Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
The Final Warden is the first book of the Gifts of Vorallon trilogy.
The world of Vorallon is failing. Hordes of demons destroy cities and everyone who lives in them. The raiders of Zuxra, foul men who answer only to their mad queen, enslave and conquer all that remains. As all descends into darkness, the Old Gods sleep, but they have entrusted the survival of Vorallon to the gifted.
The gifted are men and women blessed with unique abilities that are fueled by the strength of their spirits.
Lorace is one of the gifted, a hollow shell of a man who has been scarred by demons and bereft of all memory. Lost on a desolate shore, the only clue to his destiny, and his past, is a sphere of dull silvery metal he holds clutched in one hand. A mysterious call draws him north, toward the last bastion of light that exists upon Vorallon, the fortress city of Halversome—the next target of the Queen of Zuxra and the gifted people who do her bidding.
The Final Warden begins with the ominous introduction,
This story is forbidden. It was forbidden for us to write, and it is certainly forbidden to read. We who worked … under the illumination of magic … send it to a new, young universe where it may be read. … It is the story of … perhaps the best man ever to live in any world of any universe.
Oh yeah, and there’s a map of the world – which I.M.O. is becoming necessary for fantasy novels that take place in a new world.
The Final Warden was a very fast and easy read overall. The author doesn’t get hung up on using crazy, impossible-to-pronounce names for the world he has created. The story flows smoothly – but at times it’s almost too smooth. By this I mean that the main character, Lorace, recalls various memories just at the right time to help everyone out of whatever situation they’ve gotten themselves into. I would have liked to see just a little more conflict and hardship placed on him. After all, Lorace supposedly has a great destiny ahead of him – and all great heroes have had many obstacles to overcome, and have suffered great loss.
A couple of other things I liked about this story were the different gifts that people could possess. I also liked the idea that if a demon kills too many victims, it gets sucked back to Nefryt. While an all powerful world spirit is not a new idea, the author develops his own personification of the spirit and I enjoyed reading about Vorallon, the spirit of the world that cares for the inhabitants. The Ritual of the Forge where Lorace’s godstone is finally forged into Sakke Vrang was really detailed, lovingly written, and contained astounding imagery. The mini stories within the story were wonderful as well. I thoroughly enjoyed when Ralli told the tale of the bearers that had come before Lorace that lined the wall in the Hall of Heroes in the mountain of Vlaske K’Brak. The elements of the story come together fluidly and create an entertaining read.
There are a couple of cliffhangers and unanswered questions at the end that will ensure readers will pick up the rest of the books in the series. What is Lorace’s destiny – and just what is he supposed to do with the unlikely weapon forged from the godstone? And although the story mainly centers around Lorace and his companions, we read a little about the Queen, and the tidbits we receive raise even more questions. Like what is the “charm” that the “darling” sorceress Scythe holds over the Queen? It makes me wonder if Scythe is responsible for corrupting the mad Queen – and if that is the case, then is the Queen merely a puppet in a stone castle with Scythe pulling her strings?
I enjoyed The Final Warden and have added books 2 & 3 (City of Thunder and Lord of Vengeance) to my to-read list!
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Appropriate for ages 12 & up.
For more information about Thomas Cardin, check out his website.
I received a free eBook of The Final Warden from Goodreads-Making Connections in exchange for an honest review.