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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review: The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality by Gahan Hanmer (Blog Tour)


The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality

by Gahan Hanmer

Publisher: Two Harbors Press (April 2, 2012)
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Pages: 353 (paperback)
Source: Review Request (Blog Tour)
Purchase: Amazon
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2 stars)
Summary
Sometimes it's funny how fast things can change, and sometimes it's not...

Welcome to Albert Keane's beautifully designed medieval kingdom nestled in a completely isolated river valley in the Canadian wilderness. Peaceful, happy, and prosperous, it takes nothing from the modern world, not so much as a single clock.

There is a castle, of course, and a monastery. There is even a pitch dark, rat-infested dungeon - because you simply have to have one if you are trying to rule a feudal kingdom!

Farmers work the land, artisans ply their trades, monks keep school and visit the sick, and nobody (well, almost nobody) misses the modern world at all.

So why has Jack Darcey - actor, wanderer, ex-competitive fencer - been tricked and seduced into paying a visit? And why hasn't anyone told him that the only way to leave is a perilous trek across hundreds of miles of trackless wilderness without a compass or a map?

Because a tide of fear and violence is rising from the twisted ambitions of one of King Albert's nobles, and Albert's fortune teller believes that Jack could turn the tide - if he lives long enough .
The Good
A Way of Life That Time Forgot...
When I first heard the concept of The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality I was very intrigued. Modern people living in a medieval kingdom? Though scary, it sounded like an amazing experience. Which is why I grabbed at the chance to review this book.

I loved reading about the transition from modern cloths, speech, and overall society to a fanciful world from the past. The idea of such an adventure was like something you would pay for to experience at least once in your life. And Jack was very eager to play out this new way of life. He must be braver than I because my stomach was in knots the whole time. Losing the conveniences and laws of our current society would horrify me. So I liked that Jack was courageous enough for the both of us. He took everything in stride which is admirable in a way.

Albert, Jack's wealthy friend, really did take a small part of the world and make a kingdom identical to one you would find in medieval times. Though the people were a bit odd, I enjoyed seeing how easily people assimilated to a simpler though more labor intensive way of life.

From the Top to the Bottom...
But things eventually take a turn for the worse. I can't say too much because it really would ruin the surprise, but the tragedies just don't stop until it all seems hopeless. Jack goes from the top to the very bottom in a matter of seconds and the rest of the village is too frightened to stand up for what is right. So Jack is left with taking a rough journey of self-discovery that he never expected.

I really did get a sense of the time period being portrayed. The action was pretty good once we got to it. The suspense was so intense my stomach hurt from nerves most of the time. I was very eager to see how everything would end.

The Bad
Let me start off by saying that I think many people will enjoy The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality. But it just didn't hit me the way I hoped. The beginning was very slow and I had to force myself not to skim.

No Love for the People...
I very much disliked Jack. He never asked questions or thought about his actions. He pretty much let other people dictate his life, and I felt no sympathy for him when bad things happened to him. What did he expect? You act reckless, crappy things will happen to you. Then he falls in love within a matter of hours and pretty much wants to do anything with a pair of legs and boobs throughout the whole novel. Then Jack's reluctance in everything after he finally realizes maybe he should start acting cautiously was annoying because he misses his time to shine. He was never the hero I hoped he would be. I didn't really like any of the characters. They weren't very realistic and they often made horrible decisions.

This is the End? Finally!
The build up to the ending was great, then the ending just fell flat. Truthfully, I was just happy it was over. The pacing was slow which made it hard not to skim. Then we had all these little foreboding things happen and they never came to fruition. They were barely even mentioned again.

The Snuggly
There is some sex in this book but nothing is really described in detail. It is mostly glanced over. The romance is kind of odd because Jack falls in love fast and falls in love with two women (almost three). Neither relationship is very healthy.

Overall
This book was not for me. It was hard for me to finish. I had to force myself. All the characters were unlikable, and I barely cared for them because of their stupid actions. The only reason I gave it 2 stars was because I do believe some people will like this book. Who? I am not sure. But it was written well enough and had an interesting concept. So it might just not have been for me personally. Overall, not recommended to my blog readers.
Excerpt
“You’re not doing so well. You lost your theater. You lost all your money and then some. You’re living in a dump in the boondocks, and you don’t have the slightest idea what to do next. Am I right?”

I just looked at him.

“Okay, well, somebody is trying to do you a big favor, and I am also trying to do you a favor by telling you that you are being very stubborn and foolish. Now why don’t you do yourself a favor, and go lock up the house, and get in this car. You don’t even need a toothbrush.”

“Thanks for telling me that, Rudy,” I said, stifling a yawn. “I’m sure it’s very good advice, and I promise I’ll get in touch with Albert in a week or two. Now please just get the hell out of here and give me a break.”

I was very relieved when Rudy suddenly relaxed and grinned at me; all the energy had gone out of him. He shrugged and said, “Well, that’s that. You can’t say I didn’t try.” He winked at me, and I smiled back, glad that it was finally settled.

Then he did a curious thing. He bent down as though he wanted to pick something up from the ground; and at the same time he made a beckoning gesture with his finger as though he wanted to show me something. So I started to bend over also―like a chump―and the last thing I saw was his fist in that heavy leather glove coming up at me all the way from the ground.
Author Bio:
Gahan Hanmer enjoyed a colorful career in the theater as actor, director, designer and technician, and also wandered extensively searching for love, happiness and truth. He unintentionally became a grown-up raising two beloved daughters and now lives in the high chaparral desert of California.







6 comments:

  1. Thank you for the honest review. Sometimes a book just lets us down. I appreciate your candor about your recommendation. I look to fellow bloggers when deciding on a book and with so many books to read, I do not want to waste precious reading time.

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    1. I hate giving bad critiques but some books just don't fit with certain people. That was the case in this book.

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  2. Jennifer, thanks for taking the time to read and review Gahan's book.

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  3. Sorry to hear it wasn't for you. But it does have a really nice ring to it. :) Thank you for intro to a new book.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, the concept was awesome. That's what drew me.

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