Book Review – The Garden of Stones by Mark T. Barnes

Mark T. Barnes

Reviewed by:
On 2013-06-24
Last modified:2013-07-13


It's not an easy read but if you can get through the first chapter it's a really good book.

The Garden of Stones by Mark T. Barnes

The Garden of Stones by Mark T. Barnes

The blurb says:

An uneasy peace has existed since the fall of the Awakened Empire centuries ago. Now the hybrid Avān share the land with the people they once conquered: the star-born humans; the spectral, undead Nomads; and what remains of the Elemental Masters.

With the Empress-in-Shadows an estranged ghost, it is the ancient dynasties of the Great Houses and the Hundred Families that rule. But now civil war threatens to draw all of Shrīan into a vicious struggle sparked by one man’s lust for power, and his drive to cheat death.

Visions have foretold that Corajidin, dying ruler of House Erebus, will not only survive, but rise to rule his people. The wily nobleman seeks to make his destiny certain—by plundering the ruins of his civilization’s past for the arcane science needed to ensure his survival, and by mercilessly eliminating his rivals. But mercenary warrior-mage Indris, scion of the rival House Näsarat, stands most powerfully in the usurper’s bloody path. For it is Indris who reluctantly accepts the task of finding a missing man, the only one able to steer the teetering nation towards peace.

So far I haven’t been very impressed by the books that are available to read for free in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library – they’ve been almost entirely self-published books where “free” was an appropriate price.  In fact some of them were overpriced, as it wasn’t worth the cost of my time to read them.  This is the first book I’ve read from the Kindle Lending Library that was genuinely awesome.

Having said that, it’s not an easy read.  The writing can be quite flowery and there is a lot of information thrown at you right at the beginning.  In most books the author introduces the world and characters slowly to give the reader a chance to learn about them, but in this book the author seems to just assume you can keep up.  You end up having to sort of surf the tidal wave of information and keep reading even if you don’t catch every reference or recognize every name.  If you can make it through the first chapter it gets a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable.

The author’s built a big, interesting world with a lot of history and detail.  There are things that he gives away about it that might have been better saved for a dramatic reveal, but I get the impression that he was just too excited about showing his world off to keep a secret.

Some of the author’s descriptions are incredible – almost poetic.  My only criticism is that there were noticeable blocks of description interspersed in action and character blocks – I think it would have been better if they were better integrated.

All in all I eagerly look forward to the next book in the series.

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