Synopsis: from Goodreads
Ages ago, sorcerers of unmatched power sundered a world into four realms–sky, stone, fire, and water–then vanished. Over time, magicians learned to work spells only in their own realms and forgot the others. Now only the few who have survived the Labyrinth and crossed the Death Gate know of the presence of all four realms–and even they have yet to unravel the mysteries of their severed world…
In Arianus, Realm of Sky, humans, elves, and dwarves battle for control of precious water–traversing a world of airborne islands on currents of elven magic and the backs of mammoth dragons. But soon great magical forces will begin to rend the fabric of this delicate land. An assassin will be hired to kill a royal prince–by the king himself. A dwarf will challenge the beliefs of his people–and lead them in rebellion. And a sinister wizard will enact his plan to rule Arianus–a plan that may be felt far beyond the Realm of Sky and into the Death Gate itself.
Well, this is a fairly old book, having been published in 1990 (wow that makes me feel old). This book has been sitting on my shelf for a long time and thanks to my roommate’s help, it was decided it would be the next thing I read.
This novel starts out in a very mysterious and dark sort of way. A prisoner is being lead to his execution for a murder he swears he didn’t commit. An assassin is hired to kill a 10 year old child. And then…
Dwarves? But they’re not called dwarves, they’re called Gegs and the tone of the entire narrative completely shifts. I suddenly felt like I was reading a Robert Rankin or Tom Holt book. Both are authors I like, but it didn’t really jive with the first few chapters.
At first, I was a little put off by this, wondering what the heck it had to do with the beginning, but knew that I just had to keep reading to find out. Of course, I was not disappointed. As often happens in novels, these two seemingly unrelated things come together later.
This novel has a bit of a feel of “checking boxes” on the fantasy troupe list. It has elves, dwarves, dragons and of course magic. There’s nothing wrong with this of course, it just feel a bit reminiscent of it’s time, when many fantasy novels included those races, before it all became over done. Funny enough, as I’ve been reading more recent fantasy novels of late, the troupes here don’t feel over done because I haven’t really experienced them for awhile.
While I wouldn’t say that this book was amazing, I still really enjoyed it and would rate it 3 out of 5 stars. I would recommend this novel to anyone who is a fan of the Dragon Lance series and anyone who enjoys a good ole fantasy mash up!
Thanks for reading!