June 23, 2014 by mmileti
Seven Forges is the first book in a new epic fantasy series. The entire novel is written in the tone of a prequel, and instead of a plotline filled with conflict, the reader is given a story that very gradually builds a sense of tension. I found this an interesting and unique approach for a first book in a series, though unfortunately this method of writing made for a story that took a long time to get into. Although the book was entertaining, I did not become fully engaged in the story until near the end, but by that point I was definitely interested in reading the next installment in the series.
This novel is told from several different points of view and tells the story of two very different cultures meeting for the first time. Captain Merros Dulver, a man of the Fellein Empire, is hired to map out the Blasted Lands. It is an empty place full of constant ice and storms that lies before the distant, and never before explored, mountains called the Seven Forges. In this desolate place Merros unexpectedly comes across a member of a whole new culture, a man named Drask who has a hand made of silver that moves and feels just as well as one made of flesh. Drask invites Merros and his party to enter the Seven Forges where he encounters an entire people with veiled faces and a proclivity for violence.
When Merros returns home he brings an entourage of the fascinating strangers with him. It is a diplomatic mission with the hopes of introducing the people of the Seven Forges to the emperor of the Fellein people and cultivating a peaceful relationship between them. But when Merros learns that the people of the Seven Forges communicate directly with their violent gods, who could order them to start or war or worse at any moment, he starts to wonder if the people he is bringing to the heart of his empire are really there for peace, or if they have darker intentions.
Even though this novel lacks a hook to engross the reader in the story, it is a good introduction into an interesting world that I would love to know more about. Moore used several familiar tropes in his world building including a wizard advisor, and a foreign race of savage warriors, but despite this managed to create a unique setting with a mysterious magic system. The differences between the two races, and their several violent misunderstandings, are what drive the plot of this book. Even though these encounters are entertaining I do not think they were engaging enough to be the substance for an entire novel. Moore has done a good job of setting the scene, now I hope that he will give us an exciting story with a fast-paced and conflict filled plot in the next few books of the series. I would also like to see a deeper level of character development in the rest of the series, because even though the characters were interesting enough, there was no single character that I really felt sympathetic towards.
I would rate this novel a 6.5/10, though hopefully I will be able to rate the next novel, The Blasted Lands much higher.