Seven Princes: Shaper Series Book One – John R. Fultz

Posted: February 28, 2013 in fantasy, Review
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sevenprincesThere’s a hell of a lot happening in this first volume of a new fantasy series, and apart from a couple of reasonably brief slow spots, it moves along at a very brisk pace.  ‘Seven Princes’ is a dark fantasy saga that’s epic in scope, and at times reads like a big-budget action film unfolding. …But don’t let that analogy put you off; it’s not nearly as overblown or daft as the average Michael Bay summer blockbuster.

All the classic/traditional elements are here: Heroic warriors & black-hearted villains; Legendary creatures; Magic & sorcery; Romance, war & betrayal; Triumph & tragedy. And blood-soaked carnage on a grand scale…  Yep, there’s a very high body count in this book, and not just among the supporting cast. No one’s safe in this story as the author’s not at all afraid to kill off important main characters in order to advance or thicken the plot. That was a refreshing change, and I found myself really surprised at a couple of characters’ unexpected early exits.

John Fultz is a writer of comics and that probably explains the almost cinematic style of the narrative at times. That’s not a criticism though – it suits the story he’s telling and certainly keeps things moving forward.

Seven Princes is Fultz’s first novel, and occasionally that shows, mainly in the pacing, and in not getting to know some of the characters or places as much as we should. There’s enough happening in Seven Princes to comfortably fill a couple of novels, and it would have been nice to see the story given at least another couple of hundred pages or so, just to let the world and its characters breathe a little more deeply.

Fultz is a storyteller who knows how to spin a good yarn. Sure, it mightn’t be the most original fantasy story around (if such a thing even exists now) but it uses the familiar elements well, and it’s an entertaining read.

Seven Princes won’t be to everyone’s tastes to be sure, but if you don’t mind your heroic fantasy sprinkled with horror and seasoned with graphic & gory violence, then this is definitely worth a look.

Orbit

Supplied by Hatchette New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

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