To begin, I would like to Adrian G. Hilder and Camdaw for sending me a copy of The General’s Legacy, Part 1: Inheritance in exchange for an honest review. This is the excellent and highly polished first part of Hilder’s debut outing. Part 2: Whiteland King will complete The General’s Legacy when it is released shortly.
The tale begins in a highly intriguing manner with readers about to witness an epic battle revealing the intense hatred between the two opposing armies of Valendo and Nearhon. We are introduced to the aging General Garon who is one of the finest warriors, thinkers, and commanders ever recorded within the War Histories of Valendo. Fighting alongside him as many times before are some of his most trusted companions including the mage, Zeivite and the Silver Warrior, Quain. This prologue is a great introduction and is full of short sharp action set pieces showcasing the catastrophic effects this world’s magic can wreck, highlighting the courage and wit of some of the characters involved and also included some pretty grotesque monsters controlled by enemy mages.
Fast forward fifteen years and we follow the happenings of current day Valendo. Mainly following the actions of three Princes whose grandfather is the above-mentioned general. The book isn’t written in full chapter point of view perspectives like say, Game of Thrones. Instead, it switches between numerous characters actions and thoughts seamlessly well with the pacing nicely composed. These initial aspects introduced the players, family relationships, politics, histories and were slower than the intense prologue. This section was similar to the beginning of John Gwynne’s – Malice.
The magic powers controlled by only a handful of individuals in any nation with destructive capabilities that can defeat entire armies is nothing really new to the genre but I think it is presented admirably and furthermore, two of the most interesting/complex characters are magic wielders. Although the action only really takes place in two of the nations, I think the main characters are well sculptured. These include Nearhon’s archmage, Magnar and Prince Cory’s potential love interests, Julia. About half way through this narrative, proceedings get really interesting when a new dangerous but unknown enemy to Valendo is introduced. At this point, things really heat up and the story is then crammed with numerous sieges, enhanced magery and also with some undead and a mysterious lizard-like man thrown into the mix.
Inheritance, as noted, is the first part of The General’s Legacy and I imagine once both parts are released will form the first segment in the fantasy epic of The General Of Valendo. I am unaware how many books Hilder has planned to create in this world but this is a fascinating and highly positive start. This part is approximately 240 pages which I raced through within two days. The chapters tend to be 15-20 pages in length so I was given the “just one more chapter” buzz in the way good books can entice further reading. I will be honest and say that it is a shame that The General’s Legacy is not being released as one novel. I don’t know much about book marketing but I can imagine it is easier to get a 240-page debut commissioned than it is for a 500+ book. I wanted to clearly mention in my review that this is a two-parter as at the finale, things aren’t as tied up or concluded as they are in most full fantasy stories, therefore; I didn’t want people to look on this as a negative it if they weren’t fully aware. Think more Sanderson publishing Words of Radiance Part 1 and Part 2 in the UK as separate books and you will get the idea. I could only give the book this rating for the above reason. That being said, the last 50% of the book is great, especially the final few chapters. The last scene was interesting, unlike the others and there is an awesome reveal about where the story might go next. Depending on how Part 2 pans out then I may revisit this and mention what the combined full story deserves but as a standalone, the rating is as I have set.
To conclude, although this doesn’t reinvent the wheel, I can easily see the amount of effort Hilder has put into this book even if he wears some of his fantasy influences on his sleeve. It has been edited better than a lot of major name fantasy books I have read recently. This is an exceptional debut outing which fantasy fans should really know about. I think fans of The Faithful and the Fallen would definitely enjoy. I can see this attracting younger readers’ too (say 14-18-year-olds) yet that isn’t to say that that it doesn’t include a good amount of horror and destruction because it does.