Thursday, 13 August 2015

The Shard: Chronicles of Xax by Ted Cross

Yo guys!
Joe here with another review for you all! :D

Today we’re going to be reviewing ‘The Shard: Chronicles of Xax’ by Ted Cross.

Here’s the blurb to get you intrigued:
A dying king. A mysterious invader. The seer's vision was clear: find the lost shard from the Spire of Peace or the realm would drown in blood.

The problem: eight hundred years ago the elven hero Kathkalan took the shard with him into the lair of the most vicious dragon ever known to mankind...and he never returned. 

Reluctantly drafted to lead the quest is the minor noble Midas, torn between his duty to the realm and the desire to protect his sons. With an unlikely band of heroes, including two elderly rangers and a young tinker’s son, Midas must risk losing everything he loves if he is to locate the shard and save the Known Land

I received a copy of this E-Book from the author for an honest review 

This is possibly one of the best fantasy stories I’ve read to date.

The story that the author created was put together so creatively and it moved so smoothly that I don’t really have any negative judgment about it.
Normally when I read a fantasy book, I notice elements of external media influences and other types of influences, be that a video game, film, etc, that normally kicks my review or my enjoyment of the book down a notch, because I start thinking about characters or scenery and lose creative imaginational pleasure from the book.

In this story everything felt so fresh!
I mean, yes it was your High Epic Fantasy that involved wizards and dragons, Long journeys into lush forests and castles, but even then the author added extra elements, which made the journey fun and thrilling to a person who enjoys Fantasy books and stories.
I think I have stated on the blog before that I am a huge fan of Tolkien’s work, I also really enjoyed the LOTR films that Peter Jackson created; ‘The Shard’ has honestly topped The Fellowship of the Ring for me in terms of detail and the character development within the book.
The stories are on par with each other to me though haha.
Just to add in; Yes it did remind me a little of a mash between LOTR and The Hobbit, but I was able to push those pieces back and imagine this story without falter.

The story itself is full of so many different settings and feelings. Action is a huge substance within this book, of course, but it is sweetly and superbly counter-acted with doses of reality and honest love from each character.
As the book was separated into three or four of the main characters POV’s, I felt very aware of the surroundings and the actual pace of the story; so for example instead of it jumping wildly to night or day between characters, the transitions would be scripted and allowing for the time to pass if a character who hasn’t been relevant for a few chapters to still exist properly in the same time zones instead of doing silly flashback sequences and ‘2 days prior’ situations.
Which increased the realistic values of this story dramatically!

How the author wrote and chose his words really helped impact this book to a five star review.
The entire book was beautifully described and awesomely paced, it was a definite quick read, though I do have to add here that during the time I read it I was super ill so it took me stupidly long to read it! (Bright lights and headaches apparently don’t go together, who’d of thunk it!)

Another thing that helped a-lot with the story was the map that the author sent me a copy of. As many Fantasy books, ‘The Shard’ had a bunch of cities, areas, forests with (sometimes) complicated names to remember.
The map was an amazing help and such a fun add-on! More books should come with a downloadable code on the back or a fold out map that allows you to follow the journey of the companions you’re reading about; this added a ton of fun while reading, it generally made me feel more immersed and attached to these characters! Thank you to the author for sending me a file for that!

That Intro! The intro for this book was possibly the first time I’ve had to re-read an intro to fully understand what had happened because it happened so quickly that I had no time to process it.
Kudos to the author!

Now for the characters!

I won’t go into detail about all the characters, as there were quite a few.
So! Instead I’m going to write a short paragraph about three of them!

First off we have Midas the Lord of Welby; even though he may be a small-time lord, Midas has connections towards the highest nobles in the Known Lands.
Midas to me is the ultimate father figure; caring, smart, strong, emotional and understanding.
His compassion towards his sons, the people who lived on and around his lands and external people such as the elves, dwarves and other lords was unquestioned and powerful.

The next character I want to discuss is Alvanaria.
I really liked her! Alvanaria is an Elf who joins Midas’s companions on their journey to find The Shard; she slowly became one of my favourite characters in this book.
She had a awesome sense of humour, deep compassion, respect and understanding of situations that sometimes other Fantasy books fail to capture; for example there was a scene which followed the company travelling through Battle-Wood, which was a Dwarven, Elven and Orc battlefield, now a burial ground, while walking through Alvanaria and Geldrath discuss how she knows some of the deceased in this woods. I really did like this scene as it showed how someone who is a skilled warrior and has a strong willed heart can be easily hurt and holds deep pain.
I did enjoy her relationship with Midas, especially the way that they spoke to each other, making it a more intellectual friendship then just having fun.
She is also pretty damn Badass!

The last character I am going to talk about is Edo!
Edo is a ranger from the East Gate, it doesn’t really discuss how old he is, but I would guess he’s around his late 40’s or early 50’s, as he is older than other rangers but younger than Orcbait (His best friend).
Edo’s character to me was a tricky one to figure out honestly; I thought he was going to be a bit mischievous and trickster-like, but as his chapters went on he became this loyal, honest, gripping character who I was rooting for till the end!
He (And Orcbait, you can’t have one without the other) became my favourite character(s) just because on how interesting their stories were.

This story was one of the best Fantasies I’ve opened in a long long time!
The story was strong, driven and to the point!
The characters were believable, loveable, fun and gripping!
I liked this book, if you didn’t guess already.
I’m hoping there’s going to be some sort of continuation to this book, as I want more Alvanaria and Geldrath and Midas and the rest! :D

If you are into Fantasy books with Wizards, Elves, Dragons and more check this book out because you will not be disappointed!

A massive thank you to the author for sending me a copy of this E-Book!

And a huge thanks to you for reading this!
See ya on the flip side guys!



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