BETRAYAL, TREACHERY AND WAR
Tarek vowed to never again take up his sword. But when his village is attacked by a merciless warband, he has no choice but to defend his family. Yet not even his legendary combat skills can save his wife from an enemy that wields the power of a god.
His son captured, Tarek is forced to embark on a dangerous quest to sow the seeds of treachery in the land of his birth. His actions will set in motion kingdom-shattering events that lead to the sacred Stones of Valtara and an ancient god’s vengeful return from out of the shadows.
Will Tarek sacrifice an entire kingdom to save the life of his son?
In this sweeping epic with its ensemble of diverse characters, The Stones of Valtara tells the story of a kingdom’s fight for survival against a vengeful god and his legions of fanatical warriors.
The Stones of Valtara is a Celtic-inspired fantasy with a number of main characters. There’s Tarek Grimbard, who was once a great friend to the king, but has fallen into disfavor; Cai, the adopted son of one of the Clansguard who can’t recall most of his past; Amira, the daughter of a chieftain; Rodric, the Teranian king; and Tomos, the king’s ailing son. There are more than what I’ve listed here, particularly in the last half.
Every character has their place in the storyline—and it wasn’t always as straightforward as their introduction made it seem. There were several plot twists that I didn’t see coming, and as the book progressed it became more difficult to know which characters to trust and what was going to happen next. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, but for the most part, the author did a great job of keeping their individual stories distinct.
There were a few times when I wished there was just a little more to some of the chapters, however. Some ended a bit more abruptly than I’d prefer, particularly early on (and not due to cliffhangers—they just…ended.) But otherwise, I thought the story and the different interwoven character arcs were done well.
And then there’s the action. There isn’t much in the first half of the book, but once past the halfway point, there was so much. The battle scenes were done well, and I liked the added twist of the advanced technology of the First seeming to overpower the standard medieval-style weaponry/armor… Yet it still had its weaknesses.
There were a number of elements beyond the conflict that made up the world of Terania – the First being but one of those. They seemed to be an ancient race/civilization with remarkable technology, though much of their society has been lost to time. I’m intrigued to learn more about them, though I think that has to wait for book two. There’s also a lot of history between the various factions presented in the book, and not all of that history is brought to the forefront. This book was a great setup for the beginning of a series.
I will be watching for book two.