As a self published AND début novel it is a very impressive achievement.
A battle against the forces of Those That Stand in Shadow brings an end to an old hero and a beginning for a new one. Together with a half-orc thief named Glaive, a young warrior named Qualtan must battle through undead hordes, evil druids, shape-shifting Maugs, hungry trolls and more on his journey to become a knight, learning in the process that good and evil are not always what they seem, and that friendship can sometimes go hand in hand with treachery.
Forging of a Knight, Hugo V. Negron's début novel, is mainly intended for children and young-adults but also adults, like myself, will find much to enjoy within its pages.
Negron’s story is set in a Merlin/King Arthur inspired world populated with elves, orcs, trolls, the undead and shapeshifters. It is high/epic fantasy for young-adults, not comparable with adult epic fantasy like the Wheel of Time as works of that type would be far too hard for children to digest. It is a book in which the incorporation of fantasy elements is done well, far above my expectations.
In Forging of a Knight we follow the early footsteps of Qualtan, a knight to be. In the detailed prologue Negron introduces Qualtan's father as a hero but upon his father's death the boy's great uncle, the wizard Aurelus takes him under his wing. The time has come for Qualtan to claim his heritage but just as he is getting familiar with the world he finds himself placed in more than one in a perilous situation.
You should never judge a book by its cover but my first impressions of Forging of a Knight was that it looked magnificent and I just had to review it. It just seemed to appeal to my imagination greatly and I was not let down at all. There were several things that I liked about the book, one thing being how Negron employed his characters within his story. I perceived Qualtan as a very innocent boy who can only see the good in people, but this was only in the beginning and as the story continues and Qualtan grows up he becomes much bolder. I think that children, especially boys, will really relate to him - he has a cool magical sword, several magical properties himself and never backs out of a challenge. Another important character is the half-orc Glaive. Glaive, after an encounter with Qualtan, becomes a very close friend. In the beginning Qualtan and Glaive have several arguments, mainly about what is good and bad. Orcs are famous for being scoundrels and Qualtan, training to be a knight doesn't always agree with Glaive's actions but in the end they become fast friends that rely upon, support each other and actually need each other.
I also liked the Negron's storytelling - he tells a very good story and I didn't stray away from the letters once. The story by itself flows naturally with Qualtan and his quest to become a knight at its centre. Each thing that happens to Qualtan is there for a reason and the follow-up of the events is logical. It would have been wonderful if the book featured more illustrations depicting the important events: like the encounter with the druid, the undead and the elves would have done it for me.
Forging of a Knight is one of the better young adult books that I have read recently, with it setting of high/epic fantasy being not over the top and nicely done. And as a self published AND début novel it is a very impressive achievement indeed with the plus points being the rousing of your imagination by Negron’s storytelling and his usage of his characters. Although written in a linear way the sub-plot and plot itself was not at all obvious at all featured more than enough variation to keep things interesting.
I’d like to thank Hugo V. Negron for kindly providing the review copy.
Review by Jasper de Joode
8.6/10 from 1 reviews
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