Welcome back to Sunday Book Review! Today I’m giving my thoughts on a novella I just finished reading: Vastian Lore, by S.C. Gregory.
Vastian Lore, by S. C. Gregory
Genre according to Amazon: dark fantasy.
Length (print): 107 pages.
How I found it: giveaway announcement on the author’s blog.
Sometimes taking the job means betraying family…
Turns out, Norarl is fine with that, once he accepts his whole life has been a lie.
His half-sister wants him dead. His twin brother would be only too happy to help her succeed, but they also want more than just his murder.
Arius and Zadraal will do everything in their power to free an army whose sole purpose is to destroy all life not like their own.
The only problem?
To break the magical seal on the Gate of N’sumenel requires the sacrifice of an Earthbound Elemental.
The real test will be if Norarl cares enough about his new-found allies to fight alongside them.
Amazon Rating: 5 stars (1 customer review) at the time of post publication.
Caution: potential minor spoilers ahead, though I’ll do my best to not reveal the ending.
First impression: I was excited to receive my copy of Vastian Lore in the mail. I’d heard about it and read some of Gregory’s other work, but I wasn’t terribly familiar with this novella specifically.
- The plot: simply put, Vastian Lore starts in the middle of the action and never gets boring. It’s a fast-paced story with a good balance of action and dialogue.
- Character development: character arcs often feel shoe-horned in such short works, but not so with Vastian Lore. Specifically, I loved Leso’s development from less-than-friendly stranger to likeable ally.
- The dialogue: I can’t think of a single moment during the story in which the characters are nice to each other, and that’s what makes the dialogue so fun. This unlikely group of allies is forged through insults, bickering, and a healthy dose of sarcasm.
- Names: I’m pretty picky when it comes to names. If I don’t like a character’s name, it bugs me for the whole story. But I honestly thought the author’s choice of names worked really well.
The best: in my opinion, Vastian Lore’s strongest point is the blend of everything you’d expect to see in a fantasy story (magic, swords, knives, and dangerous creatures) with consistently entertaining banter between the characters.
My favorite line:
“…After you stabbed me, you evil cow.”
- There were a few formatting issues that may be exclusive to the paperback (I haven’t seen the ebook, and I know firsthand how much of a pain Createspace formatting can be). This led to some confusing paragraph transitions, but nothing worth making a stink over.
- There were times when the places, people, or creatures mentioned were hard to keep track of. Being a short novella, I know space is limited, and S. C. Gregory handled it very well, but I think five-ten pages more of context would’ve cleared up some muddled areas.
Conclusion: Vastian Lore is a fast-paced, entertaining story that blows open the doors to a big, big world. Strong characters and intriguing plot elements, while at times overwhelming, will keep you turning (or swiping) pages. I’m looking forward to S. C. Gregory’s work-to-come.
My final rating: 4/5 stars
You can find out more about author S. C. Gregory on her website.
Note: the story is pretty violent, especially towards the end. Lots of stabbing going on.
Note 2: I received Vastian Lore from a free giveaway (thanks again!). However, this review is not part of any deal or exchange. The content and thoughts are simply my opinion. Yours may vary, and that’s fine!