Review: The Broken Heart of Arelium

  • Title:
    • The Broken Heart of Arelium
  • Author:
    • Alex Robins
  • Release:
    • September 23, 2021
  • Format:
    • Audiobook
  • Narrator:
    • Jay Forrester
  • Series:
    • War of the Twelve, Book 1

This book has everything you could want in a fantasy novel… so long as you don’t want dragons or romance. There’s blood, battles, betrayal, meaningful loss of life and so much more. The only thing in this book I thought was stupid, was the intro.

The protagonist is sitting around, talking about how bored he is, and like a punchline, shit jumps off. Characters sitting around talking about how bored they are don’t make for an interesting story. Having an attack take place 5 seconds later felt like something out of a bad sitcom, where the protagonist looks at the camera and smiles.

Aside from that terrible, just awful intro, it wastes no time getting to business. Characters are introduced, characters are killed, the world is built and the plot is set in motion. From the very start, it gives you enough relevant lore to interest you, but not so much that it’s overwhelming and difficult to remember.

While the entire novel is descriptive, where it truly shines for me is the combat. Listening to how the Knights of the Twelve fight had me awestruck. I could envision them clearly in my mind and they felt as epic as they were described. They’re described as these unbelievably skilled warriors. To me, it seemed as if they were going to be revealed to be more myth than the legends claim. Only for one to show up and prove himself to be a force of nature on the battlefield. That was the moment I was hooked and I knew this was a book/series I was going to enjoy.

I just want to say this at the end. While I normally make my bias’ known at the start of my reviews, I didn’t want to poison the well, so to speak. I love medieval combat and have since I was a kid. Sword and shield, pikemen, archers raining down hell from above. I live for that sort of combat. I didn’t want to make it seem like that was the only reason I enjoyed this book. The world, the characters, the lore, they’re all interesting and well done. The character interactions and dialogue truly shine and feel realistic.

The narrator is just something else as well. I’d listen to this man read a phone book. He really made this already enjoyable book an even better experience.

NOTE: This copy was provided to me free of charge as a digital review copy. The opinions stated in this review are mine and mine alone, I was not paid or requested to give this book a certain rating, suggestion, or approval.

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