Friday, August 17, 2018

Son of Cayn by Stormy McDonald, Alan Isom and Jason McDonald I just finished reading Son of Cayn and I honestly don't know where to start with this review. Don't get me wrong, it was a really good book. I enjoyed it. I'm just not sure where to begin because there was a lot in here. I mean, I guess I expected that. It's the first book in a fantasy series and those are frequently pretty busy. When an author (or in this case team of authors) has to not only introduce their characters but also their world, there tends to be a lot of information necessary. Every fantasy setting is different and when you couple in the setting and how magic works and what fantasy races exist.. Yeah, it's a lot.

The good news is that Son of Cayn not only very effectively manages to introduce the characters and show off the world, it also manages to do so without bogging down into infodumps and leaves room for later expansion. I'm an as yet unpublished fantasy author myself. I should probably go back and take notes on how they did it because they did a damn good job. I feel like I could go on a wagon trip (Most of the story is spent on the trail, facing danger while traveling.) along the same path the crew in the book did and not get lost. I'm not sure I'd wanted because I tend to be big on not risking my hide unnecessarily, but that's a separate issue.

If you're going to read Son of Cayn, and I recommend doing so, you had best be prepared for some pretty major twists and turns. Nothing is quite as it seems. Most people are not quite who they say they are. This is a very tightly plotted story and it turns on a dime. I enjoyed that. I'm reminded of a movie I watched with my dad back in either the 80s or 90s called Legal Eagles. It wasn't Science Fiction or Fantasy, but it had a great story and an ending that worked but that you never saw coming. My dad marked out because he couldn't figure it out and he was usually good at that stuff. It's that kind of a book.

Part of the surprises are people being precisely who we thought they were, even though they're nowhere near what we thought they were. Certain things happen that only make sense in retrospect. Sometimes a new talent emerges out of nowhere. Allegiances are sometimes a little murkier than you would first suspect. Seriously, don't trust any of these characters.

The fight scenes in Son of Cayn are awesome. I have been known to play the occasional game of Dungeons and Dragons and I really want a couple of these weapons. I mean, they're pretty awesome. I have a sneaking suspicion that one or more of these authors might be roleplayers themselves and that part of the reason these characters get such cool weapons is wish fulfillment. I'm okay with that though. It's entertaining regardless.

As if I haven't already made it obvious, Son of Cayn moves. There always seems to be something going on. It may not be what the reader thinks it is, but it's happening. You may not get a chance to catch your breath, but do you really want to? What's the point of catching your breath anyway? No, Son of Cayn is a book you go through at Mach Two with your hair on fire. It's more fun that way. Slowing down is for sissies. I mean, if you want to know the truth, if I wanted boring I'd read romance. The authors of this one keep things interesting, most often in the sense of the ancient Chinese curse.

I'm also reminded of another movie when I read Son of Cayn. I know not everyone is a fan, but there is a strong leaning toward The Godfather 3 contained within these pages. It's not really all that clear who the enemy is. It's not exactly clear if our heroes really have a singular enemy. Events happen but even after reading the book I'm not altogether certain which ones were related and which ones weren't. I totally feel like Michael Corleone reading this one. "Our true enemy has not yet revealed himself."

I really did get a feeling that there are several major players still missing from the board. Somewhere out there, our true villains are hatching their plots. Somewhere out there, there may very well be someone, or maybe a group of someones, that are on our side as well. We're being led into a much larger world than either we or our heroes anticipate. It's obvious that it's there, but not how far it goes. I'm excited to find out because there is a Lord of the Rings feel here. Right now it's just the Fellowship, but there may be entire kingdoms out there that we still get to journey to. None of the heroes of the book are kings or even nobles (well, probably. I mean, given the surprises so far...) but I can't help but think that at some point in the future of this series we'll be meeting oodles and bunches of them. Or maybe I'm wrong but hey, I'm a fan I get to have my theory.

That leads me to my one complaint about Sons of Cayn. It doesn't really have a Big Bad. Our heroes are totally worth rooting for. They're honorable and they're a caravan of people off to simply sell some soap. Their goals are the everyday kind of noble: Money to be earned, families to feed, etc.
hey're normal people for the most part, at least until things start to change. But there is no one person or thing to hate as such. I'm no fan of thieves and brigands, but they just don't engender the type of ill will that a Khan Noonien Singh or an Emperor Palpatine can. That much having been said, there is a strong case for keeping the reader wondering. It's always good when an author's audience wants more. That's why it's a series, right?

Speaking of which, I published this review on the release date of the book. It's about twelve thirty PM my time. I wonder: Should I start bothering the publisher for the sequel NOW, or should I wait until after dinner?

Bottom Line:4.5 out of 5 Bars of Soap

Son of Cayn
Stormy MacDonald, Alan Isom, Jason McDonald
New Mythology Press,  2018

Son of Cayn is available for purchase at the following link:

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