Prophecy's Queen: An Epic Fantasy by Timothy Bond
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I picked this up for free on Amazon, attracted by the fact that 1) it was epic fantasy and 2) the author is currently residing in my hometown!
Prophecy's Queen is a quick read (1 hour based on my kindle) that sets the background for Timothy Bond's Triadine Saga. But that's not telling you anything that you can't already tell from the title of this book. Haha.
There are shades of Eddings in Prophecy's Queen - a prophecy of two paths, one good and one evil, and a promised child (or two, in this case) who is destined to guide the good path in the ultimate destruction of evil; a sorceress who gives up much to aid that path, and who must ultimately give more; the need to hide the children until the time is right; the necessary sacrifices of many to guide and direct the path in oblique ways, without upsetting the balance.
Then again, many of these in their various forms, are time-honoured traditions in epic fantasy classics.
This is going to be one of those rare reviews which will have a split star rating between Amazon and Goodreads. I like it enough to give it an okay, but not enough to really state "I like it". (Isn't Goodreads owned by Amazon now? Can't they just synchronise their rating system?) Also, in terms of my personal rating on my blog, it falls towards a 2 than a 3.
Why is that?
First of all, as I took all that time to say earlier - nothing much new in this one. I understand that it's a prequel, and a novella, so there isn't much time or place to really expand much. But everything that it's setting up for in the coming saga sounds like it's going to be very generic good vs evil, prophecy-fulfilment type fantasy, with elves vs humans vs dwarves or whatever other race until the wizards and sorcerers and whoever else is trying to guide the prophecy manage to get them to work together to defeat the evil sorcerer.
Secondly, this isn't quite Bond's "debut novel" (The Watcher's Keep was published in 2014 and The Dragon Rises earlier in 2015), but in some ways, it feels like it is. Prophecy's Queen starts very abruptly, dragging you into the middle of some unknown quarrel, and then tumbles you about in an overwhelming plethora of "telling" all the while refusing to actually explain anything. Until the very end of the novella, much is said about "the prophecy" and several interpretations of various parts of it are forwarded, but what the prophecy actually says itself is never revealed. [Okay I correct myself - a miniscule part of it was inserted.]
To be fair, I do have this to say - it appears Bond has put a lot of thought into his world building and the history of his world. It may not come across very well in Bond's writing - there is a clunkiness to the way he "disseminates" his information - but it is there in the background. Reading Prophecy's Queen doesn't raise questions of "Why did this happen? It doesn't make sense," but more of "why did I need to know this now?" For example, the chapter on Banderfin and the Dwarvish society as well as the tiella birds served no obvious purpose in this story that I could tell. It felt like a story thread that was forgotten halfway and doesn't resolve. Maybe it would make better sense if I had already read The Triadine Saga.
I guess the error Bond made with this prequel is to try to fit too much unnecessary information to get his readers up to speed instead of following a simple and linear storyline that would pull them in to wanting to know.
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