The Redemption of Althalus – Book Review

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

Althalus is a young thief and occasional killer known for his skill and incredible luck. A number of capers end without much monetary reward for him, until he stumbles into a shrine built to the fertility goddess Dweia. Soon afterward he meets with the wizard Ghend, who hires him to steal the Book, a magical tome that can be found in the bizarre House at the End of the World. There, Althalus discovers Dweia in the form of a black cat and learns that she has chosen him to aid her in a war against Ghend and her evil brother, the destroyer god Daeva. Together Althalus and Dweia use the power of the Book and gather together a small team of questionable heroes who must battle Ghend’s supernatural forces and armies. The thief Althalus can only hope his luck holds out for this one last task, since the very fate of humanity is at stake.

What to say about this book? Well, first, this book is fairly long, clocking in at just under 800 pages and is actually a stand alone novel, which is a bit unusual for a fantasy novel. (if you know of others, I’d love to know too)

The tone of this book very much has a feel of when it was published. First released in 2000, it reminded me of other books published around that time that feel heavily influenced by Lord of the Rings. Of David Eddings’ other books, I’ve only read his Dreamers series, which I don’t remember much of, so perhaps this is simply his writing style, I’m not sure. I don’t really know how to describe the feel I got from the tone either.

Anyway, at first I felt like the pacing of this book was a bit off. There seemed to be a bunch of stuff at the beginning that didn’t really matter to the story overall and it would jump ahead in time fairly often. Turns out that in the end, it all mattered, so that changed my feelings about the start of the book.

I wouldn’t call the story particularly original. The basics of the plot are the basics of most high fantasy novels: an likely group of individuals come together to fight against evil in order to save the world. The people making up this particular band are a bit stereotypical. You have the charismatic thief, the warrior, the priest, the beautiful girl with a special gift, a young noble woman, and a smarter than can be believed kid. Leading this group is the maternal and loving goddess, Dweia.

There’s only one race in this fantasy world: humans. As for magic…there is magic, but only Althalus really uses it and not even that much. It’s more like divine power from a Knife and a Book.

There were a few things that bothered me about this book. One was Leitha’s insistence on calling Althalus “Daddy.” Yes, he establishes the group to be a “family” and as the male leader he takes on the role of the father, but why “daddy?” It felt ripe with sexual innuendo and I cringed nearly every time she said it. The tampering with time also bothered me. That’s a really difficult thing to pull off without thinking through every little detail and I don’t think it was.

What did I like? Well, considering how generic I thought the basic plot was, there were actually a few surprises that I didn’t see coming. I couldn’t for the life of me think how everything was going to be wrapped up by the end of the book and not have a sequel. Well, it all came together nicely and you could probably tack on a “happily ever after.”

Overall, this wasn’t a bad book. I didn’t stop reading it, though I didn’t spend long periods of time on it. I wouldn’t say it was bad either. My rating for this is 3 out of 5 stars. I’d recommend this to people who are maybe just getting into the Fantasy genre and just want to dip their toes into without getting into a long series. Also for fantasy fans that don’t want to get in to a long series, this could be a good read.

Have you read the Redemption of Althalus? What did you think? Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!