08 January, 2010

Review: Crown of Vengeance, by Stephen Zimmer

Crown of Vengeance (2009, 612 p.) [US][UK], by Stephen Zimmer is the first book in The Fires of Eden series, the begin of an epic journey... The author has been very kind and sent me a copy of the book, a set of awesome art cards and well crafted bookmarks. For more details have a look at Weekly Roundup #50. The pictures of the art cards are also part of the novel.

Beside The Fires of Eden series. Stephen Zimmer has another iron in the fire: The Exodus Gate (2009, 612 p.) [US][UK] which is the first volume of The Rising Dawn Dawn Saga. But that is the topic of another post....

Crown of Vengeance is one of the four books I barely managed to read in December 2009. Now let us see whether it was worth reading or not.

The Setup

Imagine you go out for a walk. After a while a thick and strange mist comes down within minutes. Can happen. But to look in a unusual blue-greenish sky after the mist has disappeared is nothing you would expect. And that is what happens to eleven inhabitants - just people like you and me - of a midwestern town in United States. Janus Roland and the others have entered the world of Ave. A world on the edge of war. A mysterious being called The Unifier is on the way to gain the power over Ave for his more mysterious master. But the people of the Saxan Kingdom and the tribes in the Five Realms confederation are the last bastion and the last hope for the peoples of Ave.... And what is the role of the people from earth?

My Take in Brief

let start a bit formal. The story is told in a prologue and seven sections. Each section is divided in several named chapters. Each chapter is told from a character's point of view. To my pleasure Stephen Zimmer interspersed chapters which are told by inhabitants form Ave and not only the "good" ones. That makes the story more interesting. This leads me to my next point. Stephen has a knack for details. He describes the world and their in habitants very well. Let me give you an example. Logan, one of the guys from earth watches the passing by of a foreign army. The author spends six pages for the description of this event. I must say it was worth every word.
And Stephen does the same with the characterization of the main characters. Of course that slows down the story a bit. But this is the basis for the whole series!
The prologue contains a first sight of Ave from the point of you from being which you instinctively rank among the evil powers. So far nothing unusual. But then you start with section one and the chapter named Janus. Janus Roland is one of the main characters. You get to know him and his emotional state. Still nothing unusual. But that continues until section three. Which means Stephen offers you 80 pages to get in contact with Janus, Derek, Kent, Mershad, Erika, Erin, Lynn, Logan, Antonio, Ryan and Lee. At first I was not really convinced whether I should like it or not. But Let me tell you that you will appreciate it when you have finished the book. What is the secret of these people? Why they have been chosen? Is the thought of beginning a new life in another world so powerful? Questions like these come up while reading.....
Beginning with section three the transfer from earth to Ave takes part. Stephen Zimmer manages to ratchet up suspense in a unagitated way.
Fortunately the people from earth does not turn into super heroes. They follow their preferences which means that someone who like bow and arrow on earth will concentrate on this.
That leads me to the world of Ave itself. There are human-like beings and a lot of other races and animals.
Of course the peoples of Ave speak an other language. How do the earthlings communicate? I think it is no spoiler when I talk about the mysterious Wanderer. Please forgive me but this man reminds me of Gandalf.
He is the first individual that the earthlings meet on Ave. He hands over amulets in form of necklaces to the group which are a kind of translator which we discover a bit later. And to my surprise the mysterious wanderer did not explain much. But I really liked it. The rest of the book contains the contact of the earthlings with the people from Ave, battles and more information about the world. At the end of the book you still don't know which role the earthlings will play in the upcoming war.

Not to forget all the allusions. I'm sure I didn't identify them all. One is very obvious:The Saxan Kingdom. Ever heard or read about the Saxons?

All in all a book with slow and unusual start which is necessary as the foundation of the story. Wonderful and detailed descriptions of the characters including their emotional state and the world of Ave and their inhabitants.
The story gets more and more intriguing because you know something but you can not see how it fits in the big frame.

This is definitely a book for people who like character driven stories with gorgeous and detailed descriptions of a fantasy world and their inhabitants mixed with beings who follow devious plans who will face more resistance than expected.....

Bona Fide's Book Oracle

What is Bona Fide's Book Oracle? To keep it short. It is a palaver about the reviewed book held by ediFanoB and his alter ego Bona Fide. And I am the keeper of the minutes. Now read my minutes.

Bona: "I feel a bit stressed." Fide: "Why? Don't you like to talk a bout books?" Bona: "Two reviews in a short time. That is nearly too much for my mental activity." Fide: "Of course with only two brain cells." Bona: "Dimwit." Fide: "Not again this game with wrongs! What do your two cells think [*giggle] about this book?" Bona: "They are still discussing... No,no. You know the beginning has been a mixed back." Fide: "Without this beginning the book would not be the book we read." Bona: "That's true. It was really unusual compared to the books we read before." Fide: "What do you think about the Darroks?" Bona: "You mean these kin to dragon animals?" Fide: "Yes. The reminded me of WW I bombers." Bona: "If you say so. I like the mysterious Wanderer with his big beard and his blue eye. He keeps as much as possible secret." Fide: "Like you:!" Bona: "No, this time I don't shoot back. I'm a big fan of the Jaghun." Fide: "Shut up. The people should read on their own about these awesome creatures." Bona: "OK. But Ave is full of fascinating creatures." Fide: "Come on, get rid of this discussion. The next book is waiting. What is your conclusion?" Bona: Do you see the mist? It's getting thicker and thicker. I have to go....." Fide: "Boooooooooonaaaaaaa! Wait! Don't leave me alone! Ave I'm coming too...."
Always the same. I'm just the keeper of the minutes but it is up to me to extricate these two lame-o platitudinarians.
You want to know how people like you and me with same anxities, worries and dreams behave in a far away world full of interesting human beings, animals and other beings then read Crown of Vengeance which slowly but surely drags you into the The Fires of Eden series.....

Hope you will be back for the next review. In the meantime, when you read Crown of Vengeance, I will do my best to bring them (Bona and Fide) home. Ave, gimme back my debonair dorks.....

More Stephen Zimmer

Formore information about the publisher, the author and his books then please visit following websites:
www.seventhstarpress.com, www.stephenzimmer.com, www.firesineden.com, www.risingdawnsaga.com

As any author Stephen Zimmer is keen to read comments and reviews of his book. So feel free to comment here or to contact the author by MAIL: stephen at stephenzimmer dot com, or at MYSPACE or at FACEBOOK.

UPDATE January 16th, 2010
Good news! The book trailer for Crown of Vengeance is now available und I thought it would be good idea to add the trailer to the review. So have a lokk before you readthe last word of the author.

Last word of the author

Maybe this is a bit unusual but I like to have the opportunity to compare my review with the thoughts of the author. So you can (but you must not) read now what Stephen Zimmer thinks Crown of Vengeance will offer to readers.
”Crown of Vengeance sets the ground for an incredible adventure for readers through the world of Ave (pronounced ah-vay). It involves some iconic fantasy elements that are familiar to those who love epic fantasy, and many things that might not be. Crown of Vengeance gives a great first taste of a journey that will take the reader across many exciting lands and introduce them to a host of fascinating and diverse characters. I have been working on this series for well over a decade, and I am dedicated to bringing my readers a very satisfying, unpredictable, and thrilling fantasy epic. I hope that fantasy readers give this book a try, and join me for the full ride. Crown of Vengeance is just the beginning…” [Source]


sgzimmer said...

Thank you for taking the time to give this book a shot. This book, and the series, have been a real labor of love for many years, and I hope that readers enjoy the depth and breadth of it as it builds and expands. Thanks again!

ediFanoB said...

I really look forward to read the next books. I will follow the series and also review the next books - regardless of whether I get reviewer copies or not.

I hope that people will understand that Crown of Vengeance is fundamental to the Fires of Eden Series.

Now it seems I have to discover Exodus Gate.....

Simcha said...

Crown of Vengeance looks like an interesting book, and I really like the cover. I'll have to look into this one.

ediFanoB said...

as I wrote Crown of Vengeance is different compared to other books.
In case you read it let me know what you think about it. I just added your blog SFF Chat to my google reader.

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