Book Review: Thrall by Steven Shrewsbury
There were two books I had been really waiting for to land on my desk, both of them happened to come from the same publisher, Seventh Star Press. I only picked up Thrall to read first because of it being only 263 pages, and I enjoyed every minute of reading it.
From the Back Cover:
Set in the mists of ancient times, Thrall tells the story of Gorias La Gaul, an aging warrior who has lived for centuries battling the monstrosities of legend and lore. It is an age when the Nephilum walk the earth, demonic forces hunger to be unleashed, and dragons still soar through the skies… living and undead. On a journey to find one of his own blood, a young man who is caught in the shadow of necromancy, Gorias’ path crosses with familiar enemies, some of whom not even death can hold bound.
First off, I just wanted to say that Seventh Star Press did an excellent job on the book itself. The cover is just nicely done, and for being what I believe is called a ‘soft hardback’ nothing about this looks like it was done on the cheap. Being my first soft hardback book, I actually kind of prefer it over hard covers. The pages of the book itself have the same good quality that you find on the cover, for being a small publisher; they really knocked it out of the park in the quality department. Enough of that though, lets get to Thrall.
I had a great time reading this book for one thing. It had an excellent pacing, and for the first time in a long time, I didn’t hate one of the central characters. Gorias is an old man, and by old, I mean something past 700 years. Apparently, unless something kills you outright, you can live a very, very long time. Gorias is a legend, a fable in this world, a man who killed all of the dragons (then made some custom armor out of their babies hides) in the world and more than enough humans. I liked how Shrewsbury shied away from making him the all powerful and on the straight and narrow hero. The only straight and narrow about Gorias is when he’s banging some whores. So yes, he was an interesting character that you can’t help but like, because he doesn’t shy away from doing what needs to get done, even if you got to cut some heads off.
Without giving too much away, the story is of Gorias on the search for his Grandson Maddox, who was been dabbling in Necromancy. An adventure unfolds before them and the other two that join the party, Tammas a young virgin bard, and Kayla a hardened female warrior really compliment Gorias. I liked the supporting cast that Gorias ended up with. They had their parts, played them perfectly, and did no more, no less. Shrewsbury knew exactly what he was doing with them, and it really was refreshing as a reader because it led to little confusion. I was absolutely shocked in the end, as what unfolded, wasn’t even on my radar, and I almost always can guess where a author is taking a book.
The story is very fast paced, and like I said earlier, clocks in at 263 pages. I probably could have finished in a single, maybe two sittings if I didn’t have to put the book down so many times. No, I didn’t stop reading because of anything wrong with the story. I have 2 very young kids, so yeah. I barely get to pee without someone watching me, so trying to read a book is even harder. Thrall is one of those books that you can read over and again, because it’s like those casual games on your phone. You can pick it up, and get a hefty amount done in such a short time. If you are some ungodly speed reader like my wife, this book is easily a quick read to give you something you can start/finish in no time.
It’s not very often I gush about a book. Thrall just had everything that I love, it was gritty, dark, epic fantasy and written tightly. Nothing drags on, or tries to complicate things. Thrall just delivers you action, great dialog, and left me very satisfied. As Gorias often said “Deliverance will come.” And Thrall delivered for me.
You can pick this book up at the Seventh Star Press online store HERE, I think amazingly there are still some Limited Editions signed by the author still available in hardcover that come with bookmarks, some great cards of pictures from the book and a poster. Even if you get the cheaper soft cover versions, you get some bookmarks from the book. Bookmarks you say? Hey, it’s better than dog-earing a page, or using the electric bill as a placeholder when you put the book down.
Also, for the cool kids that have a fancy eReader, you can get the book HERE.