This review contains some spoilers.
Hammers in the Wind is an exciting fantasy novel, boasting an intimidating roster of characters, none of which I ever grew to truly care for, and a story that starts strong but weakens as it progresses.
The opening is gripping, as our journey begins in the middle of action where we find Chadra Keep under siege, and King Badron, ruler of Delranan, will soon discover that he has lost both of his children in one night. His son has been murdered, and his daughter kidnapped.
Badron believes that an ancient race known as the Pell Darga are responsible, and soon sets plans in motion to gather a band of mercenaries with the task of taking back the princess. However, there are many twists and turns ahead, and more dark forces that are waiting to be unleashed.
The setup is woven tightly. Bahr, a famous sea captain and lord of the waters, takes up the mission to recover Badron’s daughter. Here we meet a whole host of mercenaries, all taking up the challenge for various reasons. Hints of magic begin to creep to the surface as more faces with strange powers muscle their way into the tale, and I start to fear that the author may spread himself too thinly.
Unfortunately, once the mercenaries arrive at their destination, the book failed to hold my grip as it once had before. The reality of what lay beyond the water, and what possibilities and character movements awaited, failed to live up to my own wonder. As new enemies moved through the background, I wondered why the author was adding so much material that surely could not be resolved in this volume.
The story escalated towards a confrontation, but as it transpired the characters that are truly central to this story had little involvement as the battle unravelled. As a result, I cared little what transpired in this battle. Instead, there was an abrupt ending as the novel managed to avoid confronting any of the evil forces that have caused so much misery in our heroes’ lives. No confrontations!? I understand this is book one in a series, but you need to give me something to chew on here. And the book rolled off suddenly, setting the way for book two in the series.
My initial thought once finishing the novel was wondering why had the author chosen to drag out a story that could have been wrapped up in a single book. Certainly the plot regarding Badron, his daughter, Prince Aurec and of course Bahr could have been wrapped up neatly, allowing the author to explore much larger enemies that rise to the surface in a second book.
The plot was initially captivating, but over time the sheer amount of twists and turns, and emergence of new forces to further complicate matters, weighed on my enjoyment. While I understand that this book is setting up a universe to be explored in an ongoing series, I feel as though every book should have its own beats to hit. For me, abrupt endings, and unresolved matters (within the main core of the narrative) are a negative.
The characters were plentiful, but I rarely cared over who could live or die. The only two characters that I felt any dread for were Princess Maleela and Prince Aurec while they were being pursued across the kingdoms. Although some of the other characters were entertaining, I didn’t find myself particularly drawn to them. I would recommend cutting down on the sheer range of characters, maybe even combining characters, and work on making each and every one layered.
The writing style ranged from OK, to good, and to great, and back again. Sometimes I would read a particular passage or line and find myself nodding in approval, but other sentences would feel rushed or awkward at times. There were some grammatical errors in the work, but I did not discover any typos. I would recommend that the author have a proof-reader go through the work again, as they will discover some of these mistakes. But by no means are they deal breaking.
Overall this a good fantasy novel, but I think if the author wants to make it great, they should consider chopping out material, removing unnecessary characters, and focusing on the characters that matter to this journey. If I could boil it down to one recommendation: boost the characters that matter; tell a tighter story.
There is some work to be done here, but the groundwork has certainly been set.
This is just one opinion. If you’ve read this book, why not leave your own rating below?
Some intriguing characters, and moments of great prose.
Minor grammatical errors.