Review of ‘Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero’ by Charles Yallowitz
In delving into the world of self-publishing, I have decided to include some self-publications in my reading quota for 2013. To share my experiences, I am trying to write reviews for those I finished. So here is the first in the series:
Review of Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero by Charles Yallowitz
Set in a vast world that has its origins in roleplaying, young Luke Callindor sets out on his journey to carve a name for himself as a hero. Born into a famous family, he is determined to find his own fame and fortune and not lean on his family’s credentials.
For those who are familiar with roleplaying games and their fantasy world of high magic and adventure, this story takes you immediately into a world where heroes come in the shape of humans, dwarves, elves, gnomes and halflings and where some monsters may have jumped right out of the Monster Manual. Others may find themselves a little bombarded. The great scenes and well-developed world create a solid backdrop to the story.
The tone of the story is light-hearted and fun, which by no means prevents the author from painting dire scenes and dark plot twists. The villain, a Lich, for instance, gets up to an awful lot of evil plotting.
The characters in the story have received a lot of care and attention in creation. I have to say that Luke, the main protagonist, was actually one of my least favourites. His cocky arrogance and naive nature, might be good qualities for heroism, they did little to endear him to me. A much more likable character is Nimby, the halfling thief. On the verge of being a stock character, he manages to rise above it in his friendship with the gnome Fritz. Where some of the dialogue in the book seems artificial and rather long-winded, their bantering is highly amusing. They character that really grew on me throughout the story was Kevin. The scene near the fountain I found particularly moving. On the whole, the male characters felt better fleshed out and believable than the female ones, a common flaw in fantasy (think Robert Jordan).
I feel that the dialogue offers some room for improvement. Characters tend to hold long speeches in their eagerness to express what they are feeling and what they are thinking. This distracts and ultimately creates unnecessary distance.
The many plot twists and changing of scenes helped to keep the pace high but felt a little choppy at times. The pace slowed down considerably once the story moved to the Academy. Overall, I really enjoyed the story despite its flaws. Apart from a few minor editing errors, the e-book version was produced with care and attention. As a debut novel by a self-published author, this is by no means a bad start and with added experience in writing, I have high hopes for the second book in the series.