Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Review | "The Unbound Man" by Matt Karlov

I won this week's book in a Goodreads giveaway a few months ago, and by just looking at the book's star rating, it didn't make me too excited to read it- but I actually really enjoyed it!
Here's the book's description:

The Unbound ManIn a land of merchant companies, printing presses, gunpowder and sorcery, Arandras Kanthesi once worked alongside the gifted and powerful, hunting down artefacts of the glorious past and teasing out their secrets. Then an unknown assailant murdered his wife, and his world fell apart.
Now, at last, he has a lead.
But pursuing his quarry means joining forces with the Quill, the order of sorcerers and scholars Arandras abandoned after his wife's death. And the Quill's help never comes without a price.
In his hunt for the killer, Arandras stumbles across a relic of a long-dead empire, one that could lead to a weapon of enormous power. Caught between his former colleagues and his wife's murderer in a race for the lost weapon, Arandras must decide what he values most: revenge, the lives of those he once called friends, or the fate of a world he no longer cares for.
By turns gritty, reflective, and intense, THE UNBOUND MAN is a powerful debut from a compelling new voice in fantasy. 

This is a medieval fantasy novel that can be read as a stand alone (and was originally intended as such) however a sequel is in the works.  
I liked the book. I think the first half was especially gripping and while it slowed down some at the midway point, the story never really dragged on to the point that I just wanted it to be over. However, with only a 3.5 rating average on Goodreads, there are some things I noticed could have been improved (though I gave the book 4 stars myself).
There was some redundance, though. Not in the sense of word repetition, more that there were different phrases and statements that would be made that meant the same thing, so all of them being in the book was unnecessary. 
The exposition was a little rushed, so details could be forgotten or missed entirely, and the dialogue was at times over simplified while the story itself was very heavy with its metaphor use.
There is a scene where Arandras is confronted by two of the three other members of his group. That in itself isn't an issue, what I had a problem with was the logic. Arandras and Mara were clearly the intelligent, important members of the team, how do the other two get the nerve to think they can get along without one or both of them?
Some of the perspectives were much less captivating than others. That's a natural occurrence when there are multiple points of view in a story, but the less attention grabbing characters should have had the most intriguing parts. In theory, they had the most crucial roles of the story as far as giving the reader information about the world  and mythology is concerned. Also, at times it seemed as if the author was struggling to make the different plots actually mesh together.
Since we don't get to see relationships form much, the end results of such developments and their intensity seems forced and out of place.
Now comes the part where I say whether I would recommend this book or not. Here's the thing, for storyline, I say yes. It's not perfect, but it's a good novel that I enjoyed. There are familiar elements mixed with original ideas that don't make the story seem like one that's been done a thousand times, but it depends on how you want to read the book. The physical copies range from around 18-35 euros depending on whether you choose paperback or hardcover and what site you use to order the book. Is this a 20 euro book? Sadly, no. 
The ebook can be downloaded from amazon at a more reasonable price (though still more than other independently published books) and is even free for kindle unlimited users. So ultimately, it's up to you. If you have an ereader and you are willing to risk 5 euros or so, then go for it. If you can't justify it on a "maybe" sort of interest, considering the numerous other titles that can be downloaded for 2,99 or less, then don't feel like you're missing the next big thing. It's a good book, but it's not a must read.

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