War has erupted across the Seven Isles. Alexander has recovered the Sovereign Stone, and much to his surprise, it has bonded to him, revealing the truth of his bloodline and his duty. He is the Seventh Sovereign of the Seven Isles and champion of the Old Law.
Fleeing the wrath of Prince Phane, Alexander has traveled through the Reishi Gate to Ithilian in search of an alliance, only to discover that Ithilian is facing the threat of invasion as well.
Alexander struggles to bring the army of Ithilian to his aid while secretly searching for information about his unique magical calling, information that he desperately needs if he is to have any chance against Phane. What he finds is beyond anything he imagined.
©2011 David A. Wells (P)2014 Podium Publishing
Fabulous narration by Derek Perkins. MINDBENDER is a fantasy novel with pervasive romantic elements. PG-13: no explicit sex, no cussing, but numerous bloody battles and some necromancy. I'd almost go 3 stars for this somewhat engrossing story but the writing style is quite lame: unsophisticated, repetitive, and pedantic (completely lacking in nuance and subtlety).
Told in 3rd person, the tone of these books felt strange to me: a disconcerting mix of intensely grim and excessively joyful. In the midst of seriously creepy danger, a character suddenly feels "pure joy" and "mischief" — these emotions felt forced and jarring, because they didn't fit into the dark scene.
The villain Prince Phane Reishi is flat, boring, and mostly off stage, but I am interested in the evil King Zhul. He's got a credible backstory and seems authentic.
This book, like the first two, is carried along by its pace. Rarely a dull moment. Scary monsters, those vampire-like revenants. However, the overall plot felt weaker in this book than it did in the first two books, mainly because it felt exactly the same. In book one, Alexander had to find a magical artifact called Thinblade. In book 2, he had to obtain the powerful sovereign stone. In this book 3, he had to find Mindbender. In all three books, he had to gain access to an ancient magical stronghold. In each book, Alexander and his friends are constantly attacked, always managing to escape death by a hair, their grievous wounds healed with a tablespoon of tonic.
Positives: Fast pace, likable characters, vivid monsters, some good battle strategies.
Negatives: The author's writing style requires improvement in my view:
1) THE TONE felt slightly preachy. Examples: The hero repeatedly dwells on how it's wrong to kill and then he justifies his kills via the Old Law. This felt like the author was trying to teach me a moral about righteous murder. In addition, the text includes several simplistic proverbs about life (teachings Alexander learned from his "dad" in childhood). Another area that felt sermonizing: the hero's frequent internal rants against government officials, all those corrupt "petty nobles" — I got a strong libertarian vibe from this author.
2) SUBTLETY: Wells leaves nothing to interpretation — he spells out each new step in the plot and is careful to highlight the good nature of each protagonist (because we couldn't figure that out by what they did?). The author reveals far too many of the hero's thoughts and feelings, REPEATED numerous times. The hero is far too good, and we are constantly told that he is "worthy" — in not so many words.
3) DIALOGUE: The dialogue is not clever or witty or wise. It is rather vapid and quite REPETITIVE. For example, Chloe always calls Alex "My Love" and he always calls her "Little One" (ad nauseum!). The body gestures are also vapid and repetitive: "he looked him in the eye" and "he saluted fist to heart" (once we hear how they salute, we don't need to be told each time. It felt like Wells repeatedly used that type of salute to emphasis that these are "good" people. Silly. Anyone can salute "fist to heart" (and still be deceitful). Jattan always stands at attention with his hands clasped behind his back. Why do we need to be told this repeatedly? I get the picture.
4) VOCAB: Alexander referred to his parents as "mom and dad" which pulled me straight into the 20th century, as did modern slang phrases like "man up" and "you guys" and "cocky grin". Scientific terms like "gravity" and "adrenaline" wouldn't have existed in a world without Isaac Newton or modern biochemistry. In this fantastical setting, it would make more sense to call gravity "the downward force" and to call adrenaline "terror-driven energy" or something similar.
I like the vivid descriptions, but they do go on too long.
Still, despite all these quibbles, I felt oddly compelled to read several books in the series, skipping some of them to get to the last book, and see how the series concludes. In the end, I feel these books were somewhat exhausting (so much death, so many demonic monsters) and not really worth my time. I doubt I'll read more books by this author, unless he improves his craft.
However, readers who enjoy this type of thing might truly love this series, especially if they don't pay much attention to writing style. I can understand all the positive ratings, in that perspective.
I’ve been meaning to write a review of each of the book in the Seven Isles series, but just haven’t seemed to get around to it. Now that I completed it, I have decided to write a review of the entire series instead. I guess as a whole I would best describe The Seven Isles as The Wheel Of Time Lite. With much of the same concepts, evil returns to the world, as a young hero and his friends take up the unwanted duties to save mankind, the Seven Isles doesn’t have quite the depth of Robert Jordan’s novels.
Books one and two are much the same, and center around the young hero Alexander. After his brother is murdered, he returns home to find that an evil Arch Mage has arisen from the dead, and Alexander is the long lost ancestor of an ancient king, the only person who can defeat the mage. Predictably, our young hero wants nothing to do with saving the world, but the Arch Mageforces his hand by sending evil forces to kill him. The story stays exclusively with Alexander’s character in the first two books as he and his friends run for their lives. The story almost becomes comical as they are repeatedly attacked by both men and creatures. It seems that our band of heroes can only walk mere steps before another attack comes from soldiers, wizards, demons, dragons, and wild animals. At one point they are attacked by a swarming hive of bees. Each time they barely survive and must heal themselves with magic or potions. It really became a bit ridiculous the amount of times characters should have died only to healed just in time. Despite these things, for some reason I still found myself enjoying the books enough to continue.
Books three and four of the series mark a vast improvement. After two books of following only Alexander, the book suddenly opens up to include the view points of other characters. The best of these are Alexander’s new wife Isabel, and his sister Abigail. The story improves greatly from this point as plots begin to take form, and the group does less running and hiding. Alexander begins to strengthen his magic, and his friends find they have some powers as well.
Books five and six form a bit of a lull in the series as Alexander is either injured or in the custody of one enemy or another for much of the two books. He learns to project his image to anywhere in the world, and spends much of these two books helping the others from afar. The other character blossom more in this book, which was a good thing, but waiting for Alexander to return to the action got a little old. Secondary plots are given more time as Alexander is away.
The seventh and final book is by far the best of the series as our heroes prepare for and execute the final battle with evil. The final battle is drawn out nicely, and most plots are put to rest nicely so the the world may live happily ever after.
Overall, despite this story not being the most complex or original, it redeemed itself with likable characters and an overall enjoyable feel to it. Yes the good characters were good beyond the point of saints, and the evil were predictably wicked, but I found myself enjoying the series more and more as I went along. I almost gave up on this series after book two, but for some reason I found myself wanting to continue on. By the end I found the Seven Isles to be very rewarding listen.
I really enjoyed the first couple of books. The story is original and engaging, but by book three, I'm beginning to feel like the whole series is one book long but padded with so many battle scenes that it has been stretched into four volumes.
The most interesting aspect of the story is the bards story, the least interesting, repetitious battle scenes. I have to say though that although the author seems to be trying to portray strong female characters, they come across as weak, stereotypical, insecure, wimpy women. I got tired of the constant repetition of "yes my love".
He did well, it was the story that let me down.
Probably watch it on demand.
I'm hoping book four is more interesting because I already bought it. So far it's too predictable.
Fun and exciting, some luls but overall a great book. Can't wait to delve in to the next in line 😁
I really do love this whole story line. very well written and read!!!
a must read. fast paced and keeps you wanting more!!!! :-)
Overall this was another entertaining read. No big surprises or unexpected plot twists but it's easy to like the characters, and is appropriate for my teenage sons to read as well.
The Sovereign series remains an excellent read.
The third book in the series has begun to take on some aspects of an author straining to fill up enough space to make a good book of it. The author has begun to bring other characters into the forefront of the narative causing some splintering and dilution of the story.
"The Epic Adventure continues :-)"
Nothing exceeds the bounds of imagination. Light battles against Dark the end uncertain. Men and Women, boys and girls all battle with human qualities. As in real life, some are more talented than others but are not extolled above others by their peers. Heroes have humanity and humility. Sterling qualities. I am about to continue with the saga of the Seven Isles.
"Sovereign of the Seven Isles is a must have."
I got the whole series on audio and I'm so happy I did.
This is far the best I have listerned to so far.
The begining of the story, I got straight into it, Derek Perkins brought this book to life, I will be looking for more books narrated by him. Well done Derek, beautifully read.
Haven't read the book, I listerned to it, none stop brilliants and will listern to it again, very well written I will be looking for more books written by you,
This should be made into a film, had me on the edge of my seat at times, didn't want to put it down, I couldn't wait for what would happen next, very well read, very easy to follow the story. I loved this book and will look for more.
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