Arcane Cage: Being a Historical Narrative of Fantastic Events during the Decline and Fall of The Provenance
An untested, urban cleric who is charged with the investigation of a missing merchant at a remote outpost on the border of a draconic wilderness. A half-elf ranger who senses a growing threat to the peaceful co-existence of the diverse communities in the region. A “half-grown” druid who can take the shape of ferocious beasts in battle or birds of prey to surveil the land. A mercenary rogue who plays both sides of an impending conflict for personal enrichment. A long-lived elf whose knowledge of magic and arcane cultures has been accumulated over centuries. A half-gnoll barbarian who becomes the champion of an ancient and free world. These are just a handful of the extraordinary characters found in this historical fantasy about the decline and fall of the Provenance, the ancient “empire for liberty” that dominated the known world during the Arcane Age.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 5 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 6 out of 10
Overall: 6.50 out of 10
Plot: The great historical sweep of the entire book, and the account of Siddrah's quest for the talismanic Archon, are richly imagined and lavishly depicted.
Prose/Style: There is a classical historian's tone to this fantasy epic, with echoes of Tolkien and other fantasy greats.
Originality: The singular construction of an imaginary world, culture and even a literary heritage is impressive, but the hero's journey and the corruption that power offers are themes that have been pretty thoroughly explored already. If George R.R. Martin and Herodotus held a writing seminar, this dense account of an imaginary land might be the result.
Character Development: Siddrah is really the only character that receives some depth, and that's reasonable in an imagined history, but it does render other characters as flat and set up to serve the heroine's quest.
Date Submitted: June 21, 2019