Cherie Reads

Relics and Wonders: Lombard's Amulet

Relics and Wonders: Lombard's Amulet - Kevin Mullikin, Randall Ridings, Zachary Henderson This review was also posted on my blog along with an interview with the author. You can check it out HERE.My first thought on finishing this book was, "Wow, that was just like an RPG!" For those of you who aren't quite as immersed in geekdom as I am, an RPG is a role-playing game. There are tabletop games, like Dungeons and Dragons, and video games like Final Fantasy. I am a huge fan of video game RPG's, so when I say that this book was like an RPG, it's definitely a compliment. The best RPG's all have certain things that make them great: great world-building, characters you care about, interesting secondary characters, special abilities or fighting styles, and a great storyline. This book has all of those elements. After interviewing the author, it makes sense that this would remind me of a game because the idea came from one. The book starts out with the bounty hunter Draygon tracking Zekiel and Ness, two sorcerers he believes have killed his family. The book alternates between Draygon and Zekiel & Ness. At first it's unclear who is the "good guy" and who is the "bad guy." In fact, throughout the book the lines between good and evil are blurred. Characters who at one point seem good make decisions that are not so good. Characters that at first seem evil turn out to maybe have some good motivations. I loved that about this book. I'm always a fan of flawed characters who make mistakes but can still find redemption. Real people are usually not all black or all white so why should a fictional character be?Just like in my favorite RPG's, as the story progresses characters join the party and either help or hinder the main characters. These secondary characters kept the story interesting and sometimes added some comic relief. Each of them has their own personality, their own fighting style. Actually, some of my favorite characters in the book were secondary. Prodegy the dwarf was always amusing and I loved Loknol who we don't meet until the second half of the book. One of the other things I really loved about this book was that it incorporated some paranormal elements that are more often found in urban fantasy than high fantasy. There are vampires, shape-shifters, changelings and more. There are also, of course, elves and dwarves and all of the characters one would expect to find in a good fantasy novel. Each time one of those paranormal creatures made an appearance I was pleasantly surprised. They were an original addition to a classic fantasy. The story itself was exciting. I won't go into details because I don't want to give anything away but there's really not a slow moment in this book. There are some great fights, daring escapes, dangerous forays into mines filled with traps, and some amazing displays of magic.The one thing I was a little but disappointed in was the lack of strong female characters. There are women in the book but they are all either minor characters, deceptive and maybe evil, or weak. I would have loved to see a strong female character. This is slated to be a 7 book series, so I have hope that as the series continues this will be remedied.All-in-all, this was a really fun fantasy adventure. I look forward to reading the sequel. As of this posting, the book is only $.99 so you really can't go wrong. There is some violence but nothing extremely gory so this book would be appropriate for teens but the writing is sophisticated enough to be enjoyed by adults. Fans of fantasy or RPG's of any age should give this one a try.