Archive for January 14th, 2014

Gav Thorpe – The Crown Of The Conquerer

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

The Crown Of The Conquerer (2011) by Gav Thorpe is the second book of The Crown Of The Blood Trilogy. Despite it being the middle book one does not have the idea that it is only a connecting story as the first novel had a finale that closed the main storyline. The Crown Of The Conquerer is set up in a similar way although one will be lacking some information on what happened before. The novel has a storyline of its own that also ends in the same book. The novel thus manages to stand on its own. There is still the greater storyline that connects the novels but if the trilogy had been a longer series it could have been any volume.

The plot of the story itself is fairly straightforward. Gav Thorpe writes rather military fantasy and the fighting of wars take up much of the story. To make sure that the story contains everything needed and reaches the goal Thorpe has set the story takes many jumps in time, with weeks passing by at once frequently. This sometimes makes it hard to keep sight of the greater picture of the events. Filling the time with unimportant events is of course not required, one must keep focus on the story. It is just that Thorpe has set his requirements in such a way that to make them relatively realistic he has to jump in time a lot.

Thorpe adds in multiple elements of intrigue to thwart the main protagonist of the story now that he is in a position of power. As the main protagonist is rather a good guy although somewhat violent he is easily manipulated. One of these intrigues is handled rather clumsy and could have been approached in much smarter way. Fortunately his opponents are not that much smarter than him. That is one peculiarity of this novel. The characters are in general not that smart and all make some kind of, rather stupid, mistake that they could have avoided. I didn’t think it was annoying or generating sighs as they do cause sudden twists that are hard to predict.

There is not much character development. With the strong pace that moves the story forward there is not much time for any character to stay in one place too much. As Thorpe uses multiple characters, besides the main protagonist, to tell the story he has limited time for them and most is spent to move the plot forward. Where he tries to some characteristics become somewhat odd and unexplained. One character becomes rather vile compared to his earlier behavior, which felt somewhat out of tone.  Thorpe’s character development worked best on two characters who were both in a more lowly position. He also spent more quality time with them and that immediately paid off. If he could have managed that with the other characters the overall quality of the novel could be much better.

The Crown Of The Conquerer is not as good as the first novel to which it is the sequel. The story is much simpler and straightforward. It is refreshing to have the characters be a bit more dumb than is usual, although I’m more for the smart and cunning characters as the possible complexity that could be created in the plot was now lost early on because the characters failed on their own. Nevertheless it is a fun and easy read, with nice and original worldbuilding that provides the basics for a fairly original fantasy story. Better than average, very enjoyable, but not on the level of belonging to the better fantasy novels.