Series: The Ageless Duel #1
Publisher: Self Published (September 9, 2015)
Length: 332 pages
My Rating: 3 stars
I’m one of those readers who loves being wept away in a story from the opening page. Overwhelm me with names and places, immerse me with mysterious people, challenge me to decipher it all while on the run, because that is what makes a story interesting to me. And in the opening salvo of Luke Taylor’s The Ageless Duel series, I got all that and more.
In the Scottish/Gaelic inspired The Muiread, a reader is transported to magical lands torn apart by war. The narrative flowing around the mission of a mysterious warrior and his beautiful companion. Their journey taking place across a captivating panorama of beautifully described lands. Danger surrounding our heroes on all sides. Unknowns lurk everywhere. Questions demand answering. And all the while the world itself is ripping apart under the seemingly undeniable tide of darkness unleashed by The Ageless Evil!
Even with such an epic fantasy storyline, what is on center stage in this book is the vivid, poetic writing style of Mr. Taylor. His lyrical prose painting a multi-layered world, filled with crisp and detailed persons, places, and even dialects. Definitely, you can tell it is inspired by Scottish/Gaelic folklore, but the author weaves in enough unique, magical elements to make it his own creation. Each character real as only people can be, living through the growing horrors of the world in their own individual way. Every desert and forest, city and countryside filled with realistic life. The complexity of this place growing and intensifying with each scene, each chapter, until it is a fully realized world.
Such a writing style does come with a trade-off however. The intricate, picturesque descriptions slowing the pace of the story down considerably in sections. Epic events still transpire; brutal conflicts still take place; but they are slow moving affairs, where the details do get in the way somewhat. Which isn’t necessarily a negative here. Especially since I felt Mr. Taylor intended to write a classically styled novel, one which challenged reader’s attention spans, encouraged them to patiently absorb the ambience, to come to live in this place, not merely pop in for a few hours of entertainment.
The only real criticism I personally have with the narrative is the tendency to “tell” rather than “show” a bit too often. Obviously, many of the details of world history and the characters’s pasts have to be fleshed out somehow, and this does explain many of the sections where info dumps did occur, but it doesn’t excuse them all. And if those sections were tightened up, stripped down, and reworked somehow, I believe this novel would be an even more lyrical read.
Rich with intriguing history, vivid characters, and written in a hauntingly, poetic style, The Muiread is a promising beginning to The Ageless Duel series. With both romantic and tragic themes, this novel has an air of poignancy, which the elaborate, lyrical writing only heightens. Readers willing to invest the time in learning about and coming to understand these characters and their world will soon find themselves eager to re-immerse themselves in this magical epic.
I received this book for free from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.