“Talking of the Old Days was considered blasphemous in the Church, and was not allowed anywhere in the lands of King Leondis Tarbane”
The Watcher’s Keep, (The Triadine Saga Book 1), by Timothy Bond is a true Epic Fantasy title in the purest sense. Following in the footsteps of authors like Robert Jordan and his Wheel of Time series, Timothy has started constructing a truly massive and history rich world, filled with characters, creatures, events and factions of all sorts.
An impressive first attempt by this new author at writing in the highly challenging Epic Fantasy genre. And even though the book does occasionally stumble under its own weight, it still manages to relay the story in a captivating manner that by the end of the book, will have you completely hooked. One simply has to look past the stumbles on the way.
“Not once in more than ten centuries had the sun not answered to the magic of the runes and the song of the Priest or Priestess who climbed the peak to greet her.”
I have been a fan of epic fantasy for years now. Having read the likes of Tolkien, Jordan and Martin. Not too long ago I managed to read through the entirety of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time in one month – that’s more than 4 million words, which amounted to roughly 10 hours of reading per day for a full month.
Suffice it to say, I was both excited and very cautious when picking up Timothy’s epic story. I was both looking forward to a nice epic fantasy tale, while also expecting it to fall somewhat flat on its face compared to the much more established authors and their books.
What I found was a much better read than I had initially expected.
As is the case with many long books in the fantasy genre, The Watcher’s Keep also took its sweet time getting going. It’s clear that Timothy has created a vast, vast world in his mind and wishes to share it with his readers as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. Unfortunately that did result in numerous passages in the book which I considered unnecessary exposition.
The author often went very much out of his way to have one of his characters or his narratives to explain events and concepts that I as a reader would have much more liked to have explored and discovered on my own, through more natural and deductive ways. It’s not that the information is unwanted, but often it felt like the author was simply serving this knowledge to me on a platter, instead of letting the book’s story fill me in naturally.
“Now is the time,” […] swore silently to himself. “Now is my time to finally serve my true Master!”
The old writers saying: “Show, not tell”, is something I would like to repeat here. More information could have been relayed through showing of events and actions and not character dialogue or overall narrative.
The overall story and setting was quite traditional for a book in the fantasy genre, including a medieval type setting. There is also no lack of a myriad of fantastical creatures like dwarves, elves, dragons, goblins, trolls and more.
At times it did however feel like the Author was determined to show us a bit of everything in the very first book. Introducing several races and creatures through short passages, many of which were not mentioned in the book again. This would not be as unexpected if not for the unique setting of the book, which goes out of its way to mention how rare and unknown most of such creatures and races are. So it did feel a bit forced for the main characters in the book to all suddenly experience so many unlikely events that just happened to introduce us to another race or creature the author had plans for down the line.
The story-lines which lead to those meetings weren’t necessarily bad, but they felt forced and didn’t fully explore all possibilities. It might have been better to add more weight to each event and space them out across multiple books.
The dialogue was also somewhat clunky in several spots, with certain situations making the characters feel stiff and their lines unnatural and forced.
I put such incidences on the Author’s lack of experience at fully expressing his ideas and thoughts about the world and its characters.
I do not want to sound overly critical here. The book had its faults but for a first attempt at a Fantasy Epic of this size, the results are impressive. The story holds up well, the characters are interesting in nature and the entire series has great potential. I feel it’s simply up to the author to refine his writing style and skill further and we’re all in for a treat.
The book is technically very well written with only occasional typos. Though the formatting is another matter. I will admit right here that the version I read is from my understanding an update or two behind the current one, so these might be fixed – but there were numerous occasions where the story shifted characters, time and/or locations with no pause or break in the paragraph. Leaving me as a reader completely lost of a moment. Such places in the book definitely need a designated break in the text to tell the reader when one situation ends and another begins.
At the time of this review, the book is priced at $4.99 which is a very acceptable cost for a book that offers a staggering 691 pages of Epic Fantasy. No complaints here at all.
Timothy has created a story with an amazing world that is filled with well described locations, interesting events, fun characters and many mystical and fantastical races and creatures. It’s Epic Fantasy in every sense of the word.
The book struggles a little when it comes to the overall narrative, dialogue and writing style, but the story is solid and worth reading. Give the book a chance till the very end, you won’t be sorry.
Learn more and get in touch with Timothy on his website.
Get Timothy’s book on Amazon Kindle: