In the genera of Dungeon and Dragons and World of Warcraft, Ivory Sword is a fantasy adventure but without the cookie cutter plot and weak character development. Unlike some novels that grab you with first chapter and then leave you flat but this book is more in an old style of writing where the character and the plot just continue to build and keep you wanting more.
Ivory Sword has a multitude of characters which the authors develop so fully you almost believe that they were real. The interaction of the various creatures (Elves, Humans, Dwarves, Syrons, Half-elves, and Centaurs), was done with such detail you could feel the emotion they have toward one another. The imagery placed me into this world with such depth that I could believe that it might have actually existed. The writers have created their own cosmological system that has demigods called the messengers who might be just as confused about the world as the people who populate it, which is quite refreshing and a break from all the other fantasy books out there with the omniscient god that control everything.
Most books the plot line is straight forward and I have so many unread books on my shelf because I know what is going happen before it going to happen. Not this book! It has so many twists and turns it the plot that I had no clue how things were going to work out. One caveat the authors are wordy but I could not figure out how I would re-write certain paragraphs and still convey the meaning and move the story forward.
When you read this book do yourself a favor and read the prologue; it introduces you to all the main characters and make a lot a difference in picking up the plot line because the author don't waste time getting into the thick of the plot. Also the prologue sets the stage for book and quietly shouts "You're not in Kansas anymore."
My recommendation is get the book, sit down and make sure to clear your afternoon because you won't want to put it down. I can't wait for the second book.
Twin dilemma, March 4, 2007
Elizabeth Ensley "Elizabeth Anne Ensley" (Bayport, New York United States)
Come, and be transported into a world of alien intrigue, mystery, and politics.
The Ivory Sword of the title was a gift, given to both Prince Morais. and to his twin brother, Ils, by a Fishmonger who prophesied that the two Elves would share the sword. Ils (decreed the elder of the twins by their father, King Solay, Emperor of the Liosdoackfar (Mountain Elves) Empire) has possession of the sword.
As the story opens, Morais, wanting recognition from his father, arranges with thugs to kidnap his brother, so that he could go to the rescue, and thereby earn respect from King Solay.
Unfortunately, this plan goes awry as a battle with Fay and Swan Knights, led by King Ceagare, King of the River and Sea Elves and King Solay's vassal (and son-in-law), leaves Morais's father and brothers dead, and his twin, Ils, a prisoner. Ceagare wants the throne, and this ill-conceived plot was the impetus for his try at the throne. Morais rides off after his brother's kidnappers.
This stirring scene, resplendent with the guilty conscience of Morais, begins his journey to both rescue Ils, and to prove his worth as the new Champion to the Throne. He does not, has never wanted, to be king. He never wanted this to get out of hand.
Events spiral beyond his control and the Elf Prince, Morais, gathers companions along the journey to rescue his brother, each with his or her own reasons for allying themselves with him and his cause.
Morais sort of ends up with the sword. It's shrouded in mystery, and it seems to disappear, only to reappear at odd intervals. He has it for an initial defense, but it vanishes like an enigma, only to turn up again at the strangest times.
Will Morais solve the mystery of the Ivory Sword? Will he succeed in his quest, to save his brother and, perhaps, avenge his father's death? Will Morais's adopted emblem, the White Rose triumph over the equally enigmatic emblem of the Black Rose, the symbol for the Spectral Dragoons who stole his brother away, and killed his father and younger brother on the battlefield, along with Ceagare?
This world is a rich tapestry of many races--Elves, Dwarves, Dragons, Syrons, and others--a few of whom join the Prince in his quest, all with a single cause: to rescue, or revenge, their loved ones. This is the first book in the series and, as I came to its end, I found myself looking forward to the second book in the series.
The prologue, and the epilogue, are separate from the main story; yet, they are important to the story, overall, and not to be skipped.
A Truly Epic Fantasy, March 2, 2007
Jonathan S. Jones
Book Review: The Ivory Sword
What a ride!
A true Journey into the wonderful world of "Ivory Sword, Lore of DayONE" by A.A. Wolfner. This is the beginning of a real epic fantasy on a grand scale. "Ivory Sword" has a wonderful cast of characters. It shows the different relationships between the various races of Humans, Dwarves, Elves, and Centaurs. Plus it introduces some new races such as the Syrons and different breed of half-elves.
The world in which this story is set is huge and wonderfully done, almost on the scale of Lord of the Rings. Also, the character development is excellent. This story does have a dry spot just at the beginning but takes off after page 25, but many people said some of these same things about Lord of the Rings.
Again I can't say again what a wonderful "Ivory Sword" by A. A. Wolfner is. I can't wait till the second book to continue the story of Prince Morais. I strongly encourage you to read it; you won't be disappointed.
Very enjoyable reading, March 28, 2006
Mary Ann Maradik
This was the first science fiction that I read entirely. It held my interest all the way through and I looked forward to reading each new chapter.
With the variety of characters, the authors were very skillful in adequately identifying the characters as each chapter unfolded. The interaction of the various characters, the expression of their feelings toward each other, as well as the descriptions and actions of "inanimate" objects, such as the ivory sword, opens a greater world reality to the reader. The elegant descriptions of moods, scenery, places, actions and characters invite the reader into this cosmological system. The italic print for thoughts of the characters further facilitated engaging the reader in a deeper level.
Through the interaction of the various life forms (Elves, Humans, Dwarves, Syrons, Half-elves, and Centaurs) in the many diverse settings, the different personalities move through their paths of life simply and persistently to attain their objectives, while being conscious of their connectedness with each other. This character development is very well portrayed consistently.
The ending seemed to be somewhat open to "now what." However throughout the whole book I felt that it would only end in a way that I would want to read the sequel. I would recommend this book to others, adults and youth, who wish to get involved in reading science fiction, as well as those who already have a passion for reading science fiction.
A most excellent adventure, March 16, 2006
Grinning Fox "I swear it was sinking when I g... (Vermont, USA)
Some grab you on the first page, within the first handful of words. This, on the other hand, took a while. There are some books that you simply cannot put down; you tear through in a crashing hurry and are disappointed that there is no more book, once you've reached the end. The Ivory Sword, though, is of a different breed. It was not until page 36 that I really decided I enjoyed the book. It starts out in a state where nothing particularly makes sense, where you aren't lead to care more for one character than another. And yet, every time I put the book down I found myself thinking about it. Where was that train of thought going, anyway? What happened to those characters? Just a general nagging sense of curiosity kept curling around the background noise of my thoughts and I found myself reading, again. By page 40 I found myself creeping back every time a few spare moments came my way.
It pains me that it has taken so very long for me to read this book. I have been woefully interrupted by pursuing my thesis and each time I am forced to put The Ivory Sword down in order to write another paper or to read some other text I lament. The Ivory Sword is a work of surprising depth and insight. The quest drags you kicking and screaming (and then eagerly following) deeper into the book, hinting at intrigue that has taken centuries to generate and with the bizarre intricacies that go with such age old mysteries. I find the style of revelation particularly refreshing, in that we are given no more information than the players have. Often, when reading books with such puzzles I have figured it out far before the characters and this frustrates me and bores me to no end. The Ivory Sword has my imagination engaged yet, though I have reached the back cover.
Not only is the revelation of plot truly delightful, The Ivory Sword provides a refreshingly new interpretation of classical fantasy races. There are elves, though they are conceited and warlike. There are dwarves who are still miners, but remain mostly mysterious politicers; in fact, late in the book we encounter a particularly tall dwarf who is neither politician nor miner - he is a bard, of all things! How often does one encounter a dwarf in a centaur court apparently employed as entertainment? Further, Man is in no sort of ascendance in this world, as He is in so many others. It is not a story about us (except perhaps obliquely) as a people. It is a story about us as individual beings. As a student of philosophy (among other things) I find the questions raised and tackled through the trials and tribulations of these characters insightful approaches to questions that man has been asking of himself for thousands of years. My favourite, "Are we self actualized beings, or are we just cogs in the machine, inconsequential pawns?" What about Fate, anyway?
I feel compelled to interject here that many reviews I have read give a summary of the plot. If you really want to know, read the book. It is far and away worth your time. All I shall say about it is there is a quest, shared by creatures of disparate backgrounds; an epic quest and dynamic characters who are without a doubt worth every moment you will spend with these pages.
This book, I must say, has some down sides, as every work of art does. The singular curse in their culture is understandable, considering the theological state of things, but for me, it doesn't work. I would that there had been vulgarities instead of a curse. It is one of two dark spots that stick in my mind about this book and speaks to me only of the author's apparent lack of research into the origin of curses and swearing. When there are no gods to put power into a curse, it makes sense that there aren't any. Oaths, though? You can swear on your hands or eyes or call someone something socially unacceptable or generally unpleasant. This is rather beyond the point of the tale, though. It is not a story about swearing, and so it is a detail that I am more than willing to ignore for the sake of the story itself. Just in terms of personal preference, I would that the royal family didn't spend so very much time using that single curse. Then again, that can be said to lend to the rough image presented of royalty. They are not the perfect, clean, elegant creatures we would like them to be. They, like us, have vices and get muddy and die and grieve and sneeze. In that light, the vulgarity of the royal family is actually totally acceptable. While I am sure there were other things that I found irksome at the time I read them, they no longer stand out in my mind as worth talking about. There were some instances where punctuation that I would not have chosen was used, for instance, and I found it mildly distracting. Is that a good reason to avoid this book? Not at all. It is simply a stylistic discrepancy between one writer and the next. Who is to say that creative use of this language is a bad thing, anyway? It certainly caught my attention, anyway, and in my case was one of a myriad of things that drove me to read on. "Surely they will stop using thus and such a device, right? When the environment changes, perhaps? And what will that environment look like, anyway?" One little question opens a door to dozens of other ones, which, considering my personal insatiable curiosity, is a truly delightful feature of this book. So, you see, even in the face of personal objections to some things, there is a bright and encouraging side.
To return to well executed aspects of character development (for I have forsworn discussing plot in any detail), I found the differences between characters of different relative ages both surprisingly accurate and detailed. The naivete and arrogance of the young adventurers contrasts most elegantly with the sometimes cynical, sometimes patiently wise elders. The fresh perspective on their world reflects children who have been flung out into the world to learn how things actually are, to step outside the fairy-tale picture book that they grew up with. The old, conversely, are not always wise, but sometimes bitter and just as headstrong as the young, providing a diversity and individualization which I find exciting in a work of fantasy. Far too often are the old always one way and the young always the opposite. The places in which they cross over, and even the classism provide another element of that surprising depth to which I alluded earlier. It is a superb reflection of society as we know and have known it to be.
I also enjoyed the fact that the quest is multifaceted and encompasses not only the main cast of characters but engages all those who come into contact with it. It is not an inconsequential quest that exists merely to achieve a single goal, but the sort of quest which forever changes its participants. The best part about the change, though, is that it doesn't happen in earth shattering revelations and character-breaking events. They change gradually, as events that befall them and circumstances into which they barge slowly sink in. These things have an insidious sort of effect on folk and you find at the end of the book that they have grown, and perhaps, through them, you have grown. Even if you haven't (not that every book you touch is going to make radical changes in your being) you will have enjoyed the well paced internal journey that accompanies the sometimes breakneck physical journey in which players in this epic engage.
The point of all this rambling praise? Go forth and read this book. You will be glad you did.
Has the potential of being one of the Great Epic Fantasy Series, January 28, 2006
Wm Blank "Kernos" (Chaffee, MO United States)
The "Ivory Sword" is the 1st book in a new Epic Fantasy Series, "The Lore of DayONE". It is not an easy book and reminds me somewhat of "Dune" in that it drops the reader into the midst of a complex world, populated by congeries of sentient species all with varying doses of Natural Will (nature, instinct, deterministic) and Free Will (volition, subjective, learned, indeterministic), with strange names and sub-species which are difficult to remember on first reading. Along with this is a complex history and mythology which one must learn along the way. I have read this once for the experience. It will take re-readings to fully grok this world, as further volumes are published. Glossaries help this process, but appendices in the Tolkien style and maps are really needed at some point in this series.
The individuals are likable each in their own way and each reminds one of a part of himself. I found myself identifying with each character in part. One senses Jungian archetypes being built, in the characters, the mysterious 'divinities' and their eyes and mouths, the ravens with varying colored tails, but one cannot quite grasp onto them- yet. The hooks to hang the data on are only just being forged. The story gradually unfolds as the abilities and biases of the characters become apparent. I sense that the characterizations are far more important than the story-telling itself and that the story is a means to cause the characters to explore their own Free/Natural Will and to forge their own paths and ethical senses in their lives, rather than the story being an end in itself.
This book can be read and enjoyed as common escapist fantasy. But it works on many levels and is well worth thinking about in relation to oneself and one's philosophies. It may well change your perspectives about the nature of being. I will re-read each book as new ones in the series are published.
The "Lore of DayONE" has the potential to be among the great series of Epic Fantasy. We will just have to wait for he authors to discover their world and characters that inhabit it. The only criticism I have is that I feel the book could be more tightly edited. Indeed, on the copyright page is an heretofore unseen statement, "At the specific preference of the author, PublishAmerica allowed this work to remain exactly as the author intended, verbatim, without editorial input." I would not have wanted meaning changed, or parts left out for profit margins, but the book could have read more smoothly.
Great ride !!, January 24, 2006
Books Etc "BOOKS ETC" (San Clemente CA)
A. A. Wolfner's debut novel, Ivory Sword, is an amazing first effort by the gifted writing team of Alan Vekich and Art Kessner. By this effort alone, they seemingly have a fruitful writing career ahead of them. The blurb on the back cover of their book describes the two Co-Authors as Scientists with Vekich specializing in mythological history and his partner Kessner drawing from religious Philosophy to describe unconventional relationships between creative powers and their creations. Whatever the symbiosis, it works. The team shows extraordinary command in weaving a thoroughly engrossing tale around multi-faceted characters, intricate action and character-driven plots and subplots, all amidst the compelling ability to tell a grand story. They are clever Speculative Fiction writers to be sure.
As an aside, an excerpt from the book reveals that this tome isn't for the faint of heart and certainly not for younger children:
"The snapping, saliva-spitting fangs were short seconds away from his head and neck. Jean squeezed hard with both hands, until pain oozed out of the wolf's eyes. The wolf steadied himself and pushed forward, pushing Jean's arms back until the Elf's elbows hit the dirt. The harsh breath grew heavier. Jean could smell the blood and bile between the animal's fangs. Hot, heavy, saliva-filled breath wet Jean's face while the wolf's weight forced his arms deeper into the moist ground. The snap of the wolf's jaws sounded like a great steel trap. Jean's arm muscles seemed to snap like a coiled spring as he pushed hard against the abominable beast."
You'll notice the complex sentence structure and use of the word snap to mean "to close" and "to break". You can actually feel the wolf's hunger, his desire to devour this elf. You sense that if Jean doesn't get the help he needs, the elf will soon be the main course!
Now this isn't to say that younger readers won't enjoy the Ivory Sword, just that the verbiage, syntax and graphic nature may be too complex and heady for their full comprehension.
The more you delve into the story, the more evocative it becomes of the great J.R.R. Tolkien's Trilogy. And as most of us know...that's a good thing! As for those with concerns regarding Christian ideals and ethos, there's nothing here to violate the morality of those tenets. Yes...there are elves, dwarves, and supernatural creatures, but you can rest your mind knowing there are no sex scenes and no magic to speak of should you decide to let a younger child take a bite of this complex work.
The plot's not simple or straightforward. Rather it's a plot inside of plot with subplots, and all return and revolve around the main plot. Without being redundant, this is why I suggest that the 16 year old and over crowd might be its actual target audience. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can't read this book while parked in front of the TV. This is one to curl up with..... in silence. It will make you laugh, cry, get mad and be happy and often, all at the same time.
To the team's credit, they've created a richly believable fantasy world that engages the reader and keeps them from losing interest because of implausibility. As Fantasy readers well know, without this, a fantasy book is doomed. A. A. Wolfner achieves the goal of believability admirably.
The characters all seem to have a human quality to them. My personal favorite was Vertese. I won't give much away here but the Authors couldn't weave him into the plot enough for my taste. The Syron, half-Elves and Centaurs all evolve into characters who could have lived down my street and been my neighbors. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the week that I spent reading about the World of Taman, its people, and all the unusual places and people that the small band of adventurers visited. The Authors use familiar creatures but they have gone back to earlier myths or cultures to create their own myths and legends. This is not the Earth we know, but a world unto itself.
A little about the villains, since all fantasy stories these days must fight "good" versus "evil". Well, this book is just a little different. Ivory Sword is an amoral world, where good is directly related to your philosophy and evil would be anyone who doesn't buy into your philosophy. It was refreshing to read about characters that were trying to figure out what was righteous, what real justice was and to have the epiphany that just maybe, "might does not make the right".
Do yourself a favor and don't skip the Prologue. The Prologue lets you in on most of the main characters you'll want to follow. The other characters of the book help develop these main characters and though they're named, they're mostly there to flesh out the main characters personalities. If you get lost, there's always the glossary of characters with their relationship to other characters. As I pointed out, these guys didn't miss much. I didn't personally need it, but one friend who put down the book for a week, found it helpful to refresh his memory about what was happening. Also read the acknowledgement, it helps to put you in proper frame of mind to read the book. As I said earlier, it is very cleverly done.
Ivory Sword is an emotional Roller Coaster and a gripping read from start to finish. With characters you'll fall in love with, root for, hate, wish for their deaths but never, ever forget. This is a book you can read again and again and its nuances will have you finding new ideas, hints, plots and clues. I planning on reading the book for the third time to see what plot twists I've probably missed! Truly a five star novel and if you're a fantasy buff you'll find yourself in eager anticipation of A. A. Wolfner's next work.
Thrilling Epic Tale, January 23, 2006
Twa Corbies (CA)
"The new George R. R. Martin has been born for we new fantasy readers with A. A. Wolfner's The Lore of Dayone saga," say avid fantasy readers and authors of the novel Axe Magic, Nynaeve and Eduard Shtern. You'll find many long hours of pleasurable reading in the pages of the first book in the series, Ivory Sword. Wolfner's well crafted characters, while fitting well with the general fantasy scheme, are made quite unique with the different spin the authors have put on them.
This fast paced but intricately woven narration has enough to appeal to anyone's taste. Dwarves, half-elves and humans are but a few characters that appear on the pages of this ever-so-cool book. Together they develop a better understanding of the world around them that is set in the fantastic realms we remember from fairy tales. On their path the heroes meet love and betrayal, fierce enemies and loyal friends. This is a must read!
My other favorite series are Song of Ice and Fire, Wheel of Time, Sword of Truth, Valdemar and Amber.
Refreshing Fantasy =), by the author of Dreamsbane of Tamalor, January 17, 2006
I enjoyed this book very much. It pushes relationships of different races such as elves, humans, and others to the limits. I would love read any material these two talented authors unravel. The colorful characters bring to life a story that focuses not so much on the grand scheme of things, but portrays each one as a living, breathing individual with their own hopes and dreams. This book deserves 5 stars without a doubt. =)
Fun Read, December 8, 2005
This Book got 5 stars from me due to the fact that I enjoyed the characters and how they developed through out the story. This book goes through the psychological battles and insecurities almost everyone feels at some point in their life. It was well researched regarding the creatures involved. This is a high school to college level read due to vocabulary and complexity of plot. READ THE PROLOGUE, this is the only way to understand the basis for the entire book.