Series: The Bow of Hart #2
Publisher: Self Published (March 29, 2017)
Length: 350 pages approximately
My Rating: 3 stars
More action-packed and far grimmer than its predecessor, An Arrow Against the Wind is a wonderful follow-up to The Bow of Destiny. P.H. Solomon showing real growth as a writer, using his more refined skills to evolve this series into a compelling fantasy saga, one where action may be the focus but the characters are not neglected.
The quest to find the Bow of Hart continues! Arrow beginning where book one ended: Athson, Ralda the giant, and Makwi the dwarf missing after a magical fight goes bad, bringing down the cave roof of Chokkra upon their heads. Their companions (Hastra the Withling, Limbreth the ax-maid, Gweld the elf, and Tordug the dwarf) unsure how to proceed without Athson, since he is the key to their the quest to find the magical object which will allow them to thwart the machinations of the dragon Magdronu.
While our heroes struggle with uncertainty, Magdronu himself is slowly revealed. His intricate plot to subvert the quest for his own ends truly coming to the fore. Henchmen Corgren and Paugren always circling, waiting for the opportunity to herd our small band of heroes this way or that to accomplish their dragon master’s true end.
Just as in book one, the characters are what drive this story. Naturally, our protagonist Athson receives the most attention, which allows him to grow in complexity: revealing hidden weaknesses and unrecognized strengths, but even his companions’ are developed into far more than mere foil characters or stock homages to classic fantasy races; rather, Hastra, Limbreth and all the rest begin to evolve into fine complimentary characters; the whole group of companions melding into an interesting fellowship of adventures to read about. And as for the villains, Mr. Solomon doesn’t leave them out: Magdronu himself a point of view character who really steals the show, in my opinion.
But don’t take all that to mean there isn’t action, because there is non-stop action. Our quest group trudging wearily from one action-packed encounter to another, as they frantically attempt to follow the trail to the Bow of Hart.
The only criticism I can level at the book is its rather formulaic approach to some aspects of the quest. It just seemed that too many times similar events happened over and over again with the characters expressing the same internal feelings. There was nothing wrong with either the events or the character’s feelings, but after a couple times, I felt the narrative needed to move ahead, throw something new into the pot, and show an evolution of the character’s emotions based upon what they have survived.
Where The Bow of Destiny was a straight ahead quest narrative filled with character introductions, world building, and near non-stop action, An Arrow Against the Wind is a more complex book, which delves deeper into the emotions of our main characters (heroes and villains), reveals back stories, unveils motives, and plunges our heroes into the gloom and doom of their circumstances, as the dangers come at them from unexpected places. Definitely an entertaining fantasy series in the classic quest adventure mold!
I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank him for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.