A young mage hidden at birth and raised in anonymity by a lowborn family? Check. A coming of age story with an obvious love interest? Check. An evil ..Show More »rival that wrongs said love interest? Check. I could keep on going but you get the point. If you have read a lot of fantasy then you have read this all before, and while there is nothing terribly wrong with The Blacksmith's Son, there is also very little to make it stand apart from the competition.
All of the wizards in this land were killed off by a group of assassins years ago, well except for Mordecai who is the son of a great wizard that was secreted off as a baby and raised by a lowly Blacksmith. When Mordecai attends an event at the local Lord's castle for the first time his social clumsiness causes him to offend a visiting noble. It turns out that this offended lordling also happens to be a wizard - what are the chances? As their rivalry grows this bodes ill for Mordecai as he is completely untrained in how to use his power.
As Mordecai rushes to learn about his power, the stakes grow from rivalry to violence and eventually toward potential war. With his true origin finally revealed Mordecai must come to terms with his new place in noble society, the subtleties of inter-kingdom politics, and of course his love for Penny, the beautiful girl he grew up with and never noticed before. All of these challenges are handled by Mordecai in a manner that lacks complexity and Penny's character really isn't any deeper. In fact, a couple of days after she is sexually assaulted by Mordecai's rival she shakes it off and takes her physical relationship with Mordecai to the next level. All of the characters just move too quickly from one event to another without allowing enough time for their personalities to change and grow. The story arc is sophisticated enough to warrant better character development but sadly you won't find it here.
To be fair, I didn't hate it, but it also never grabbed me. Todd McLaren does a good job on some of the male character voices but his 3rd person narration felt as artificial as the characters' actions. It all adds up to an uninspired package that had the potential to be a lot more than it is.
Im not sure having the audio over the print is better per say, but it is fun to hear it narrated with character behind each voice and it's great when ..Show More »you have things to do with your hands and cant sit still to read!
God Stone War is the first in this series (Other than the prequel) that I was entertained from start to finish and then even kept you intrigued for Fi..Show More »nal Redemption. With the previous 3 installments, I kept loosing interest before being caught up again. Manning does that really well. He wants there to be filler in the books so that they aren't over in a 100 pages, but the filler is never that great. With God-Stone War, he doesn't need filler, and the filler he does use is intriguing (Like the discussion over the World Road and the Trip to see Marc).
The fight between the people of Cameron and the Gods is brilliantly done because it tells us how smart Mort is beyond how powerful he is. It also brings together the characters and binds them even more into a family. Which makes it much more of an intriguing story.
Then after all that, you get the battle between Mort and Timmy, and the horribleness that follows that fight. It's a great/sad conclusion to this book that sets up everything in the future.
Book 4 is fantastic and you can tell that Manning is getting better at his trade with every word he writes. I always wondered how Embers of Illeniel was so great while Blacksmith's Son and Unbound felt a little lacking, but with God Stone War and now listening to Final Redemption, it's clear that Manning is finding his stride.