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The Twilight Herald

Posted by -Slamel- On Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Don't worry. Despite having the word Twilight in the title, THE TWILIGHT HERALD is nothing like the book in our last review. This is Tom Lloyd's second entry in his Twilight Reign series, and it is much grander is scope and larger in size than the opening book, THE STORMCALLER.

In a word (and you only need one from us): AWESOME.

Tom Lloyd is a newcomer, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have what it takes to blow us away with his story telling. He has managed to create a believable, original setting using the familiar fantasy tropes and bending or breaking them to his will. Populating his enormous, top-notch world is an exponentially growing list of characters, most of whom are distinct and interesting.

Isak, the main protagonist of the series, becomes a lot more interesting in this second book than he was in THE STORMCALLER--despite having less actual 'screen' time--but his friends and enemies once again steal the scene like they did in the first entry to the series. Lloyd's depictions of his characters allay all of our fears, and proves to us that he knows his characters inside and out; Lloyd has thought them through, and has gone to great lengths to make them believable and interesting. No easy feat considering the number of superhero-esque people walking The Land.

In THE TWILIGHT HERALD, the story focuses on the city of Scree, where the major players in this series are all drawn for one reason or another. We particularly liked the sheer number of points of view in THE TWILIGHT HERALD. We get a very real handle on the motivations and machinations of many of the characters. The only negative we could find for the book was that we felt inundated with the characters talking, talking, talking, and still talking. However, despite this the slow buildup of tension intrigued us every step of the way. The climax is explosive and leaves us breathless, waiting for THE GRAVE THIEF, the series' third book.

The moody, gloomy setting of this second book only heightens our excitement for the destruction and doom that is going to follow. This is writing done well. We don't need the author to tell us in footnotes or interviews that things are grim--his writing shows it and we feel it.

The battles are big, brutal, and beautiful (enough 'B' words for you?), the politics are fun to read and create a sense of depth greater than even those lauded colossal fantasy series (you know who they are), and the world feels very real (except for the lame name of the world 'The Land').

Go buy it.

Recommended Age: 15 and up.
Language: We can't remember anything particularly foul.
Violence: This book makes Quentin Tarantino look like an amateur. Not only is it gratuitous, but extremely well done. Thumbs way up on this part.
Sex: References to adultery, and promiscuity, but nothing that isn't on prime-time TV.

Nick's note: I was in my local B&N looking for something new and exciting, and being disappointed. Then I saw a lone copy of THE STORMCALLER. I picked it up on sheer production value alone. As I chatted a bit with Lou Anders, while I was reading THE STORMCALLER, about why he liked it, I realized Tom Lloyd was the real deal. THE STORMCALLER wasn't without a few minor shortcomings, but it showcased Tom Lloyd's talent and made me hungry for THE TWILIGHT HERALD. I wasn't disappointed when I started and finished Book 2. I got the same giddy feeling reading Book 2 that I got playing Final Fantasy Tactics back in the day. In fact, in a lot of ways it reminds me of that story. Tom Lloyd, for me, is on the verge of joining the ranks of my favorite authors.

Do us a favor and go by Tom's website, and give him your undying love for writing AWESOME fantasy novels. Guess who we are nominating for the Hugo Award next year?

And once again, go give Lou Anders and the folks at Pyr SF&F a big hug for publishing incredible novels here in the US.


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