on July 8, 2013 :
Queen Lernea and her sister Parcifal have been exiled from their kingdom of Nimno by Lernea’s new husband. Winceham Higginsbottom Abbermouth III, a dwarf, steals their money. As they chase after him to get their money back, they come to a bar where pirates come to extort the shopkeepers and the bar keep. They try to keep the pirates from extorting the townspeople but it goes wrong in Vasileios Kalamavakas’ PARTY OF FIVE, book one of his PARTY OF FIVE series. The barkeep’s son wants revenge for the death of his father on the pirate captain, Culliper, and Lernea and Parcifal have pledged their help. Winceham is made to join them by Ned, the son. Along the way they pick up a woodkin elf, Theo, whose village has been destroyed by the pirates.
PARTY OF FIVE defies classification. There is a little bit of everything here. It has science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, paranormal, and pirates. It is unique and I am not sure how I feel about it. I like the quirkiness of it. There is humor in it, also a plus. The characters are interesting but I am still having trouble putting them all in their places. There are times when I felt that I was coming into the middle of a scene and knowing some backstory about the characters would have helped. Simpler names would have helped. I will not even try to pronounce Theo’s full name.
The plot is convoluted for a short work. It took me until the third section of the book to begin to determine what the plot was. The world building here is convoluted. I think Mr. Kalamvakas is trying to build his world on a need-to-know basis but it does not work. There seems to be no consistent rules in the first two sections. The world building does get better in the third section but it still needs work. Having some of the world building done and explained would have made the story easier to understand earlier in the book.
PARTY OF FIVE is the set up for this series. As the story went along it got better. I hope the rest of the series picks up from where PARTY OF FIVE leaves off and the confusion and convolutedness settle down. I can see a good series here once we understand this world, its characters, and what the ultimate goal for this band of five (not yet a merry band) is.
(review of free book)