By Robert Day
Demon Gates is a high fantasy novel by Robert Day.
The land of Kil’Tar has a long and bloody history of war between the Kay‘taari and the Ashar’an. Aided by Dragonkind, the Kay’taari have protected the world against the Ashar’an and their demonic followers for many centuries. With demonkind banished to the Voids, and the Ashar’an all but destroyed, Kil’Tar has settled into an era of peace.
The seals binding the portals to the voids are now breaking, and the Ashar’an are abroad once again, the Kay’taari nowhere to be found on Kil’Tar.
Can Valdieron, a young man raised in the small village of Shadowvale, fulfill his destiny and rid the lands of this menace once and for all, or will he falter, and condemn Kil’Tar to demonic destruction?
Demon Gates is very much in the vein of the traditional high fantasy series, with elves, dwarves, demons and dragons, a well developed magic system and includes a character called Garrik (a very popular name in the fantasy world), albeit in a minor capacity . While there is clearly inspiration from writers such as Tolkien and Salvatore the author has managed to imprint his own voice giving the novel a distinct unique feel all of it's own, which has a slight nod to the forgotten realms series of novels.
The plot is also fairly standard fare, young man born of common stock finds out there is much more to his ancestry (and life) than meets the eye after a dramatic event, and goes off to see the world and perhaps even rescue it from impending evil. Yes it's all been done many times before, but it's still good to occasionally read well written examples of the genre, those that pay homage to rather than plagiarize, defining the standard rather than re-inventing the wheel.
The prose is written to a very high standard, with a real descriptive edge and the world building is balanced nicely enough not to dampen the plot but gives a clear background to what's going on. The narrative lends itself very well to the numerous and well placed action scenes and the characters are both interesting and very much three dimensional. The fight scenes are worthy of a mention too, they are absolutely great, descriptive, clear, and perfectly paced.
The author is also not afraid to kill people off to heighten the dramatic tension and I must admit being totally glued to the pages from the third chapter onwards, despite knowing that I've read very similar stories many many times in the past. To achieve this feat for a world wary and increasingly jaded reviewer takes a great deal of story telling ability and it's a real testament to the novel and the author.
Demon Gates is a finely crafted tale of sufficient quality to place right alongside those of it's peers, any fan of the genre will undoubtedly enjoy this well thought out and effortlessly realised story. Recommended.
Written on 16th January 2011 by Ant .