Posted on July 21, 2022 by Justin Bowers - Book Review
** This book was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review **
When it comes to high fantasy, I find myself attracted to those with oodles and oodles of political intrigue, and that is exactly what House of Bastiion provides.
Here’s where we start. Bastiion is the ruling House in a kingdom recovering from the Forgotten Wars. To ensure peace, the three other Houses — Pilar, Darakai, and Boreal — forged and alliance to provide a single advisor from each House to help the King keep peace.
While there are many points of view in this novel, the one of primary import is that of the Boreal al’haidren: Luscia Tiergan. House Boreal is an outlier compared to the other three houses, and much mistrust abounds surrounding Luscia and her people.
Naturally, all manner of plot and scheme ensues, along with some unexpected alliance building and a lot more mystery.
Books like House of Bastiion have to be given some leeway. The first in a planned five book series, House of Bastiion ramps up slowly to ensure that proper due is given to good worldbuilding; and my what worldbuilding it is. It is very obvious that Ms. Kolarich understands the power of building a massive fantasy world. Her attention to detail just in the first few chapters allowed me to realize that, while the pacing started slow, a nice thick foundation was being laid that would allow for some “short-cutting” later in the story when the action really rolls in.
Unlike a lot of fantasy authors, Ms. Kolarich also doesn’t shy away from showing the flaws in all of her characters. There is inner struggle, pain, self-doubt, and odd confidence that comes out of each and every character germane to the plot lines. That is a downright Herculean task to keep organized and running smoothly, but the care and detail definitely show in the ease at which the reader can just fall into the tale.
I cannot wait to tackle book two!
Posted on July 15, 2022 by Justin Bowers - Book Review
There is just something about Mr. Herzog that is just wildly appealing. I have watched his films, read his commentaries, and attended lectures where he talks about his process. His demeanor, poise, and language is uniquely him, and unmatched by anyone else out there.
When I read that Mr. Herzog was releasing a fictionalization of the story of famed Japanese soldier, Hiroo Onoda, my interest was piqued. When I found out that Mr. Herzog, himself, was narrating the audiobook, I knew it was destined for my TBR list.
The Twilight World isn’t a long novel. Weighing in at 144 pages, it is the perfect vignette of Mr. Herzog’s flavor of vocabulary and storytelling. It’s a quick read, but definitely takes time to build up each layer of descriptive scenery and the typical Herzog-ian level of minute detail.
OK, here’s the rundown. In late 1944, on Lubang Island in the Philippines, as the Japanese were withdrawing, Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda was given orders to basically hide out and hold the island until he was notified by superior officers to do otherwise. What happens from there is a crazy tale of guerilla warfare and survival that lasted 30 years until he was relieved by his commanding officer in 1974.
One of the things Mr. Herzog excelled at in this novel is also one of the things, to me, that became one of the most annoying elements of it: the concept of time becomes non-existent. Yes, Mr. Herzog uses very gorgeous language to describe how days become months become years become decades, but, again, to me, it minimizes the survival aspect of the situation. Via novel, Mr. Herzog had the opportunity to deep-dive into the mindset of Onoda and his companions, but, instead, there is very little emotion associated with the soldiers.
At the end of the day, The Twilight World isn’t a world-changing presentation of historical fiction, but it is a nice little snapshot of a very unique and fantastical story that is deftly executed by Mr. Herzog. I would definitely recommend the audiobook to get the full experience.