Along my reading journey, I’ve made a conscious decision to include self-published and small press works in my reading schedule. But it is difficult to know where to start: So many new authors and books to examine to find the perfect fit for my tastes. And to help others with this same problem, I’ve decided to talk about any indie/small press books which I have recently been enjoying.
This time out I’ll be reviewing an entertaining fantasy offering from Kevin Weston!
Series: Casting Shadows #1
Publisher: Wave Train Books (October 22, 2017)
Author Information: Website
Length: 439 pages
My Rating: 3 stars
Gryphon’s Eye is the first book of the Casting Shadows series by Kevin Weston, and after reading the description of this classic fantasy adventure, I had to take the author up on his offer for a review copy. I’m glad I did, because this novel delivered a nice heaping dose of classic fantasy with a strong female lead and an interesting world built around magic users and their familiars.
In the Kingdom of Fyngree, Princess Jessalyn Suntold has grown up the beloved daughter of King Owyn, but now her lack of magic ability is a constant frustration, driving her to irrational feelings of failure. Her father’s lack of anger, his continued optimism that the next vile potion or sorcerous ritual will somehow, someway, ignite her “thread” of magical talents, causing Jess not to feel better but much worse.
The only place Jess finds any contentment is with her mentor, Percy Mucenmast, who is a pamphleteer and convicted criminal. This “journalist” embracing Jess’s innate curiosity and desire to uncover the truth of the world. Percy’s friendship and timely advice aiding our young princess in dealing with an uncertain future.
Complicating matters is the growing tension between Fyngree and Rojenhold. Thylus Whytewender refusing to journey into Fyngree anymore, cutting off all ties with his neighbor, and sending spies into King Onwyn’s land to hunt down the familiars of Fyngree’s casters, thereby killing his enemies magic users. This undeclared war needing only a spark to ignite it. A spark which finally occurs, thrusting Jess off into the world to uncover her land’s hidden enemies!
I have to admit that it took me a little while to get into Gryphon’s Eye. The first hundred pages or so quite slow, spending a great deal of time introducing and developing the main characters as well as laying the groundwork for the ongoing plot lines. Things did eventually heat up, as all the characters took their place upon the stage, and soon this world, its casters, their hidden familiars, and the clash of kingdoms filled the pages with excitement.
The only criticism I’d level at the novel is a tendency (especially toward the beginning of the book) for the author to spend far too much time telling rather than showing. Much of this was info dumps to develop the world, its magic, and the history of the kingdoms, but it was a bit much at times, and the story would have been better served with less of these interludes.
Overall, I enjoyed my time spent with Gryphon’s Eye. It is definitely a classic fantasy tale, but my patience with the slow start eventually paid off with a nice adventure story and several interesting characters. Definitely looking forward to see where Weston takes this tale from here.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.