by Brian Lee Durfee
Series: Five Warrior Angels #1
Published on August 30, 2016 by Saga Press
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
A massive army on the brink of conquest looms large in a world where prophecies are lies, magic is believed in but never seen, and hope is where you least expect to find it.
Welcome to the Five Isles, where war has come in the name of the invading army of Sør Sevier, a merciless host driven by the prophetic fervor of the Angel Prince, Aeros, toward the last unconquered kingdom of Gul Kana. Yet Gault, one of the elite Knights Archaic of Sør Sevier, is growing disillusioned by the crusade he is at the vanguard of just as it embarks on his Lord Aeros’ greatest triumph.
While the eldest son of the fallen king of Gul Kana now reigns in ever increasing paranoid isolationism, his two sisters seek their own paths. Jondralyn, the older sister, renowned for her beauty, only desires to prove her worth as a warrior, while Tala, the younger sister, has uncovered a secret that may not only destroy her family but the entire kingdom. Then there's Hawkwood, the assassin sent to kill Jondralyn who has instead fallen in love with her and trains her in his deadly art. All are led further into dangerous conspiracies within the court.
And hidden at the edge of Gul Kana is Nail, the orphan taken by the enigmatic Shawcroft to the remote whaling village of Gallows Haven, a young man who may hold the link to the salvation of the entire Five Isles.
You may think you know this story, but everyone is not who they seem, nor do they fit the roles you expect. Durfee has created an epic fantasy full of hope in a world based on lies.
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Fans of the traditional epic fantasy akin to Tolkien and George R.R. Martin, fear not! I have a new book for you. The Forgetting Moon is exactly the kind of sweeping fantasy that we all know and love and this book is a monster (like it’s REALLY long) so plenty to keep you busy.
I think what I loved most about this book is that it takes all those fantasy tropes that we love to hate (or maybe you love them, I don’t know) and throws them all in together to create exactly what you would expect if you wrote a “traditional” fantasy. And I say that not as a critique so much as that is what this book is. I wouldn’t say the story is overly unique, nor the characters, but for fans of the genre, you’ll be in literary heaven.
Now the writing is what caught me up while reading and made this one slow moving and tough to get through at times. The descriptions got out of hand on the Tolkien level, where every other blade of grass is described. Obviously not at that level but you get the idea. It bogged the story down and made it tough going, especially through the middle part of the book. The pacing was a bit all over the place. I could have done with less detail.
Honestly, if this book hadn’t been so wordy and unnecessarily so at times, I think it would have been a much more enjoyable read. While the descriptions were certainly vivid, there were far too many unneeded ones for me.
The characters ranged on a scale from “I hate them” to “I like them” and it was all over the place. None of them stood out from the rest in one way or another, though, and I felt that only a handful were developed beyond a easily applicable blanket description. They do alternate viewpoints similar to books like A Game of Thrones so if that’s something you enjoy (or don’t), this is a great example.
Now I think Durfee wanted to make this a really thought-provoking book with all the intrigue and the morality of the characters (or lack thereof) but instead I saw extremes in the stories and actions. This story is definitely on the darker side of things.
As a whole, The Forgetting Moon really didn’t stand out as an epic fantasy but I can see the potential for it to move past the standards of the genre in future installments. Whether I’ll tackle those or not remains to be seen. This one was slow going and the ending didn’t leave me eager for more, but there’s something there.