Title & Author: Demoni Vankil (Hobin Luckyfeller’s Fieldguide, Book 1), Jaime Buckley
Genre & Publication Date: Fantasy Novella, September 21, 2011
Book Description: “During the darkest time of a generation, the Kings of the world gather to do the impossible: bind the Devil himself. The price of success will be far greater than any could imagine.
An ancient puzzle box.
A Council of Whispers.
…and a clerk.
Discover the 700 year old secret millions died to protect.”
First Line: As a fishis (Field Scribe Historian), you tend to collect a lot of…well, stuff.
My Take: This book was provided to me by the author for review.
There’s a lot to love here and certainly this novella draws the reader into a fantastical world with many races and a rich history, of which a singular epoch is the focal point of the tale. The quality of writing is good, but I ran into a few bumps.
We enter at an important discovery made by a clerk, an archivist, named Hobin. I enjoyed the narrator’s quirky, passionate voice and the first-person perspective that shifted between him and the mage (whose words were relayed to the reader by letters Hobin had found).
I was quite engrossed in what was going on and definitely wanted to find out more, but from the beginning my experience was a bit like coming into a conversation I didn’t hear the beginning of. I found myself a little adrift in terms and references that it seemed I was expected to know already. This book is the first based off of another series the author has written, but it doesn’t seem that one can delve into this world for the first time through Hobin.
Another issue that took me somewhat out of the story: I assumed the setting was in a medieval type fantasy age, so when the narrator mentions a cybernetic eye, I was a bit thrown. Cybernetics in general lead my thoughts to science-fiction, not Tolkien-esque fantasy. Perhaps this is a misplaced assumption on my part but my reading experience stumbled over it. Maybe there’s explanation of this in other books?
The Magical: I loved perspective of the letters from the mage. This format reminded me of correspondence between John Adams and his wife. It really felt like I was taking a peek into the history of this world from the personal perspective of someone living it. The feeling behind the words written to his loved ones really made the trials and sacrifices have an emotional impact. I only wish we could’ve glimpsed some of the letters he received from his wife.
The Mundane: Aside from what’s been mentioned already, there was a tendency to use “…” quite a bit. A couple of these indicate…a thought process. Too many, especially on the same page, become distracting and seem more like an author tick.
Summary of Thoughts: In all, a good story but it lacked the foundation a reader needs to feel grounded in the world which lessened some of the emotional resonance to some events (with the exception of the mage in the letters–these were awesome).
Also, and this may just be my perspective, there seemed to be a lack of tension on the narrator’s side. Why is it important to find out what happened, aside from learning the truth of an important period of time or about those overlooked by history? What makes it vital to Hobin’s world? And if it was a secret, there needed to be some type of threat over him that tried to prevent his research. Aside from a group of snarky academics, no one seemed to mind.
On a side note, I’d recommend going through the index of terms cited at the end of the book before reading the story itself. This will make it easier to know the meaning of the different names for the races of the kingdom. I was almost halfway through before I came across mention that “Evolu” are elves.
Although this is marked as Book 1, it is not a story that can be read separately from its greater work (which I looked up and believe is “Chronicles of a Hero”). It seems to be a secondary series to another series. Without reading the other one first, a few more breadcrumbs are needed to avoid getting lost on the trail.
Many thanks to author Jaime Buckley for providing a copy of the book to review!
Curious what others thought? Check out Amazon’s reviews here
Want to know more about the author, explore his website Wanted Hero