Book of the Year 2014 (see all)
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to binge through a batch of new books that had come out throughout 2013 and very early-2014, and ended up finding some new favourite authors – names such as Miles Cameron, Brian Stavely, Brian McClellan, and the topic of today’s review, Anthony Ryan. I ended up reviewing ‘Blood Song’ 8/10 and I wrote in summary;
Beautifully written, wonderfully cast and populated, Anthony Ryan does indeed seem to be placing himself as one of the next master storytellers
I’ve also been a pretty harsh judge of second books in a series – so many authors seem to stumble at this point of the race. However, I am pleased to say that not only has Anthony Ryan not stumbled with his second book, ‘Tower Lord’, but he has improved.
I have spent a lot of time reading fantasy books trying to recover the magic of the first book fantasy book I ever read. The recipe requires an equal mix of strong characters, strong world-building, a well-conceived story, and beautiful writing. Finding a book that has these ingredients mixed together in equal portion is difficult – finding a book that mixes them in large quantities even more difficult.
My first ever fantasy book was The Lord of the Rings, and I think that I can finally say for the first time that I have found an author who may one day manage to attain the same level of magic I found the first time I read Tolkien.
Often compared to David Gemmell, and an author who draws inspiration from Robin Hobb, Anthony Ryan is not “the next Tolkien” – I dislike such statements. That being said, though, I do feel as if Tower Lord is the book most similar in structure, execution, and style to Tolkien’s magnum opus.
Tower Lord tells a story from four perspectives. Any more than one perspective is sometimes enough to raise the eyebrows of seasoned readers – but fear not, for Ryan deals with each character’s point of view equally and beautifully. There is no one-perspective that I disliked or wanted to skip through – rather, for one of the first times, I was equally anticipating each and every POV. The respective characters are so integral to the story, yet still independent and different, that you are never bored. Each chapter draws another line onto a larger canvas, the shape of which we are only just beginning to unravel – I admit, I hope that this series does not end up being restricted to a stereotypical- trilogy.
Ryan still has some ways to go. There are some unsubtle editing errors that bespeak a new author, and the last five chapters seemed to rush to an end – maybe a page deadline or simply lazy writing, I’m not sure. But these are minor qualms in the scheme of things, and serve only to show that the author has a ways to grow. And he is growing, as can be seen in the maturity between book 1 and 2.
Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan finally begins to realise the imagination and coherency of Tolkien, while remaining true to the heart and soul of the author. The ‘Raven’s Shadow’ series is one of the best new series out there, challenging all the existing big-names to sit up and take notice, or be left behind.
Review by Joshua S Hill
1 positive reader review(s) for Tower Lord
Rodrigo from España
Awesome book. Still need to read the third one. I can't even believe some of the reviews here saying it's bad. Can some of the reviewers who gave it less than a 5 tell me what fantasy books they do love? Because I enjoyed Blood Song and Tower Lord so much.
Vivek from India
I read the book immediately after its release. I was disappointed. It didn't have the magic of Blood Song. I didn't get the smooth story telling as in the first book. This was jagged and was in bits and pieces. Most importantly, I lost my sense of touch with Vaelin. I didn't relate to him that much. But hoping Mr. Ryan will not be bothered with this review and bring back the magic of Vaelin AlSorna for the third book.
8/10 from 3 reviews