Monday, October 22, 2012

Firebrand by R.M. Prioleau

Title: Firebrand
Series: Pyromancer
Author:  R.M. Prioleau
Rating: 3.5 stars

The Plot

More than anything else in the world, Kaijin likes gaining knowledge. As a five year old, he peruses the book tents when his father takes him to the market. And when he is older, he and his brother Rorick are sent to live with the wizard Jariel to learn magic. But Kaijin is no ordinary student. He has a relationship with fire unlike any his master has ever seen, one that could prove to be quite dangerous.

The Good

Firebrand is the first in a trilogy, so it tells the story of how Kaijin gains his powers. (Presumably the next two books will talk about how these powers grow and develop, but I haven’t read them, so I promise nothing.) Kaijin is interested in fire from a young age, to the point that his father and master need to repeatedly tell him to stop burning himself. As he gets older he learns more about the fire god Ignis and makes spells related to fire. But there is something untoward about Kaijin’s interest in fire. Sometimes he hears a voice in his head encouraging him to be destructive. Jarial discourages him from listening to this voice in the same way that he discourages his friend Xavorin from using necromancy. In both cases, there seems to be some kind of outside power striving to control the mage. I have a suspicion that the ultimate evil that Kaijin will be called to fight is inside himself.

The Bad

So, writing-wise, there was nothing wrong with Firebrand. Nonetheless, I still can’t say I enjoyed reading it because nothing happened. Seriously, most of the book was taken up by Kaijin being trained at Jarial’s house. And most of this consisted of him reading lots of books and spending a long time writing spells wrong. For a while, Kaijin’s brother Rorick was there, but he and Kaijin were doing different things and not really allowed to interact.

The overarching plot of the novel consisted of a fellow wizard coming to visit Jarial a few time and having them trade words. Then in the last third of the novel or so, this blossomed into a rampant undead attack. And I think it was supposed to be tragic, but mostly I was thinking, “Wait, if Kaijin has lived this close to his parents all these years, why has he never gone to visit them?” I suppose it was because his father, like Jarial, was temperamental and irrational. My other main thought at this point was “Hey, good think you’ve got a fire mage. Fire is killer against undead!”

The Romance

Sadly, the only girl in the novel at all was Kaijin’s mother, and there were also no attractive male characters anywhere near his age who did not share substantial amounts of genetic material with him. Really, there were hardly any characters at all. So, you know, no romance.

Will I read more?

I spent most of the first book bored and uninterested in what was (or really wasn't) going on, so I don’t think I’ll be investing the time in another.

See Details for Book on    Amazon  


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