Saturday, January 4, 2014

Review of The Knife's Edge by Matthew Wolf Blurb
When legends come to life the world trembles from a single name. Ronin. Once-heroes from a different age, they wield elemental powers… wind, water, fire, stone, forest, sun, moon, flesh, and metal.

At the same time, a young man discovers his best friend with a sword in her stomach, and dark wings sprouting from her back. Guards rush onto the scene, accuse him of the act, and he is forced to flee. In a new world without his memories, Gray must find his way amid legends and darkness, as he wrestles with an elemental power inside himself.

A power all too similar to the infamous Ronin…
I really like the story of the book, but I'm not sure I like the author's writing style.  I almost gave it a three for that reason, but I do like the story enough to give it a four.  It seemed to me that the most vivid picture that was painted by the author was the waterfall scene when Gray and Mura were sparring.  There are creatures in this book, and words used, that are not described enough for me, and context is no help.  Things that don't exist in our world and are a part of the world that the author created.  Maybe awesome authors have ruined me, lol.  I have high expectations when an author creates a new world.  I want to be able to see the creatures in my head, not just a black blob of creature or a really big dog.  This appears to be this author's first published book, so I'd love to see if his writing style changes any over the years, and I'd really like to read the rest of the saga.
Matthew Wolf is the author of the Ronin Saga. Or maybe he's a Ronin. Either way, he's involved somehow. Aside from epic fantasy, he enjoys woodcrafting, outdoors, a bit of a health nut (Kale is good!), and trains in Kung Fu.

His childhood of traveling the world and studying Old English and Japanese influenced the schemes of the Saga, and the world of Daerval. He is a graduate from UCSB with a Literature degree with a specialization in Medieval Literature and Japanese.

Website/Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

A Journey Forward
Blinding white flickered across the darkness.
Light… the notion skittered across a distant field of thoughts—each thought like a tiny flame dancing in the darkness of Gray’s mind. He drifted back towards slumber and darkness when a voice sounded through the gloom. Wake up! He ignored it, but it spoke again, Sleep is for the weak and the dead. Am I dead? he asked the voice.
Not yet. Now rise.
Gray let the distant light fill him and his eyes opened to the blinding brightness. Suddenly the fall and all else came back to him in a rush. He gasped as if water filled his lungs and he was drowning. Gradually, his breaths slowed. pebbled dirt beneath his cheek, the world appeared as if seen through thick glass. High above, he gazed upon a screen of branches. A canopy. His eyes adjusted to the bright light, and he saw broken branches and a hole in the awning. His mind reeled. How am I alive? He propped himself upon his elbow and his arm burst in a fountain of pain. A jagged gash ran down his left arm. He recalled the scene with the wolf. The wound was peeled back at the surface, looking like gnarled lip, and congealed blood covered the gaping cut. He winced. “I’ll have to clean it soon,” he voiced aloud, looking around for a stream or nearby brook.
Suddenly, he remembered his sword and fear ran through him. He turned and spotted it beside a nearby tree. Relief flooded him.
He rose to get the blade and throbbing pain wrenched his other shoulder. Gently, he rolled it, and sucked in a sharp breath. It felt detached. He looked around in uncertainty, when a memory flashed. Stumbling to his feet, he hobbled to a thick oak. A strange, familiar calm came over him. At the height of his exhale he rammed his shoulder into the tree’s trunk. There was a loud pop and pain bloomed before his eyes, but when it cleared he could move his arm again. He smiled in relief, but knew the hermit had not taught him that.
“Mura,” he whispered and memory of the hermit flooded through him. The last image he had was of Mura slumped against a tree.
He moved towards the cliff and placed his hands to the looming mountain of stone and dirt. Mura had told him to escape the woods and quickly. I will do as promised. I can pass through the woods easily enough following the Silvas River. Once he reached the trading city of Lakewood, he would find safety and wait for Mura. Five days before the spell wears off, he reminded himself. Five days until I see Mura again.
Snatching up his sword, he found a nearby stream and rinsed his wound. The clear, crystal water rinsed over the deep cut. As he ignored the pain, a leaf flashed in his mind’s eye. He paused curiously when a fish darted among the rock bed, and his stomach growled. When the cut was clean, but in need of a bandage, he made his way back to the clearing, hunting for his bag, but after a while his spirits sank.
“It’s gone…”
He leaned against a tree and looked up. There, dangling from a nearby bough was his bag. That should do for now, he thought when he finished wrapping his arm, admiring his handiwork.
Famished, he set aside two red apples and a hunk of orange cheese wrapped in waxy cloth. He finished his meal quickly. With the tang of cheese still on his tongue, he wished for more, but already he knew he would have to ration it out if he were to survive. He began to rise when he caught a flash of silver.
Gray reached into his pack and withdrew his hand. A silver pendant glinted in his palm, and he remembered what Mura had said about the pack containing an object from his past. The pendant was divided in parts by lines, and in each part, was a symbol.
The eight symbols of the Great Kingdoms. The hair on his arms stood on end. “There is one missing,” he said, remembering the emblem of wind that Mura had shown him in the cabin; and he realized the curious tome the hermit had bestowed upon him was now likely gone forever…
His grip tightened on the pendant and magically the two halves of the metal twisted as if on hinges, and then snapped whole once again. Now four of the symbols were on one side, and four were on the other. He twisted it once again. Now two showed. The pendant’s surface glinted.
If the stories were right, the kingdoms held different strengths. Perhaps… He twisted it again, trying to order them from most powerful to least. Aside from wind, sun was the most powerful, so the stories said. Then forest. Sun, forest, fire, ice, stone, moon, metal, flesh. Twisting, Gray lost himself to the symbols, until the last one clicked in place. He gave a triumphant smile, revealing the eight symbols of the Great Kingdoms in order of power. Abruptly, all the symbols vanished in a wave of light.
In their place, was the emblem of wind. pendant grew hot and he threw it to the ground as a sudden light flared from the pendant, lighting the clearing in a flash of brilliant gold. He approached. It was warm now, no longer hot, and he twisted it once. The glow vanished and all the symbols returned to the way they were. All eight. He shook his head and laughed aloud. He looked up, as if expecting someone to see what he had just done, but he was alone. The clearing was empty. A small breeze emphasized his solitude. Gray went to put the pendant back in the pack when his hand halted, and he slipped it around his neck, tucking it beneath his shirt.
He strapped his sword to his back then slung his pack over his shoulder, looking towards the early morning sun. With a last glance behind, he moved out of the clearing, into the forest, and onward. Towards Lakewood, wondering what was around the next bend.

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