'set piece' moments that are certainly made the most of. I really liked the riddle and mystery aspects included within the ancient manuscripts. I found the world of the six Islands complex without being overwhelming, and the balance and jumps between the different story threads compelling. I'm so glad to see that it's already set as a quartet, the plot has moved forward to an appropriate place for this structure - I can't wait to start Book 2!
It's what good fantasy is all about - excellent characters, a realistic world and brisk action, with a generous and original dose of magic thrown in.
A brilliant new series!
‘The Darkening Storm’ delivers on the promise of ‘Chasing Sorcery’ and then some!
The action is more exciting and with higher stakes; the
plots have thickened nicely and there are plans and counter
plans leading to excellent trickery and deception. As both
Islanders and their enemies the Abend begin to search for
the Treasures an intriguing, page turning and imaginative
Indiana Jones’ style treasure hunt ensues with fantastic and
Things don’t always go to plan for our heroes or indeed their enemies and this makes for a gripping read, with LJ Hutton’s plotting you really do have to expect the unexpected. A stunning range of situations, difficulties, geography and emotion is on display.
There is a wonderful moment with some thyme of all things that is innovative and introduces a new level of magic and
mythology into the series; one that fits seamlessly into
the world as we know it, involving many of the different
character threads and adding some fun as well as mystery.
All the diverse cast of Book 1 are back and they form some
interesting new groupings, which, combined with new
challenges ensures they continue to develop as characters;
especially Jacinto and Ivain. One of the most compelling
features of L.J. Hutton’s writing is the inclusion of the
viewpoint and plans of the enemy. This continues and is
expanded - we meet the exceedingly powerful, highly strung,
nymphomaniac, competitive and ambitious beings that are the four Abend witches.
Revelations come thick and fast throughout and have
implications relevant to characters across the Islands
effectively keeping the reader aware of the whole picture
as each chapter moves a group of characters forward. We
are given clues to how, as well as by whom, the amazing
treasures will be wielded in future battles and this is just one example of how L. J. Hutton assures the reader that this is a series well under control.
All too often the second instalment in a series can be a
disappointment – not so with ‘The Darkening Storm’.
This master storyteller has written a worthy sequel that will leave you both well satisfied at this the half-way point of the quartet … and, like me, eagerly awaiting Book 3.
WOW, Book 3 of this series certainly doesn't disappoint!
In 'Summoning Spectres' the story moves on at a cracking pace, with revelations and action a plenty.
The full cast are back and what's really excellent is that it's clear that they have grown as a result of what has happened to them so far, such is the skill with which L. J. Hutton has drawn this wonderful mix of characters that as they complete some magnificent new feats in this installment they remain fully believable. I wept for Sithfrey and cheered out loud for Swein! Oh, and Ivain really is turning out rather nicely.
Also developed are the connections between the Treasures, the characters that will wield them and newly discovered Ancients who will support them, showing that this is obviously a carefully planned and crafted aspect of the multi-layered magic we have been so expertly and gradually introduced to in the books.
More of the Islands world is explored as some of the Islanders travel further afield as well as much deeper into enemy territory. The 'real' world created in this series continues to be a delight, and covers vast contrasts of scene. This is clearly a writer able to master the vast as well as the minute details in a created world.
The Abend have also developed and grown (even more deranged in some cases) and this adds extra peril and pressure for our heroes. This is one of many factors which ensure that this 3rd book is a brilliant read in it's own right, not just a place holder for the finale. We are left with a real sense of excitement and apprehension ... perfect!
Come on Book 4!!!
WHAT A FANTASTIC FINISH - UTTERLY BRILLIANT!!!
Just when you thought the stakes couldn't get any higher or the action more exciting, in 'Unleashing the Power' L.J.Hutton proves you wrong.
This is a superb final installment, with a deeply, deeply satisfying ending.
Communication difficulties, previously a huge hurdle for the Islanders in working together to overcome the Abend, are very cleverly overcome and this serves to crank the momentum up massively. It's then an action packed roller-coaster to the incredible final battle.
Even with the action taking such a front seat in this last book, the cast remain superbly written throughout and there are several wonderful intimate scenes between them as personal issues raised earlier in the series, even from the very beginning of Book 1, are resolved. L.J.Hutton is equally adept at controlling an epic battle (as the various troops gathered I had goosebumps!) and a tender, romantic moment between two emotionally vulnerable characters.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the events as they came to a climax, and in keeping with the reality of this Islands quartet, the war isn't won without a cost. But there is a loop here for more from the Abend, and this is a world I'd love to come back to. I will miss these wonderful characters as if they were my friends.
More please L.J.Hutton!
‘Menaced By Magic’ starts what promises to be another brilliant fantasy series.
Fans of the amazing Islands Quartet (starting with Chasing Sorcery) will already be familiar with how LJ Hutton effectively combines the best features of other fantasy writers. In this first instalment the same high standards are on display; the political intrigue of GRR Martin; the creation of a world with its own history, language and philosophy of Tolkien's Middle Earth; the immediacy of pace and action of Brent Weeks; and the warmth, humour and depth of characters like those created by Robin Hobb and Terry Goodkind.
However, there is no need to have read any of LJ Hutton’s other books at all to fully enjoy ‘Menaced By Magic’.
The action takes place in a world in turmoil, from a chilling opening we are then thrown into the chaos taking place in the Duchy of Palma, where the line of succession is in dire straights and the commanders there are dealing with a missing heir, an assassin on the loose, a peace conference that is anything but and a mad leader - not to mention murderous winds, a drowned city and moving statues!
Into this mix comes Mark, and LJ Hutton cleverly handles how he balances using his knowledge and skills from our modern world in the new world of the Duchy. Mark is a real hero you can get behind and root for, plus he can handle a gryphon or two rather well too!
There are lots of exciting action sequences (with phenomenal strategic thinking), some hilariously funny as well as extremely touching moments; you’ll want to laugh, cry and cheer as Mark sets about trying to help his new friends and outwit the mysterious and seriously creepy enemies.
Roll on the next installment!