on Feb. 28, 2014 :
[I received a free copy of this book as a gift from the author.]
Sorcerer's Duel picks up after the climactic battle at the end of Path to Vengeance. Grogaan and his team head for the Ladorran Republic to rest and put the pieces back together. While there, Grogaan's developing relationship with Ellarna deepens, and they both begin training in magic to become Guardians. Then the destiny which Grogaan has seen in dreams and visions and has dreaded begins to unfold around him.
This book was a lot of fun. It's space fantasy that owns its magic instead of trying to pass it off as pseudoscience. There are wizards good and evil, exciting space battles and shiny spaceships, interplanetary intrigue, and a good dose of romance. The first part dragged a bit; large sections, especially the diplomatic maneuvering after the evil Empire's latest moves and Grogann and Ellarna's magical training, are told in narrative summary. Which actually works pretty well for the training; I find long chunks of people just learning stuff to not be very interesting. But a few more specific scenes to show what they're learning and how would have spiced up that section a bit.
Before long, though, Grogaan's destiny starts to catch up with him, and that's when the pace picks up and it's non-stop to the end as Grogaan faces battles both external and internal, and Ellarna fights to save the man she loves. I really cared about what happened to the characters.
A fun read, and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Especially recommended for fans of Star Wars or fans of epic fantasy who want to read something in a non-traditional fantasy setting.
(reviewed 9 months after purchase)
on Feb. 24, 2013 :
After reading the first novel, ''Path To Vengeance'', i was very eager to read this to find out the fate of Grogaan and the other characters. i must say, i was not disappointed. From the start the book grips you and you can't help but continue reading as the fates of the characters unfold.
There is a great creativity behind the writing, with a natural blend of fantasy mingling with sci-fi, particularly the magic side of things, which really comes to the fore. As well as this, the characters themselves come into their own and you learn far more about them, their traits and personalities, which makes for a more engaging read.
What is noticeable though, is just how much W. H. Cann's writing has matured. His descriptions, his story-telling and the way the characters are perceived has improved, and he has set himself as an accomplished writer who you would think has written more than just two books.
I won't go too much into the story as i don't want to spoil it for anyone who has yet to read it, but there are many twists and turns with a fantastic ending, which thankfully, leaves it wide open for a sequel, and yet again, leaving the reader almost frustrated that the book has ended.
Bring on book three; 'A Guardian Reborn'.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Jamie Hall II
on July 6, 2012 :
Now i would just like to say that i loved the first novel but a few minor problems held it back from being a 5 star read.
My concerns were as follows;
“Some paragraphs and even some entire scenes simply aren’t necessary and it would really make the novel much easier to read if they were wiped out or drastically streamlined. Some points of the novel drag on needlessly and the slog of reading it threatened to halt my progress altogether.”
I am glad to say that Cann contacted me about said issues and took the ideas on board and has released a newer, much more streamlined version, that is a simple joy to read.
His second novel in the Guardian series has benefited from a more vicious edit and is a fast paced gem. But i get a little ahead of myself. Here’s the review.
“Having survived the Battle of Mabraant and with no system in the quadrant safe to settle on, Grogaan leads his friends on a new adventure deep into the heart of the neighbouring Ladorran Quadrant.
After being reunited with his soul-mate, Grogaan and Ellarna meet the famous Guardian Master Sorann Taggash. The Master confirms Grogaan’s adeptness in magic, and although Grogaan already knew Ellarna was also adept in magic, she was surprised when Sorann reveals the fact to her.
Grogaan and Ellarna under the supervision of Sorann, embark on a training programme to become Guardians. Grogaan’s skills develop swiftly but his emotional control due to past trauma and depression hinder his development. They take a short break to undertake a dangerous mission back to Mabraant, where Grogaan and Kopaz Squadron tempt fate to the limits, and deal another painful strike to the Empire.
During a visit to a neighbouring planet, Grogaan discovers a long forgotten underground installation that contains a sinister secret. It is this discovery, together with Grogaan’s powerful emotions, that sets off a chain reaction that has sinister, dire and tragic consequences. This impacts not only on the lives of Grogaan and many other individuals, but also on their progressing relationships, culminating in a spectacular duel between two powerful sorcerers.”
For me the previous novel always lacked that emotional punch which can really make a novel a standout classic. Thankfully this novel has a big suckerpunch of emotion concealed within its pages (or should i say the casing of my kindle?).
From the get go i found Grogann to be a much more engaging and loveable character than i ever did in Path to Vengeance. In the first novel i don’t think i would have cared if he’d have died but in Sorcerers Duel i wanted him to live and succeed and live to fight another day.
But its not just the characters which are better in the second outing, everything is damn well better. The writing is quicker and more fluid, the dialogue more realistic and flowing rather than stilted and forced affair that i struggled through in the first novel.
Suffice to say this novel is better in every aspect. The characters are more developed, better refined and more likeable. For me personally the story line was more fun, more action packed and with a much quicker sense of pace than the original. Cann himself seems more comfortable with the futuristic fantasy world he has created, from reading the novel i get the sense that the writing has come easier the second time around, that the characters are slightly clearer and the universe slightly more colourful in his mind.
From reading this novel and comparing it with the first one it is as though i am looking literary evolution in the face. I have witnessed not only the evolution of a fantasy world but also the evolution of the author behind it. Cann has come on leaps and bounds since the first novel and has created an almost flawless gem for all his trouble.
I don’t want to give anything away from this novel as i think you need to read and experience the gems of the Guardian series for yourself.
(reviewed the day of purchase)