GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Book Review: The Iron Ring: Part I of the Saga of the Redeemed by Auston Habershaw | I Smell Sheep

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Book Review: The Iron Ring: Part I of the Saga of the Redeemed by Auston Habershaw

The Iron Ring: Part I of the Saga of the Redeemed
by Auston Habershaw
Kindle Price: $2.99
HarperCollins Publishers
Length: 192 pages
Tyvian Reldamar—criminal mastermind, rogue mage, and smuggler of sorcerous goods—has just been betrayed by his longtime partner and left for dead in a freezing river. To add insult to injury, his mysterious rescuer took it upon himself to affix Tyvian with an iron ring that prevents the wearer from any evildoing.

Revenge just got complicated.

On his quest to get even, Tyvian navigates dark international conspiracies, dodges midnight assassins, and uncovers the plans of the ruthless warlord Banric Sahand—all while running from a Mage-Defender determined to lock him up. Tyvian will need to use every dirty trick in the book to avoid a painful and ignominious end, even as he discovers that sometimes even the world's most devious man needs a shoulder to lean on.

First I'm going to make a confession about my fantasy book reading habits. I love fantasy—once I get started. I don't read much is hard work *hangs head*. The books throw you into a new world and you are bombarded with new (unpronounceable) names for too many territories, kings, guilds...then a mind boggling cast of characters that will converge for a climatic brew-ha-ha. I can't remember everything, and I get confused and collapse into a whiny puddle of inadequate-ness. But I liked the premise of The Iron Ring and hoped it be worth the puddle.

The Iron Ring's central character, Tyvian Reldamar, is one of my favorite types of characters, the anti-hero. He's an arrogant, educated, condescending ass who also happens to be the best at what he does: crime. For reasons we don't know yet, he was targeted by a mysterious man who places an iron ring on Tyvian's finger making it painful for him to do any misdeeds. The worse the deed, the more pain he feels. His fate is tangled up with a lonely, boy thief; a gnoll trying to rescue her kidnapped kids; and a righteous mage who has made capturing Tyvian her sole purpose. Unfortunately, Tyvian's escapades unwittingly put him and his friends—not really—in the path of one of the most evil villains I've read. 

The story is set in a world where magic is available in nature, but you have to learn how to harness and use it. The author sets up a unique and interesting world, including laws of nature that magic users are bound too, which makes it believable. One of my favorite examples of magic use is the spirit train. Engine warlocks infuse Fey demons into magic pistons, forcing them to power the train.

The beginning of the story is full of action and humorous commentary by Tyvian which kept me turning the pages. Towards the middle, things slow down as sub-plot after sub-plot are set up. Then as things start to move along again—the book ends. Yup, this pulls a Twilight/Mockingjay. One story split into (in this case) three parts. It doesn't have what I would call a cliff hanger ending, but you just invested a good deal of time in a complex (and very good) story with no pay off until the next part comes out in June. And even then you'll have to wait for part three. Grrrr. I want to know what happens and how low Tyvian will fall before the ring makes him realize his potential. 

The story is compelling and fantastical, but the publisher has decided (Why, I don't know, but I've noticed it is happening more often) to parse it out. If you get frustrated with this type of thing you might want to wait till all three parts are out. It's definitely worth a read. 

Tyvian rolled his eyes and lay back on the pallet. "I seem to be lectured as often as I am captured. I take it you work for the Defenders, or perhaps my mother? Is that how you know who I am? 
"No." [Eddereon]
"You lie."
"I do not."
"Clever retort, but I am strangely unconvinced."

3 1/2 "spirit" sheep


About the Author:
On the day Auston Habershaw was born, Skylab fell from the heavens. This foretold two possible fates: supervillain or scifi/fantasy author. Fortunately he chose the latter, and spends his time imagining the could-be and the never-was rather than disintegrating the moon with his volcano laser. He lives and works in Boston, MA.

Auston is a winner of the Writers of the Future Contest (2nd place in quarter 1, 2014) and has published stories in Analog, The Sword and Laser Anthology, and Stupefying Stories. His debut novel, The Iron Ring (Book 1 in the Saga of the Redeemed), will be released on 2/10/15.

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