Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Gardens of Stone, a review.

So back in May I mention the debut of Aussie author Mark T. Barnes. Yes I have been really slack with my blogging - I've been working o n my epic :P

I've finally gotten around to reading The Garden of Stones.

Wow.

THE GARDEN OF STONE
The Echoes of Empire: 1
By Mark T. Barnes

Some books just leave me wanting more.

You know that feeling when you a finish a really good book and you don't want to leave the world it's set in? That any book you pick up after just isn't right because it's not the book you were just reading?

Well that just happened to me.

I love it when that happens!

The Gardens of Stone is awesome. Set in a lush and deeply realised world quite different to the normal medieval fantasy settings we usually get with a middle-eastern feel reminiscent of M.A.R. Barker's Tekumel. There is a solid sense of real history and Barnes handles it's portrayal with flair, never allowing the reader to be overwhelmed or bogged down.

Exotic and mysterious the Shrian Federation is a hot bed of political machinations and shifting alliances. The remnants of old Empires and tradition, orders of sorcery and warrior castes make for a heady playing field that Barnes takes full advantage of and adds coolness to with a twist of steam-punkery and arcane technology.

We begin in the midst of a battle and while it is soon over the tension only ramps and Barnes weaves a handful of opposing story lines into tapestry that tells a tale that is as much a fantasy adventure as it is political thriller.

I loved this world and the characters. There is a glossary at the back of the book that answers some of the questions the story raises, but I have so many more. Don't get me wrong, the story is not lacking at all - my questions revolve around the greater world, places and history. I want more. Badly.

Luckily we don't have too long to wait - and who am I kidding? I am totally used to long waits for the next installment of a fantasy series and would be quite happy to wait for as long as it takes Barnes to write the next - but The Obsidian Heart is out in October. Yay!

The Garden of Stones is the first book in a trilogy of the Awakened Empire, however having spoken to the author briefly I am assured that he has a larger story in mind that this one links into - it's just a matter of how well this one does as to whether or not his publisher offers him a contract for more. So buy the book people! Buy it now!!!