The thirtieth book I’ve reviewing here is Stormwielder, the first of the Sword of Light trilogy by Aaron D. Hodges. Based on the information given about the world in which the book is set, the genre could be epic/high fantasy, but since this first book was only concerned with a small number of characters and events, I’m more inclined to simply call it medieval fantasy for now.
As we learn in the first chapters of the book, the protagonist is a young man named Eric who is cursed with a magical connection to the weather. Anytime he gets upset or angry, storms and lightning fill the air around him, wreaking havoc. His inability to control prevent this reaction causes an entire city to be burned up by lightning strikes, causing Eric to flee from the vengeful survivors of the city, who believe him to be a demon. As he flees, Eric is aided by an old man named Alistair, who is eventually revealed to be a ‘magicker’ (the term this author uses for characters who might otherwise be called wizards). Alistair mentors Eric in the control and use of his magical powers and guides him through many dangers and perils with the goal, eventually, of saving the world from ominous forces led by the dark lord Archon, who seeks to take control over it.
Now, I will readily admit that this book uses some very common clichés. The teenager whose superpowers make him a danger to others could come right out of an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The wise old wizard mentor has been played out in Gandalf, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander, and so on throughout fantasy culture. The power-hungry magical dark lord has likewise been seen dozens of times in Sauron, Voldemort, Arawn Death-Lord, and others. Much of the book’s content has been done many times before. However, it did have a few concepts that I hadn’t seen before, such as the particular way that magic works in this world. I can’t explain that here without giving major spoilers, but it was unique.
There were also a lot of typos throughout the work. I’ve come to generally expect that of self-published novels, having spent a year reading them, but it still always irritates me. Apart from that, many aspects of the book’s plot relied on plot twists which I thought came rather abruptly and clumsily. With a good plot twist, the reader can see in retrospect how the story led up to the twist, but with the few plot twists that this book had, I got the impression that they were just dropped into the story without any lead-up. There was also a romantic arc which I didn’t find convincing or necessary, but of course different people will have different preferences about that.
I don’t want to criticize too much though, because I did enjoy the book. As a fan of the fantasy genre, I thought it was a fun read and I’m sure other fans of the genre will think the same. It’s also more light-hearted than something like, say, A Song of Ice and Fire. There wasn’t any profanity, the violence was at times descriptive but still generally PG-13, and there wasn’t any explicit sex. There was implied sex, but not explicit. I think parents could allow their teenage kids to read this book without too much concern.