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by Ben Galley

Something has gone missing from the libraries of Arfell, something very old, and something very powerful. Five scholars are dead, a country is on the brink of war, and the magick council is running out of time and options. It's up to the reclusive and impetuous mage Farden to find out who and why.Entangled in a web of lies and politics and dragged halfway across icy Emaneska and back, Farden must unearth a secret even he doesn't want to know, a secret that will shake the foundations of his world. Breathtakingly vast, chillingly dark, brooding and dangerous,The Written will leave you impatiently waiting for the next adventure. . .Welcome to Emaneska.
Download The Written epub
ISBN: 1446136515
ISBN13: 978-1446136515
Category: Literature
Author: Ben Galley
Language: English
Publisher: (November 6, 2010)
Pages: 458 pages
ePUB size: 1890 kb
FB2 size: 1197 kb
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 991
Other Formats: mbr lrf lit doc

Interesting premise and well executed, but plot was too predictable. I knew who 'the bad guys' were before it was revealed and the ending left a lot to be desired. I realize it was a set up for book 2, but I'm not fond of contrived endings just for the sake of an ending, nor being left without resolution or introspection at the end of a book. Ultimately, I wasn't interested enough to continue with Book 2 to see what happened to the main character.
I picked this one up because I loved the cover, and the overview sounded intriguing, not knowing that I would be glued to the pages reading the story of Farden the Mage. This story has dragons in it?? That usually makes me skip on to the next book description, but in this book, Ben Galley made his dragons and their riders seem both intelligent and symbiotic.

You get all the good stuff, treachery, political intrigue, bloody murder, violence, combat magic, friendship, suspense, tattoos, assassination, governments being overthrown, uber-large, evil creatures. We even get swashbuckling on land and sea. What more could a girl ask for?

The only downside of the entire experience is that I had no motive for the Villain's elaborate and lengthy plotting. If he is what is hinted, why not take a more direct approach much sooner? He is clearly powerful and intelligent enough. Why pretend for so long? The Well? Also why didn't Farden sense the well when he was exploring? The door? Seems like the Bad Dude would be scouring the land using minions to find the well and the book, if those are the two main ingredients he needed to succeed. Instead he sits on his butt and maneuvers minions into partially doing his wishes. One star off for unfocused villain without history or obvious benefits to plot beyond promotion. Had to be more there.

I am sure it is covered in book two, as it is clear that the villain remains an important factor in the story moving forward.

Bottom Line: Even though I have not read a book containing dragons for far too long, and will typically avoid them like the plague, this book is different. Intelligent, well thought out magic system, superb, layered characterization, labyrinthine plot, excellent scene setting, rapid pacing, flowing prose all contained in an exciting story of a warrior mage who will give his life for his country. Highly Recommended...
I picked this book up because I loved the cover, my interest was piqued by the blurb, and because I read good things about it. I really wanted to like it, but... at best I came away with mixed feelings. Galley has made use of some truly beautiful prose, but it is unfortunately buried in a hailstorm of adjectives and repetition that tangled the flow rather than moving it along. He tells an interesting story about an unusual character, but... his choice of wording put a distance between me and the characters that was only exacerbated by poor grammar. I read about these people, I didn't *feel* them, couldn't become invested in them. They felt shallow. The dialogue was frustratingly weak, and oh, the head-hopping...

The magic seems interesting--and I love the idea of the tattoos investing a person with particular strengths. I like, too, that gaining those marks was not an easy process to endure. There are hints of another, older magic, and I wish that had been explored a little more, just so that I could see that a difference actually existed.

We're served a platter of typical fantasy-fare creatures: vampires/vampyres, werewolves, dragons, elves, trolls, etc. The Sirens--who are nothing at all like traditional sirens--provide a bright spot with their (not uncommon to the genre) bonding with the dragons, which inexorably changes them. They begin developing scales as well as taking on the dragon's color and personality, except in the case of the king dragon and the queen Siren, and no explanation was offered for that inconsistency. The storm giants? Awesome.

The drug addiction is an unusual subject for fantasy, and the character's involvement with "nevermar" starts out strongly on both the personal and the social front. We can understand a little about his problem with it, and it promises an obstacle that is difficult to overcome. I enjoyed the idea of a hero with some very real problems, but... but... the drugs weren't one of them and his crazy uncle wore his welcome right out. For someone of Farden's age, education (hello, he's Written), and experience, he was often extremely stupid and illogical. I want either Experienced or Stupid; the two do not mix well in the same character! About halfway through, more or less, we were suddenly introduced to foul language, which not only didn't fit the scene(s) well, but served to take me right out of the story. Personal preference? To a certain extent, yes, but I thought the use felt first forced, then lazy.

The dream scenes--also interesting, but could pack a little more oomph. There are all kinds of hints about things to come, and then an outright realization, but the character does the realizing on his own and I was left scratching my head. Did I miss something? Maybe. Being bludgeoned by adjectives had me skimming.

The author also has a tendency to introduce chapters and sections with a mysterious "someone" that is only identified later in the scene rather than coming out and telling the reader who we're dealing with right up front. This works occasionally, but after a while it is only annoying. Potentially *good* scenes were overwritten, and I got the distinct impression of a play-by-chat RPG. As a result, the actual plot suffered. I struggled to connect the dots, especially when the army ran off to Durynas on what seemed a whim.

Then the wonderful potential that kept sneaking out went all to pieces with the melodramatic--and also illogical--antagonist. I couldn't help but think of all the villains faced by Scooby Doo and the gang, which is great if you're writing a cartoon or a comedy, but hard to swallow in "gritty" fiction.

The bottom line? In spite of the twitch-inducing problems, I think this could be a really fantastic story if it were put into the hands of a ruthless editor. All of the "good buts" I've mentioned could so easily become strong points and turn this book into a "must read."
This book was a huge disappointment, hard to believe the ratings it received. There is a total lack of back story and zero world building as things are just mentioned, or introduced and then you move on without any depth added to the story. Example: The introductory example of the protagonist's prowess in battle comes when he is confronted with a dragon while exploring an abandoned castle, he wins the fight easily, then goes on to find a magically locked door the stymies his potent abilities as a mage. He simply walks away, doesn't mention the door that he couldn't open to his superior and we never hear of the door again. Just after that when he returns to his home base there is no explanation of why the character spurns the affections of his maid, he never says he is repulsed, not attracted, or that it is forbidden, just blows her off in a way that makes you think you should already know the reason for his actions, though you do find out a couple of hundred pages later why he does it. This blase' style of writing leaves nothing but stark 'I go here, do this, then this and finally that" situations chapter after chapter.

I made it through 300+ pages hoping the flow would even out, or the huge plot holes would be backfilled as things started developing, but it was just more of the same page after page.

I don't mind taking the risk on an inexpensive kindle book, but the reviews mislead me to believe that this was a solid offering.