Arch Wizard by Ed Greenwood

arch wizard coverI picked up this book because I thought the first one was decent and I liked the concept. Rod Everlar, a fantasy writer who thinks he is the sole creator of the world Falconfar, gets pulled into the very world he thought was fiction in order to save it from the evil wizards called Dooms trying to take it over. He discovers he is one of several Shapers, people who can control what happens in Falconfar using their dreams or writing. Taeauna, wingless Aumrarr who originally came to Rod and brought him to Falconfar, believes he is the Lord Archwizard who can save them all. See, doesn’t it sound like a great idea? By the end of the first book in the Falconfar Saga, Dark Lord, Taeauna has been kidnapped by the evil Doom Malraun and Rod is left on his own to stay alive, and hopefully save Taeauna. The summary of this book, Arch Wizard, on the inside front cover flap, reads thusly:

Having been drawn into a fantasy world of his own creation, Rod Everlar continues his quest to defeat the corruption he has discovered within. He sets off in pursuit of the dark wizard Malraun, only to find that he has raised an army of monsters and mercenaries in order to conquer the world…

I can understand why the summary is so exceedingly simple and vague, because the book is anything but. It is ridiculously complicated, with a plethora of characters and POVs that I think were supposed to make the story more interesting but instead made it way too confusing. I read the first book a few years ago, so I didn’t remember much about it besides the main characters and it was good enough that I wanted to read the second one. Luckily, Greenwood provides as VERY brief “The Story Thus Far” at the beginning of the book that wasn’t all that helpful. I was almost a full third of the way into the book before I started figuring out which character was which and what was going on. I finally looked for a character list and found one in the back of the book, which I referenced repeatedly, even though Greenwood warned you that plot points might be given away. I didn’t care, I had no clue what was going on otherwise. It was very frustrating.

This entire book read like one of those in-between novels, that was just setting you up for the next one. Which now that I think about it, that’s what the first book was like too, with a cliffhanger ending, explaining why I wanted to read the next one. The bad news is, it was so poorly done, I don’t want to read the next one. I almost didn’t even finish this one, just kept holding out hope that it was going to get better (it didn’t) Rod was going to have a bigger role and be more interesting (he wasn’t) and Taeauna was going to be her own character again instead of Malraun’s mind-controlled sex slave (never happened). Tons of new characters were introduced–at least, they were new to me since if they were in the last book they were not very memorable–and they never seemed to connect to anything else that was happening. Worst of all, I just finished reading this book mere moments ago, and honestly, I couldn’t summarize it for you any better than that annoyingly vague summary from the cover flap. What a disappointment. Don’t bother reading this book.

Happy reading (of other things),

-Branwen

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