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Book Review: The Chadash Chronicles Omnibus

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Book – Fool’s Errand (Chadash Chronicles#1)
Author – David G. Johnson
Star rating – ★★★★★
Plot – unique, well developed and paced
Characters – individual, diverse, intriguing
Movie Potential – ★★★★★
Ease of reading – very easy to read
Cover – ✔
Suitable Title – ✔
Would I read it again – Yes. Definitely.

** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **

I have to admit that I’m not a Christian. This is important for one reason – the Foreword. I’m an open minded scientific daydreamer who doesn’t disbelief any religion, but questions all. I flit between open minded awareness of all religions and being unconvinced.

However, just reading the Foreword of this book, I knew David and I were going to get on just fine. Rowling, Tolkien and Lewis are some of my all time favourite authors and I completely understand where he’s coming from in the Foreword. I’ve read a predominantly Christian book series before, in the fantasy genre, and loved it. It made me believe, it made me question and it made me cry. This book does the same.

The prologue was amazing, intriguing and thought provoking. It was so well written and explored that I sank right into the story. I’ll admit that I could have read this type of story for the entire book. But the author does admit that you can miss out the prologue if you’re not into the Christian theme, without losing any of the story.

HOWEVER – I really suggest you don’t miss it. Whether you believe or not, the prologue is a piece of genius that opens your eyes to the rest of the story and the real meaning behind everything that is going on. If you’ve already read this story and loved it, but you haven’t read the prologue, then please think about going back and reading it. You won’t be disappointed!

Now, onto the story. I don’t want to give you a synopsis of the entire book. That’s not the point of my review. My review is to point out the good and bad things about this book, so that you can decide whether it is something you would like to read.

I loved this book.

I think the characters are unique, with amazing depth and capacity and their relationship with the other characters is so involved and key to the progression of the story. It really is a joy to read this book. Around every corner (or every page) is a secret that we have to wait to discover with great anticipation.

The story isn’t too fast or too slow, it’s not one of those that throw a lot of events at you and then never explores them. This book sets a good pace right off the bat and keeps that pace through the whole story. I like that the idea of the ‘fool’s errand’ is continued throughout the story and that the ‘raid’ at the beginning eases you into the story superbly. We instantly get to know the characters and how they get along together, as well as getting a hint of the story that’s to come.

Sometimes the length of the description can interfere with the moment and flow of the story. E.g. background stories, history and explanation of the different people in Chadash. It’s interesting, but doesn’t always have an obvious relevance.

I feel for Thatcher and Melizar the most. I was really sorry for Thatcher, after the battle, when we found out what happened with the Guild. I have to say though that Melizar is by far the most relatable character for me. His journey of doubt and confusion is very like my own relationship with God, which makes him an intriguing character. I see things that make me believe and wonder, like he does, and then question what I see all over again because of doubts. I think there’s a character in this book for everyone, no matter what their religion or the journey they’re on.

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Book – Mystic’s Mayhem (Chadash Chronicles#2)
Author – David G. Johnson
Star rating – ★★★★★
Plot – unique, well developed and paced
Characters – individual, diverse, intriguing
Movie Potential – ★★★★★
Ease of reading – very easy to read
Cover – ✔
Suitable Title – ✔
Would I read it again – Yes. Definitely.

** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **

My boys are back! I have a total book crush on Thatcher and Melizar. It can’t be helped; they’re great characters.

Let me start by saying that Book 2 is just as good, if not better, than Book 1. I love the heartfelt, personal foreword and I find that the prologue answers a lot of questions I didn’t even know I had about Melizar’s history, from Book 1. I find this author to be very clever in the way he dishes out information about his characters. You get snippets here and there, when it’s important, but you never feel like you’re missing out on anything until you discover the secret. It’s the way I want to read a book; I don’t know something is missing until I’m told about it.

As usual, this book gets straight into the action right away. My boys are excellent, as always, and really grow during the course of this book. Probably as the author intended, I feel like every new chapter is a new journey and a new step forward for each character. It’s a display of writing skill that has quickly made David. G. Johnson one of my favourite fantasy authors. If not my absolute favourite.

This book does something that Book 1 didn’t do a lot – we go into the minds and lives of the enemy. We’re taken back and we get to see exactly what happened in Cyria before and after our Heroes left the country, and we found out a little more about just how sneaky and vindictive the Cyrian princess Tarynna can really be.

This book is about the Blue Mystic, the underhanded mage who has been helping Cyria try to cause chaos and havoc that our Heroes have constantly come up against. So in the battle with the Blue Mystic, around halfway through the book, it’s a real surprise to see that Melizar could be beaten by them. He’s a big strapping lad, with lots of magical skill and knowledge, but I really worried about him during that fight, as I worried about them all. I’m Team Heroes all the way, for this series, but I have to be honest about this and admit that I gave a little ‘whoop’ of joy when they turned it fight around and Melizar did his little bone trick. It was pretty epic. Though, I do feel sorry for my poor Thatcher, after the whole Xiao incident. But he’s only a boy and he’ll learn.

The reveal of the Blue Mystic’s identity couldn’t have been more of a surprise. It was such a clever choice and very unexpected; I never saw it coming from a mile away. Another big surprise was Gideon’s first stop after arriving at Paryn’s Gate. Seeing the King etc, was expected, but where he went after dark was quite the shock. But it made perfect sense, and it also explained quite a few things that I’d been wondering about. I’m very interested to see where this revelation takes us.

I must admit that I really love the relationship between Thatcher and Melizar; they’re an unlikely duo, but I think they’re great together. I love that they teach each other new things and neither has the ego that makes it awkward or embarrassing for them to learn from someone so different to them. It’s the same when Goldain learns from Arreya. That’s good too, because too often you find male characters in fantasy book, in books in general, unwilling to learn anything from a woman, or even give her this much trust. It was so good to see that Thatcher was able to use his skills and his new teachings, to help the group. I really think he’s got more to show us later.

Now, yes, unfortunately I have to mention the sad parts. I don’t want to, because I still get teary thinking about it but here goes. Ari. His entire back-story had me sniffling at one in the morning; it was very sad, but also a good lesson for Gideon, to change his mind. I’m glad it did. I think that decision will be important later in Book 3. King Paryn and King Cyrus getting together, as well, was one that had me full out crying. The meeting was almost painfully beautiful and yet utterly simple. Such skill in the writing, to make it feel both at the same time.

Overall, this story is as brilliant as Book 1, and I can’t wait for part 3. Everything about it is pretty much perfect. Anything less than 5 stars is a travesty.

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Book – Paryn’s Gold (The Chaddash Chronicles #3)
Author – David G Johnson
Star rating – ★★★★★
Plot – as brilliantly devised and executed as before
Characters – as loveable, rogueable and magnificent as ever. Loved the new ones too.

Movie Potential – ★★★★★
Ease of reading – really easy to read and follow
Cover – ✔
Suitable Title – ✔
Would I read it again – Most definitely.

** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **

Let me just admit, before I get too far, that I’m a massive fan of this series so far. When I was asked if I wanted to read and review an advanced copy of this book, I just about did a fangirl scream and said ‘Gimme! Gimme!’. I refrained, but it didn’t lessen my excitement for starting this story.

And it did not disappoint.

As ever, I always think the introduction/foreword or whatever comes before the actual story is important. It’s there for a reason. So that’s where I’m going to start. Mr Johnson says:
Whatever else is true of my stories, I sincerely hope that my books do not devolve into predictable, black and white stereotypes of believing heroes and unbelieving villains.
[…]
I do not believe my works force my faith upon anyone or put any constraints on them to believe in order to enjoy my novels.” 
Well, I can reassure him there, because I’m not a believer. I’m one of those people who is too curious about everything, to ever truly believe in the one thing. But I wholeheartedly believe in these characters, their stories and the way that Mr Johnson so seamlessly tricks your mind into expecting one thing, while he delivers another.

To the story:
Looks like the heroes of Dragon Pass are riding together again.” 
I couldn’t have said it any better myself, Gideon. But then, wait for it…Thatcher jumps in with that loveable, roguish charm as always.
Gideon: “Looks like the heroes of Dragon Pass are riding together again. If all goes well, we should be back in Aton-Ri within ten days.” 
Thatcher grinned. “If all goes well, captain, it will be the first time, and a pleasant surprise.” Yes it would, Thatch. And it would be all the more boring for it, if everything went to plan.

I can’t even express to you how happy I was to slip back into this series. It was like going to my favourite holiday destination, where I knew everyone and they knew me, with only a few changes to jump out and surprise me.

One of the new changes, was the addition of Tink and the mention of Tank and Tweet. Tink was a great new characters; he appears sparingly, at the beginning, but I see a lot of potential in him. He’s very funny, is friends with Thatcher and is steampunkish, which is nice to see.

However, there’s nothing I love more than a group of misfits getting together and becoming a family. That’s what these guys already are, but that doesn’t make this journey and less exciting, but more so. There’s an ease with each other, that is great to see. My two favourite characters, Thatcher and Melizar are more confident, even if a little cocky at the beginning. Their confidence, this time, is no longer false bravado but genuine belief in themselves and their companions.

It’s also really great, even for a fan like I am who has read both previous books, to have a recap of the small details. The land layout, weapons and races are all important details and I was relieved to have them gone over again, without it feeling overbearing or repetitive. They all came at a time in the story when it was important, unobtrusive and only reminded me of what was relevant to the story.

Yep, one big happy family.” Gideon gets the best lines. And this is true. Gideon is like the dad of the group and Thatcher the toddler who gets into all the trouble possible, but who is adorable enough to get away with it. Duncan is the crazy uncle who winds everybody up the wrong way, but that everyone loves, and Goldain the big brother, with the bone crushing hugs. Arreya is the mother figure and the strong, nurturing kind, while Melizar is the wise uncle, both teasing and a teacher.

I didn’t like Jacob, from the beginning. He seemed a little too hesitant to speak about what should have been a simple explanation. The fact that Thatcher and Melizar were suspicious, as well, just sealed the deal for me. I’d follow them anywhere, and I followed them right into thinking Jacob untrustworthy. You’ll have to read the book to find out if we were right or not. 😉

I was really glad to hear about Jeslyn again, even though her story was pretty comfortably settled at the end of the last book. It’s good that she got her ‘conclusion’ to her story. Again: read it and you’ll find out what I mean.

I loved the inclusion of the new characters Ramaz, Markus, Baridokos and Mortika. They are great, fun characters, always stirring the pot. I love the interactions between Markus and Melizar, as well as the big hard man with the soft interior feel I got from Markus. Baridokos was brilliant and a really strong character.

I really love that there is no one main character in all these books. The only consistently main character is the One Lord (God) and that seems right, since it’s all about his people and what they do in His name. I love that, however brilliant in their own right, all the characters are equal to each other and not one of them dominates the story more than the others. It also says a lot about the equality of the group, that no-one ever tries to overshadow the others either.

Nothing is ever easy for this lot, but they always take it in their stride, good or bad. I adore that Thatcher is learning to be less boastful and prideful, which is really helping him see the Light of the path to the One Lord. I also love that Melizar has little shining moments of clarity, but that it gets clouded with confusion, doubts and literal interpretations of knowledge, even right until the end.

Auntie is a brilliantly devised character. She’s a hoot and I can see her and Gideon, with his weird sense of humour, getting along famously.

But, when all is said and done, this is by far my favourite quote (and yes, it’s be Melizar):
Okay, step right up for your express doorway to the road to scenic Thalyia, where you can enjoy such varied activities as muggings, stabbings, poisonings and, for the truly adventurous, involuntary slavery. Don’t miss out, step on through, folks; only ten gold pieces for the adventure of a lifetime.” 
BEST. QUOTE. EVER.

I would, absolutely, definitely, positively, love to see Melizar, Thatcher and Malandry (Melizar’s brother) go on an adventure together. That would be EPIC! Throw in Baridokos and it could be an amazing party. I literally did a fist pump when Malandry popped up; I was so excited.

The funniest part of the book, would be when Baridokos was doped up from an in jury treatment from Auntie. He was hilarious. The saddest part? I can’t tell you. You’ll have to read it. The song sung by Ragar Truebolt was a good solid cry, but it wasn’t, by far, the first or the last. Let’s just say that me and this book have some unfinished business. I’m not sure it understands how difficult it was to read the last chapter, particularly from Melizar approaching Stonehold to the end of the book, with tears flooding my eyes and soaking everything in sight. Thanks very much, Paryn’s Gold. Great job.

Another great instalment from Mr Johnson that I will re-read again and again.

———————————————-

Book – The Saga of the Everking (The Chadash Chronicles #0.5)

Author – David G. Johnson

Star rating – ★★★★★

Plot – unique, informative

Characters – a great as the trilogy

Movie Potential – ★★★★★

Ease of reading – very easy to read

Cover – great

Suitable Title – yes

Would I read it again – definitely

* I WAS GIVEN A COPY OF THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW *

In all truth, I had a copy of this short for a long time, but could never find the time to read it. Other things kept getting in the way, so when the author told me the omnibus was about to be released and asked if I could provide a review, I jumped at the chance to finally read it, knowing that it would help him, too.

It’s been a while between my reading of the trilogy and this short story, but that hasn’t dampened my enjoyment of it. In fact, The Saga of the Everking has little snippets of things that relate to the events and people in the trilogy and has spiked my need to re-read it again.

In this short, we’re told the story of the Everking and how he united all the Qarahni people under one clan, until one mistaken decision led to his downfall and the separation of the individual clans. Reading this short took me straight back into the Chadash world. I was instantly transported back to familiar landscapes and people, despite the length of time it’s been between reading the trilogy and this short. There’s no disconnect between the two, though the stories only vaguely relate to each other.

In truth, this story made me miss the trilogy and the characters there. The author has such an amazing gift for storytelling that this world and these locations mentioned in The Saga of the Everking – though so different from what we as readers as used to – become familiar and crystal clear with his writing.

As for the story, I loved revisiting Goldain, who is one of the more mysterious characters of the trilogy, because of his unusual aptitude for both knowledge and battle. This story explains his past and how he became the way he is in the trilogy, while delivering a new story about new characters, at the very same time.

The use of The Grand Lorefather, Esa, as the catalyst for the story – a storyteller in himself – was genius. It let us settle into the familiar world of the Clans and reconnect with Goldain, before we were introduced to new characters. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure how that was going to go, because I tent to find it hard to bond with characters in a short story. But, this was done brilliantly. We were introduced to the new characters through Esa and Goldain’s conversations, then dipped into their world, through a flashback that took us way back in Chadash time. Only when the story of the Everking was complete and understanding dawned as to why his story was so important, did we return to Esa and Goldain, for another glimpse of the impact the story had on these characters.

Overall, another genius piece of writing from someone who has already become a favourite author of mine and an instant buy. If you’ve read the Chadash Chronicles, then read this. If not, then buy the omnibus and read ALL of it. You won’t be disappointed.

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