Harrison Davies asked me to read his fantasy novel "Destiny of the Wulf". It's about two brothers, Coinin and Marrok, and how they are chosen by destiny to save the world from the god of Death. I will examine plot, character and polish before assigning a grade.
I have little good to say about the plot. There are so many plot holes, there's little left to speak well about. In the prologue alone, there are half a dozen idiot balls and because of this I could not take the plot seriously. I will post all of them in a separate post because they would take up too much room here.
I see nothing original in the plot but that by itself would not be a problem. I don't believe in 100 percent originality and I have written a number of blog posts to this effect: Originality is a Myth, Originality And Tradition and Inspirational Monday-TvTropes all talk about how 100 %originality is impossible so I don't hold that against anyone. My problem is when the tropes are used sloppily. It was like checking things off on a list:
1. Farm Boys (fishing boys in this case)
2. Trained for a great purpose that they are told nothing of.
3. Doomed hometown
4. Parental Abandonment
5. Dark and Troubled Past
6. Great Destiny!
7. Secret Heritage
8. War Sequence where they play a pivotal role
9. Parents as Spirit Advisors.
10. Beautiful girls in the new exotic setting that (in one case) immediately falls for one of the brothers.
Few of these make any sense, as I will talk about in detail in a future post, and so they sound like the author is following a formula without thought for the integrity of the novel as a whole. At times they seem to have no purpose other than wish fulfillment.
Normally, I would use this area to talk about the things I disliked, but this time I will talk about the things I liked instead.
1. Generally speaking, battles/action are good. For instance, The War Sequence when the Brotherhood Temple is attacked is pretty cool. My favorite part of it is when Coinin possesses an enemy mountain troll and tricks the other trolls into attacking the enemy goblins.
2. Coinin's initiation into the Brotherhood and the swearing-in ritual for the Curator are also well thought out and interesting. I would liked to have seen more of that.
3. Marrok's rediscovery of his faith is a powerful moment. It has the feel and atmosphere of a Christian Confession and Reconciliation.
Finally, the ending. The amazon blurb says "as the ultimate battle for survival begins..." which is accurate. This book is just a beginning. There is no resolution. It is a goading cliffhanger. I despise these for reasons that are also best left for a future post.
When it comes to the book's cast I have a mixed opinion.
By the third act, the brothers were well developed but until then they are distinguished primarily by "the one with mind swap power and the one without".
Of Draken, the brother's uncle, I have little reason to believe should be in this plot. The brothers do not like him as he was strict in their studies and fond of the lash. No one in the Brotherhood likes him because he did something worthy of exile. Going off these opinions and the brother's Great Destiny, he should have been excluded from this plot. His lack of motive and his drifting in and out of focus makes him feel more like a plot device than a genuine character.
I liked how Merein developed into a motherly figure for Connin. It is a vivid and consistent thing with little touches to fill in the gaps and make it real. It also makes sense for her to be so because she is the previous Curator and thus Coinin's predecessor. However, my problem is that it happens too quickly and it is jarring considering their first meeting; it involved death threats.
Talina has a decent backstory (which is more than others can say at this point) but her role is confined to Satellite Love Interest and disappears after this role is fulfilled. She doesn't even get a mention in the final section, despite the fact that the nature of this section is something Marrok thought would be a sticking point for courting her earlier in the novel.
Mort is a Generic Doomsday Villain, but when the villain is the personification of Death, this is forgivable and even understandable. However, he only has two scenes. The main villain or his chief enforcer should have a bigger presence in a story like this.
Nothing wrong in the way of spelling or grammar errors. The problem is in the pacing.
The pacing was funky. Normally in a fantasy novel there is this sense of escalation leading to the climax, the highest point, but that doesn't happen here. It feels confused. The climax was twenty or so pages before the end of the book. That section would have better served as the prologue for the next book instead of a lame cliffhanger.
The three scenes I mentioned earlier save this book from the worst grade.
Trickster Eric Novels gives "Destiny of the Wulf" a D-
Click here for the next review request: "Elsbeth and the Call of the Castle Ghosties"
Click here for the previous Review Request: Dark Space 2: Invisible War