I like epic fantasy. I love the adventure, the world-changing events, the tiny details that go into the whole. It’s wonderful. Which means it’s strange I haven’t ready any for a while. So I was thrilled to get into Martin Owton’s Exile, the first book in the Nandor Tales.
1. Thoughts on the plot
This book follows Aron of Darien as he stumbles into the Earldom of Nandor. He kills their blademaster and as recompense must rescue the Earl’s son from the neighbouring land Sarazan. This may be more complicated than Aron expects, since he has to deal with determined nobles, guards both competent and incompetent, spectres from the past, and divine powers who have taken an interest in the goings-on.
The plot started out relatively straightforward; Aron must rescue Maldwyn from Sarazan. Then, things became complicated. I really enjoyed the various twists and turns of this book, which went places I had not expected. I thought it was very well crafted, with each turn adding more to the story and enriching the reading experience.
I do feely badly for Aron, though. It’s difficult to deal with so many incompetent people.
2. Thoughts on the characters
For a main character who is both running from his past and determined to seek vengeance for past deeds, I found Aron remarkably down-to-earth. He was calm when the situation called for it, humble when people around him were spouting off their accomplishments or abilities, and capable when things got…problematic. He was perhaps a little too “as the wind blows” at the beginning, but the purpose became clearer and more prominent with the movement of the story.
The other characters were also interesting, though I think Lady Alice was perhaps my favourite. She’s very good at what she does.
3. Favourite part
The decision at the end. Smart man.
I haven’t got any major critiques for this book. The writing was smooth and interesting, the characters were enjoyable, the plot was well paced. Everything was enjoyable, though I am curious about what will happen next, seeing as Aron’s decision at the end lead me to question the series title. I apologise if that’s vague. Spoilers.
Overall, I would say that Exile was a very good epic style fantasy adventure. I enjoyed it quite a bit and am curious to see where the series will go!