Friday, April 24, 2009

Book Review: "Swords of Talera" by Charles A. Gramlich

I'd first met, or I should say, saw Charles on David Cranmer's blog, The Education of a Pulp Writer, sometime during the summer of 2008. I can't quite pinpoint the month, since it was during one of my many sojourns of blog exploration (I found David's through Travis Erwin's wonderful blog One Word, One Rung, One Day) that year.

As per my usual habit, I'd spent about a week or so lurking around his blog RAZORED ZEN, trying to get a decent read on what he was all about, before venturing forth to make an actual comment. This is something I do whenever I come across a blog that peaks my curiosity. Every blog is different and the last thing I would want to do, was to make a comment that isn't in the same spirit of the blog. Sometimes it takes me a couple of weeks, sometimes it takes me a couple of months.

Anyways, I got a good enough read on Charles and his blog, to stick around and become a regular visitor to his blog.

Among the many interesting things I'd found on his blog, were links to five books that he'd written. Suffice to say, four of the five I found to my liking. Unfortunately, because of my self inflicted credit card purge, I would have an extremely difficult time in purchasing said books.

Luckily for me, in late March of this year, Charles stated that he had acquired more volumes to sell through his blog, and being the non-typical customer, I purchased the three volume set of "The Talera Cycle".

Now, I like the fantasy genre, although I haven't read anything in the genre since giving up on "The Wheels of Time" series some five years ago. Tyring to work my way through the 11 volume series wound up being an exercise in futility. Nothing worse than trying to read a series where the break is about two years per volume and having to go back to the previous volume to figure out what was going on.

That being said, today's book review will be about the first volume in the series, which is called "Swords of Talera".

1} A quick read. At 27 chapters totalling 202 pages, this book was a quick read for me. Now, I'm something of an anomaly in that I can down a book in about three days, no matter what the size. This is due to an important component.

2} It grabbed me. This book grabbed me from the get go. The intro was just long enough to set the tone for the book without turning me off. The rest of it kept my interest throughout and I basically read the book cover to cover at work, in about one week. That week (before the day and during breaks) was the equivalent of two and a half days at home. Another important component was that...

3} It didn't talk down to me. Charles did an excellent job of explaining the world without either slowing down the pace nor treating the reader like an idiot. The footnoting was very minimal and the non-footnoted remarks were kept brief and completely natural, like if you were having a casual conversation with somebody.

4} Even though the plot sounded basic enough (two brothers explore an island in which the get separated when an explosion hurls them through a portal), I did find myself really feeling for he main character Ruenn Maclang as he set off in search for his missing brother. Usually when I read a book of fiction, I don't particular care about the characters in any particular way. However, this was much different, which was probably because I can sympathize about having a sibling that I care very much about. If mine had gotten lost like that, I would probably go off in search for him in much the same way.

5} A good read. Now a quick read isn't quite the same as a good read, but it's rare when the book both. In my world, a book can be a quick read but a bad read, which means that a good chunk of the book sucks, and I'd skip about two hundred (or more depending on the size) pages to get to the last twenty pages of the book. Sometimes, if the ending is good, I'll start reading backwards to see what I'd missed. By the same token, it can be a good read, but due to either the size or time constraints, it will take me longer to read. In this particular instance, the book was both a quick and a good read.

Overall, this book was a very enjoyable read. It kept my interest, it didn't drag, it didn't insult my intelligence, and most importantly, it made me look forward to reading the next volume in the series.


  1. I too read and enjoyed the Swords of Talera. Charles is a very talented writer

  2. Exceptionally so.

    I just started the second volume yesterday (4/22) and was pleasantly surprised by the early swerve.

  3. This is a great review! I will have to write a book so you can review it. :>)

    Good to see you...hope you have been doing well. Been so busy writing I haven't had much time to visit my favorite bloggers.

  4. Thanks for stopping by today. I'm glad to hear that you're doing well with your writing.

  5. ooo- I love good books, n really miss reading time since I've been at my night job.
    I don't have any credit cards to run up either. It does drastically slow down purchasing activities.
    Also, I love sci-fi, n this story sounds right up my alley- I'm a sucker for series.
    Thanks for the thumbs up.

  6. You're more than welcome.

    I'm always careful about inflicting my personal reading preferences on other people, but this is one that I highly recommend, especially if you like fantasy.

  7. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. And I really appreciate you posting about it. The Taleran series was really a labor of love for me. I love that kind of genre very much. And no Wheel of time here!

  8. You're very welcome.

    The Wheel of Time series was something of a love/hate affair for me.

    I originally found the first six volumes in my library, and read them with glee. But as the years progressed, the gap between between each new volume drove me so me absolutely mad that to this day I can't even touch a volume of prose by Robert Jordan without wanting to destroy it.

    With that being said, I look forward to writing a review about the second volume (which I've started reading this past week).

    Because quite frankly, you have a new fan of your writing.

  9. Hi Georgie, I saw your comment about my White Mountain shots. It was really beautiful. The sun was shining on the snow on the mountaintops. Everywhere we drove we could see the snow. It was about 60 degrees out but there was all that snow up there! Only the really high mountains were still covered. There's no leaves or anything that far north yet but it was nice!

    I see you've been very busy writing. Do you send any of your writing to magazines or anything?

  10. Charles is an extraordinary writer whether he's writing a novel, blogging, short story or simply leaving a comment. "Whiskey, Guns, and Sin" at BEAT to a PULP remains one of our most talked about stories and continues to be clicked on like we published it this week. Gifted writer.

    Btw Charles I hope you have a Halloween offering in you for BTAP.

  11. J-Marie: About the only thing I've sent out so far, was a 60 page story to Leapfrog press, for a fiction contest they're sponsoring.

    Beyond that, most of my short stories have been posted either on this blog or on my other one.

    David: He is at that. I did enjoy that story of his that you published on BTAP, as well as a few other shorts he was kind enough to pass on to me with the book order.

    I have caught a few of his comments elsewhere, and have picked up a thing or two from them.

  12. Thank you for sharing this honest review about what sounds like an interesting book. I agree with you that I respect an author who doesn't insult our intelligence as readers when venturing into a story's unfamiliar world. I'm always a fan of finding new writers. Off I go to Charles blog!!

  13. You're more than welcome.

    Hope you find his blog to your liking.

  14. David, I'm planning on doing that very thing!


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