This review Monday nearly became a Tuesday because I got exciting news. My eBook “Urchin King” made it into the semifinals of “The Kindle Review Best eBook 2012” competition in the YA category. I was so surprised that I nearly forgot to write this post. But here we go.
I met Will Hahn when he joined my critique group some time back. At first I thought I wouldn’t be of help because he’s writing epic and heroic fantasy — and I don’t much care for either. I did read “Lord of the Rings” and liked the story well enough (please don’t kill me). My favorites were the talking trees. But I found it hard work to get through the three fat volumes. There were so many boring parts I never managed to read it a second time (which might have been due to the fact that it was a German translation. Nowadays I know that the voice sometimes gets lost in a translation. I might have to check out the original soon).
Out of duty (Will made some very insightful comments on my stories), I read his first story and was hooked. For my taste, he couldn’t write fast enough. I even helped a little with one of his covers. His stories are amazing. The characters just step off the page, grab your hand and drag you along in the most daring adventures you can imagine.
There are three books available at the moment, and they all take part in the Lands of Hope (Compendium available here). Still, they are all independent from each other. And the best is from the 1st to the 31st of July 2012, all three novels are FREE!
The first story is “The Ring and the Flag” (Don’t judge this book by the cover). It tells the story of Justin, a very bright recruit in a new army who fails his entrance exam only to discover he’s been set up. Instead of leading an impressive envoy to an important meeting, he’s been chosen to get to the very same meeting but in a much more secretive way. The task he’s been set upon is so difficult, it takes all his loyalty, intelligence, and strength to complete it.
Justin’s struggles and insecurities mirror that of so many young people today. It’s lovely to see him grow into the challenge and fight for the place he should have had in the first place. I loved this book and read it more than once.
The second story is “Fencing Reputation“. Feldspar is a stealthic, but no one knows his face. That’s why he tries for the first time in his life to live a “normal” life — with little success. Also, his newest task, to find a circlet with incredible magical strength, proves to be more demanding than he thought. The master of disguise may need to be more than one person before he gets to the bottom of the mysteries.
The way the greatest stelathic of the land is trying to adapt to a normal life is hilariously funny. It heightens the contrast when he goes after his business. In the end, I wished I could have met Feldspar in real life, not in a novel only.
And the third story is “Three Minutes to Midnight“, the most breathtaking story of the three. In it, stealthic Trekelny (which isn’t a thief but a dedicated lover of danger) sets out to despoil a temple, and he cannot succeed unless he wins the love of a woman who hates him above all others.
I bit my nails from the first sentence to the last and never noticed the time fly past. Had my kids been near, I would have forgotten about them.
I know for sure that Will Hahn is working on another exciting story — this one much longer (understatement), and I really hope there will be many more. I couldn’t be a greater fan.