3 out of 4 stars
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Something terrible happened in the Vale World: the great hammer of the Green Dragon King Highborn was stolen. A hammer might not sound like such a big loss, but that's only because you are not familiar with the Vale World yet. The giants are planning to take over the Vale World, and if the hammer won't be restored soon, there will be no way to stop them. The Vale World would become a miserable place to live in, and the elves can't let it happen. Five elven heroes are sent to make things right, but little do they know that they are not alone on their journey: a young elf named Dazza is following them, and he is going to change everything.
In his book, "Elvenfold Hammerquest", Brex Francorum introduces us to a fascinating world filled with unique creatures and interesting tales. The author did a great job in portraying the Vale World and its creatures. This is impressive, because not only are there so many different creatures in the Vale World, but most of them are divided into various species or clans, and each specie or clan is unique in its own way. The author gave each specie or clan a character of its own and drew a live picture of all of them. The author created a live picture not only of each specie or clan separately but also of the society they form. We get to know each specie or clan, its rules, its culture, and its interactions within itself and with the other species and clans around. In addition, the author embeds many engaging and interesting tales during the book, and they taught me a lot about the Vale World and its creatures. I like how the author let us get to know the Vale World so deeply. His detailed and colorful descriptions brought the Vale World to life in my head.
Another thing I like about the book is the well-constructed plot and the way it contributes to the character development. The book consists of several storylines that don't seem connected at first, but as the story goes on you see how they converge. There are many characters in the book, and each storyline revolves around a different character or a group of characters. I liked how each character is part of a different journey, and how each journey brings new sides out of the characters, makes them grow and evolve, and let us get to know them better. I particularly enjoyed Dazza's character development. At the beginning of the book, he is a curious and a bit impulsive young lad who always seeks adventures, gets into trouble, and plays in being an adult. During his journey, he learns to think before he acts, to manage on his own, and to be careful when it's needed. He matures a lot and discovers new powers within himself. He copes with difficult situations that only few of his age would be able to manage, finds his destiny, and literally becomes an adult in many ways. This is a huge character development, and that is just one example of how the characters in the book change and evolve during their journey.
With all that said, the book has some aspects to improve. Something about the way that the story is told creates distance between the reader and the characters. There are too many instances where events and feelings in the book are told and not shown. For example, when Dazza finally meets the five heroes, it's reported to us that they are very surprised to see him, ask him a lot of questions, and he answers them all nervously with honesty and humility. This is one of the many instances where I wanted the author to show us the events and the feelings of the characters instead of reporting them. Moreover, some of the reports in the book are missing significant details. For instance, at the beginning of the book there is a scene where Dazza eavesdrops the Elven Council and decides to follow the heroes on their journey. We are told that the things he heard in the council made him feel strong emotions like startle, excitement, and more. However, we don't get to know what were the things that he heard. It's true that we can guess the subject of the conversation by the summary of the book, but this is not enough. When you read a book, you want to feel that you are there with the characters. You want to hear what they hear, see what they see, and feel what they feel. This is what enables you to get attached to the characters and feel part of their journey. In this book, it was missing. In addition, for some reason, there is almost no direct speech in the book, only reported one. This means that we rarely "hear" the characters talk. Instead, the author constantly uses sentences like "he said that…", "she let him know that she…", and so on. This felt very unnatural and contributed to the distance between the reader and the characters.
Another weakness of the book is the many errors it contains. Typo, spelling and punctuation mistakes appeared frequently in the book, more than ten times. The book could use some better editing.
For these reasons, I can't give the book four stars. To be honest, in the beginning, I wasn't even sure it will reach three stars. I wasn't pulled into the story right away. The issues I had with the narrative made it hard for me to get attached to the characters and feel part of their journey. However, as the story proceeded, I found myself more and more caught in the story and attached to the characters. Though the issues with the narrative kept bothering me, I enjoyed the book and think it deserves 3 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to people who enjoy fantasy and adventures. The book is appropriate for children and adults alike, but children might find it difficult to follow the events.
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