Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new Chasing Graves Trilogy.
A spellbook has gone missing from the libraries of Arfell – a very old and extremely powerful spellbook from the time of dark elves and demons. Five scholars are dead, the magick council is running out of time and options, and the Arka is once again on the brink of war with the Siren dragon-riders.
It falls to Farden the Written mage to keep the world from falling into chaos. Entangled in a web of lies and politics, Farden must recover the spellbook before an ancient enemy rises, even if it takes journeying halfway across icy Emaneska and back.
In his fight for answers, Farden will unearth a secret that not only shakes the foundations of his world, but threaten the entire future of Emaneska. Sorcery, death, drugs and the deepest of betrayals await.
The story starts with a dangerous spell book being stolen from a Library in Arfell. Farden, a Written is sent to investigate the theft and to try and find the stolen book. Through his investigation, he learns that the book contains an incredibly old and dangerous spell, meant to use a lost Dark Elf well to bring forth a great evil.
Farden realises that to find the well and stop the creature from being summoned, the Arkmages must allow him to travel to Hjaussfen, the land of the Arka’s enemies, where he meets the Sirens and the Dragons they ride. Once he arrives Farden’s world view completely changes, Dragons aren’t the terrible creatures the Ark Mages describe them as, and as his friendship with Farfallen , The Great Dragon, blossoms Farden realises that only with the two armies working together will the spell be stopped and the well found.
This book was simply put epic! The World Building was sublime and Galley’s descriptions have you travelling the country right along side Farden, putting you right in the middle of the epic battle scenes, and feeling the betrayal at the heart of the story. I couldn’t put this book down, and after that ending I seriously need to get my hands on the next in the series.
Farden is an intriguing character. Not overly likeable at first, his brashness and willingness to fight anything somehow grows on you, and once he travels to Hjaussfen, and begins to make friends with the Sirens and Dragons, you can see his world view changing and with that his character in general changes for the better.
There was an awesome twist in this book, ripe with betrayal, and I just did not see it coming. Farden realises that everything he thought he knew was a lie and this definitely leads the reader to bond with him as a character, and makes you desperate to get your hands on the sequel.
At first the story line was a bit slow and I found some of the descriptions rather ‘wordy’. However, in part two the plot picked up rapidly and I found myself flying through the pages. Though there were some obvious ‘debut novel’ issues, I still got completely drawn into this book, I loved everything from the characters to the descriptions and am definitely going to be continuing the series. This book is an easy 4/5 for me!
Be sure to check out all the Blog Tour posts for Ben’s other books as well!