This was a different experience for me, and I’m really pleased that I went along for the ride. Jaeth’s Eye is a complex world with a massive cast of characters, and it doesn’t feel any immediate need to explain itself to the reader – this can be a blessing and a curse, depending on both your inclinations as a reader and how good your memory is (especially the latter). There were times that I was genuinely confused as to what was happening and why – but many of these instances became clear to me later on in the book. Villoso demands a great deal of trust, and for the most part it absolutely pays off – I may have been perplexed at times, but I was always entertained. And that is why I read, after all.
The characters are well written, their motivations make sense and the dialogue is frequently witty and sparkling. Definitely one of the main strengths of the novel, along with its peculiar world full of diverse and alien cultures. There is often a feeling in epic fantasy that the author is making up the world as they go along – not so with Jaeth’s Eye. This is a world that the author clearly knows inside out, everything from the races and religions to the cities and cultures feels meticulously planned down to the most minute detail. Should the series take off it would certainly benefit from an encyclopedia or wiki of some kind to keep track of it all.
When the separate strands of the plot and the characters begin to intersect, the novel truly starts to shine (this is around the 60% mark). Some great twists and plenty of excitement. It’s remarkably tight and dense in a world of 800+ page doorstops, so if you want an epic fantasy without the bloat, Villoso has you covered.
On the downside, I’d say that it would benefit from some editing. Some scenes are a little unclear, and there’s an occasional typo that you pretty much can expect from an indie/self pub. This isn’t too big of a deal for me but I know some people struggle with that kind of thing – with that said, I understand that The Agartes Epilogues are undergoing a fresh round of editing as we speak so by the time you come to read this review that well be taken care of already. Some folks won’t have a good time with the Dark Souls style narrative, but that is entirely a matter of personal taste and many will absolutely relish it.
Personally, I had a great time. And given how inexpensive the kindle version is, I’d say it’s well worth a shot. 🙂
/r/Fantasy Bingo 2017 Squares
- Fantasy Debut
- Self-Published Author
- Writer of the Day
- Enosh Sucks (that one might not be a real square)