on March 28, 2016 :
There's a funny story about me and this book. I stumbled upon it once on Smashwords and dismissed it. Then I stumbled upon it again on Wattpad, and this time decided to give it a change. (How ironic for a story about fate.) And you know what? I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. Here's a fantasy novel steeped in real history -- taking place in a mythical Scandinavia -- that nevertheless emphasizes the fantastic element. A harsh world where people nevertheless have empathy, weeping for the dead even though life is cheap, and many villains still have honor. A low fantasy story that still features more magic -- full of wonder and variety -- in the first book alone than the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. A book set in the Dark Ages that somehow manages to be deeply feminist. Last but not least, a book about coming of age, friendship, loyalty and belonging, that can appeal to young adult and mature readers alike. I'd dock a star for the cliffhanger ending, but it doesn't hurt the book that much after all, and it's just two more books to buy, so all is fine. Highly recommended.
(review of free book)
on June 18, 2014 :
Shardfall was an unexpected surprise. This book is the definition of a real fantasy read, I felt as if I'd stepped into a completely different world as I read through the pages. I was really impressed with the plot, the characters are unique, as are their names. The book really centers around Muus, but there are plenty of secondary characters that leaves the door wide open for follow up books. I thought the size of the book was perfect for a fantasy read, too. Shardfall is an excellent addition to any fantasy lover's bookshelf.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on April 23, 2014 :
When a strange stone seems to fall from the sky and lands at the top of the Silfjall mountain near Eidungruve Hold, it sets a string of events in motion that could change lives forever.
Muus is a thrall, a lowly companion to Prince Kjelle. Captured and brought to live with the Nords as a boy, he has a past he cannot remember and so must deal with the fate life has dealt him. But fate has more in store for him than he realizes.
When the prince is called by his father to investigate the matter of the strange stone at the top of the mountain, he has Muus come with him. When they arrive at the sight of the landing, Muus' courage in the face of the unknown causes him to pick up the stone, causing the stone to choose him for a destiny that will take him back to his home. His true home. The home he was taken from and now barely remembers. Throughout his journey, he is going to learn more about himself, the legend of this stone he now holds, and the magic buried deep within.
I quite enjoyed this book. Fantasy is a genre that I absolutely believe can take your breath away, if done right. This book had very vivid scenes, and I love the storyline. It seemed a quick read to me once I got about a chapter or so in, and I couldn't put it down. Will absolutely read the second book to this series, and also am anxiously awaiting the release of the third book.
Wonderful start to this series.
(reviewed 7 months after purchase)
on Oct. 21, 2013 :
I'm a lover of both fantasy (all types) and anything that dives into mythology (all types but I love Norse mythology more). If you follow my reviews, you know this, but I always like stating it upfront, so readers know where I'm coming from ;)
This is a multi-pov novel introducing us to the key players within the series itself. The first is always the toughest, but if you love learning in-depth about the characters, it makes perfect sense to read fantasy in this point-of-view. I personally loved getting intimate with each character, and gaining a better understanding of them and the world itself through their eyes. Back in those times, with the class systems and slaves, life wasn't easy no matter what side you were on.
When they collide you really get the sense of that as they struggle along their journey together. Yet at the same time, you never grow bored, as the story keep moving and unfolding. Most times I want to became enthralled with the characters inner battles more than the story itself. This was one of those reads for me because I saw how they all ticked under their skins.
The plot didn't start off slow, which is typical for fantasy, because you're building a world in addition to your characters. This is especially true with magic and magical artifacts, but I found the pacing perfectly executed.
What I loved the most was the blending of fantasy with the historical vikings. Have I mentioned how much I love vikings and historical fantasy?
What I didn't like? Well I'm not a huge fan of cliff hangers, but they're necessary and I never fault (in the star rating) an author for using them. The names, some of them I found hard to pronounce. I understand with the historical setting why the author chose the names, but a pronunciation guide would be awesome too. Granted, I have a tough time with names in general, so maybe its just me.
Recommendations: Fantasy lovers, mythology lovers, adults, and mature YA readers will enjoy Shardfall. I certainly look forward to reading the next installment in the Saga.
I received a copy in exchange for my review, but as always, opinions are my own.
(reviewed 45 days after purchase)
on Oct. 7, 2013 :
Shardfall is the first book in The Shardheld Saga. Sometimes with a first book the kinks are still getting worked out, but I didn’t find that problem at all with Shardfall. I was interested immediately, and I thought the book was very well written. The characters are engaging, the scenery explained well, and the plot exciting.
The book centers around four main characters, with plenty of secondary characters throughout. I was invested in each of these characters and how everything would turn out for them. I enjoyed Muus in all of his strength. I started out disliking Kjelle, but I loved the growth he went through in this book. Birthe is a bit in your face, which I really enjoyed. Tuuri is a character that I assume we’ll learn more about later. He is the only character that I didn’t completely connect with, but that may be because I was so distracted by Muus, Kjelle, and Birthe’s adventure. There were also many secondary characters that I loved, especially Hraab.
I have read some fantasy books, and while they all tend to center around some type of journey, I found Shardfall to possess plenty of aspects that made it very original. I enjoyed getting to know all the characters and following along on their adventure. I loved the magic, the gods, and the interesting glimpse into the society’s hierarchy. I think that lovers of fantasy will enjoy reading this book. I can’t wait to read the next one.
I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
(reviewed 31 days after purchase)
on July 31, 2013 :
This is the Author’s debut novel, and the first in The Shardheld Sage series.
The saga is set back in history during the time of the Norsemen, and is very well researched. As the reader progresses through the pages they receive a glimpse of life as it was, not only for the Norsemen themselves, but also for the poor souls they captured and used as slaves. But don’t think that this is just a historical novel, as it’s not; it is so much more than that.
As this is the first in the series, the character development takes it time and no one character takes the foreground as being the main lead throughout this book. Each comes into focus, and then drops back for a while to give the other a chance at the limelight. I felt this worked well as it served as a ‘hook’ into the rest of the series. It made me feel as if I want to read the rest of the saga to find out where the development of the characters would lead, and who would come out on top. The part of the chattel, and again I can’t go into too much detail without revealing spoilers, is written beautifully and you can feel the anger and resentment that this person has for their master as well as others he interacts with who try to show some kindness. His bitterness, and also loss of self, engulf his every moment in this novel and, I was sure when I started reading that he would be the main lead. His master also features strongly in this first book, and is not the stereotypical Norse Man of history. He is weak, self-centred and, I have to say this, a downright coward; the kind of person who you just want to shake. However, the Author explains the reasoning why he is like this, rather than leaving us guessing and hoping it would all be explained in later books. This makes me want to read on and see will his character develop to become the type of Viking his Father can be proud of, or will he return to his habits of old.
The world inhabited by these characters is well written and descriptive; you can feel the cold of the biting wind and hearing it howling when it blows and your arms ache from the everyday tasks to keep the town alive. It’s not only a well written book from the visually descriptive angle, it also assaults your nostrils as well, which is not an easy thing to do when placing words on paper but, the Author manages to do this without effort and it adds to the well created medieval fantasy this book is.
My only criticism about this book was there were some sloppy grammatical errors that a diligent proof-reader should have picked up on, if not a good editor. Although they did not detract from the plot in any way, the repetition of some words back to back (the the, for example) eventually became irritating, and is the reasoning behind my rating this book as I have. Having said this, I would like to read the remaining books in the saga, as they are published, just to satisfy my curiosity as to how things will pan out.
I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a quick and enjoyable read, as it’s only 142 pages in length, but it will also appeal to lovers of the sci-fi and fantasy genres, plus readers looking for something a little different in the Norse and Viking arena.
Originally reviewed on: http://catesbooknuthut.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/review-shardfall-paul-e-horsman/
(reviewed 45 days after purchase)