The Circle of Sorcerers
My Rating: 1.0 / 5.0
Amazon Rating: 3.80 / 5.00
Goodreads Rating: 3.55 / 5.00
The Consuls of the Vicariate
My Rating: 1.0 / 5.0
Amazon Rating: 4.40 / 5.00
Goodreads Rating: 3.72 / 5.00
Disclaimer: I was given these books free by the author via a Librarything Member Giveaway, in return for an honest review.
(Description of The Circle of Sorcerers from Goodreads)
When Laedron Telpist's sorcery training is interrupted by a knock on the door, what once seemed a proper profession must now be hidden. In a world where priests and mages vie for the limitless power of the elements and a new Grand Vicar has sworn death to all sorcerers, Laedron is tossed into a nightmare which would see his destruction at every turn.
From the home shores in western Sorbia, through the Cael'Brilland heartlands, and even across the seas to the great city of Azura, Laedron finds himself embracing old friends, consorting with unlikely allies, and confronting potent enemies. As he struggles to train himself in spellcraft, Laedron must face that he lives in a time when the utterance of a simple spell could be the signature on his death warrant.
Unfortunately, I actually received the second book as the Giveaway and the author sent me a link to the first one, which was free on Amazon. This meant that I felt obliged to at least try to read the second book and therefore had to finish the first one before I could start it. I survived until about a third of the way into book two before I finally gave up all hope and moved on to something less frustrating to read.
As you can see from the description, The Circle of Sorcerers sounds like the beginning of a series of fantasy books that would follow Laedron as he developed as a mage / sorcerer and fought to survive. There were plenty of good reviews (as you can see by the ratings above) and I was in the mood for some good, old-fashioned fantasy. If only that was what the book contained.
As with the other books that I have found bad enough to earn a one star review, one of the most annoying thing about this series is that there is a lot of imagination in evidence and many interesting ideas. Mr Kittrell has created a world that has various races and cultures, although he did not explore them all in great detail in the sections that I read. He creates a Theocracy, which is always an interesting idea to play with, opposed to magic and those that wield it: a debate that could have provided lots of tension and character development.
Unfortunately, these ideas were the backdrop to a very generic plot populated with characters that were simply cardboard cutouts spouting melodramatic dialogue and displaying astonishing amounts of stupidity and luck. The plotting itself was truly awful and so full of clichés that at times it was laughable. It pains me to say this, as I am sure that Mr Kittrell worked very hard to write these books, but I shall speak briefly about each of these complaints.
The plot borrows from nearly all of the Quest-based fantasy epics out there. Young man who is different suddenly has to change his plans and rush to the ancient teacher to start his training. He shows prodigious talent and is a natural at his chosen specialty. He and his teacher are called away when he is still barely trained and they are betrayed and the teacher dies. He is then the only one with his magic and becomes a leader who can order around older, more experienced people and finally, miraculously, becomes even more powerful than anyone could have imagined and saves the world.
Laedron is a sixteen-year-old boy whose father died when he was young. His mother is a fully trained sorcerer who has raised two children for the past ten years or so, and yet she is feeble and emotional when he has to leave home. He comforts her and treats her like a worried little girl. What? Later, once he has become ‘the chosen one’, military leaders and other experienced people defer to his judgment without batting an eyelid at his youth and lack of experience. Again, what? Of the entire collection of sorcerers, only he and his teacher survive some people locking the doors and setting fire to the building. That’s right: all the other uber-sorcerers run around in circles like headless chickens until they burn to death or die of smoke inhalation. I say again, WHAT??
However, although his teacher drags him out of the burning building in quite an ingenious way she then gets stabbed to death by the Bad Guy out in the street. Being the sole survivor of the ‘death of all sorcerers’ Laedron does not know what to do, but, when he tries to join the military, the recruiting officer tells Laedron that he works for a secret order of knights that makes use of battle mages. So, Laedron is trained to fight alongside a group of three soldiers but only has one practice duel with them before he and his group are sent off on an assassination mission . . . after something like ten weeks of training. Then it is revealed that the man they are to murder is, indeed, the Bad Guy who killed his teacher . . .
I could go on, but you get the idea.