Review: A Contract In Sol Forne

  • Title:
    • A Contract In Sol Forne
  • Author:
    • Chris Warman
    • Élan Marché
  • Release:
    • February 1, 2022
  • Format:
    • Paperback ARC
  • Series:
    • The Eighth Chant #2

A Contract In Sol Forne is an example of why you don’t judge a book by its prologue. It just felt like an out-of-place exposition dump so one of the protagonists would make sense. And I don’t want this to be taken as me bitching about prologues either, I’m all for them. Just not this one.

Prologue aside, the dialogue, lore and world-building in this book is fantastic. It’s believable and realistic, it doesn’t feel like an exposition dump. Characters have flaws, they feel as if they could be real people. I rarely mention characters in books, because, to me, they’re just cardboard cutouts that resemble people. (Gears of War 3 Horde Mode. Does anybody get that reference?)

If you like badass, strong-willed, intelligent, caring, and likable female protagonists and characters, well, you’re in luck. Their motivations all seem as real and genuine as they are. The conflict of wills in their mind, and the cognitive dissonance, all lends to them being some excellent characters to follow.

And then there’s Dorovan. What a deplorable little shit. hahahahah Selfish, entitled, pigheaded, naive; but what 16-year-old boy isn’t? Even he was fun to live in the head of, and I couldn’t help but want to watch him succeed. I quite enjoyed his character growth through the novel, as he seemed to grow up a little bit. At a cost.

A Contract In Sol Forne is slow as a crockpot. It’s probably 2 – 300 pages before the book starts to go anywhere. If slow-paced novels aren’t your thing, then back away slowly….. or quickly, as I guess that would be more your thing. It’s a story that never feels like it’s in a hurry to do anything. It tells the story it needs to tell, at the pace it needs to be told at. If anything, it makes the combat scenes even more heart-pounding because they have a sense of urgency. Any time there was clear and present danger, I was hanging onto every word, excited to see how it played out and terrified for the characters.

Another thing I loved about this book, is how it’s the second book in the series, but can be read as a standalone. I love fantasy, and I love series, but god fucking damn, am I sick of writers creating these vast worlds chock full of lore, history, interesting magic, etc.; And then they center it around the most boring person in it.

Take Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle for example. Four books and a 2/3 shitty short story collection and the entire world revolves around 1 character and his pet dragon. Indie authors seem to be the only people who have figured out that their worlds are often more interesting than their characters, or have the capacity to write more than one interesting story or character set in their world. And I for one, appreciate that to no end.

I enjoyed the hell out of A Contract In Sol Forne. I’m sure I’ll be returning to this series, and maybe these characters in the future. Although, as somebody with a lifelong phobia of beetles, I can go the rest of my fucking life and never have to read the words “Beetle”, “Scarab”, or think about the disgusting, terrifying idea of people who dress up as beetles and wear beetle broaches. Good god, hell the hell no!

And I’ll add this little note here since I just remembered it. I appreciated the chapter icons that signified they’d be a different character’s perspective…. except for the beetle ones. I’m not exaggerating, I don’t even like looking at pictures of those things.

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