I cannot tell you how sick to death I am of derivative epic fantasy novels. But I will. Why don’t people have original thoughts any more? Isn’t there something different you could do to your epic that doesn’t hearken back to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time or Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth (my most hated ever) series?
I often randomly choose fantasy series to read because I like to discover a good yarn. But these books don't develop anything close to it.
The Lord of the Isles is over 600 pages that projects into so many confusing directions that half the time I was reading it I wondered what the hell was going on. It starts simply; a young shepherd named Garric discovers that he is the descendant of the once future king or some such, then he and his adopted sister, best friend and best friend's sister start off on an adventure with the aid of a middle-aged warriorsort and an ancient female wizard.
They leave their island home in some gentle “hamlet” (it really is named Barca’s Hamlet) and all sorts of wondrous and terrible things occur to each one, including dealing with demons, the undead, cannibals and a tree that takes over the soul of one of them. I think. Honestly, I don’t even know. How is it possible that I could have read this tome and come away so utterly clueless?
The writing itself is basically dull. But an even-handed kind of dull. Drake isn’t an especially gifted raconteur and he repeats himself frequently though his writing is much better than books in the Forgotten Realms library (except for anything by R.A. Salvatore) or other pulp-fiction fantasy series.
Still the epic is so slow to get off the ground that it seems a ponderous undertaking. I wonder where his ideas come from. At one point (for half the book) he has half of the major characters adrift at sea in various occasions, which is extremely plodding, and he seems to make up things to happen to them as padding, as if he can’t have them getting to a location too soon.