A Quest of Heroes (Book #1 in the Sorcerer’s Ring)
Thor is a 14-year-old boy, the youngest and smallest of his family. His three older brothers are chosen to join the legion, where they hope to one day join the Silver, the elite army of the king. Thor is indignant about staying home with his abusive father to become a shepherd. One day, he travels with his flock out to the pastures, when one of his herd wanders away. He enters a dark forest where he has a vision of Argon, the king’s counselor, telling him to follow his destiny. Then, he encounters a Sybold, a beast that resembles a lion. Thor kills the Sybold with a mystical power. He then leaves his herd behind and goes to follow his destiny.
Thor arrives at the court on the day of the wedding between King MacGil’s oldest daughter and King McCloud’s oldest son. King MacGil hopes the wedding will unite his and McCloud’s two kingdoms. On that same day, he names his successor, choosing his second-oldest daughter, Gwendolyn, to succeed him, instead of his son, Gareth. Gareth fumes and schemes.
In the meantime, Thor’s persistence manages to convince the King’s guards to name him second squire to the kingdom’s greatest knight, Erec. He answers to Feithgold, Erec’s impatient first squire. Erec enters into an arranged melee with one of King McCloud’s knights. The knight wounds Feithgold and almost seriously wounds Erec, when Thor uses his powers to deflect the knight’s spear. Much to Queen MacGil’s dismay, the King congratulates Thor and welcomes him into the castle to live with the royal family.
A Quest of Heroes mostly follows Thor’s story straight through, and I loved how Morgan Rice built Thor’s character and the world in which he lived. The landscape and the creatures that roamed it were very well described.
I get that this is the typical, formulaic adventure story of the underdog. There was nothing overly creative or original about the plot, but I enjoyed it. It was short and sweet, and I didn’t have to think too much about where the plot was going. There were just the right amount of minor characters, so I didn’t get confused. There were adventures and harrowing moments, but the action depicted wasn’t overly grotesque. The book would be perfect for a teen reader, though it does contain one scene of men carousing at a brothel.
While first books in some series almost never have fully-developed characters, some of the characters in this book did not behave consistently with their personalities as they were established when they were introduced. For example, when King MacGil chooses a successor, he realizes he can’t trust his oily son, Gareth. In a later part of the book, MacGil makes a decision that implies he trusted his scheming son’s word. Character choices and inconsistencies made me pause and left me wondering where the author was going with all of it by the end of the story.
Many of the best epic fantasy novels I’ve read have topped 500 pages. This one barely hits 200. Rice’s “Sorcerer’s Ring” series is currently 15 “books” long and counting, according to Rice’s Facebook page. Surely, some of them could have been combined into a more epic tale.
For her first book, Morgan Rice’s prose is clumsy and the symbolism is obtuse. She definitely has a ways to go before becoming the next big fantasy author, but the beginnings of something remarkable are there if she chooses to hone her skill and come up with a more original story.
|Page Count||280 pages|
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