Hunt for Valamon is a fast paced epic fantasy tale that manages to portray a number of genre tropes in a fresh and exciting way. The strong authorial voice of the writing quickly draws the reader in, the almost conversational tone of delivery actually put me in mind of Terry Pratchett. The language is witty and provides a continuous source of humour throughout the book, everything from the dialogue to description works to bring a chuckle as you read.
While the book may have a strong comedic tone as the plot develops it gains more depth and seriousness. The standard fantasy elements like great wars, evil curses and blood feuds bring a more sober cast to the story, and central themes of forgiveness, friendships and the value of life are deftly handled by a cast of vivid and well crafted characters.
The pairing of bumbling cleric Seris and the utterly badass Elhan - the cursed one, is a great matchup. Their attempts to rescue Valamon, trekking across wilderness, stalking sorcerers and toppling prisons is a long series of catastrophes and serves as a new take on the quest narrative. In particular the dialogue between them is a source of fun and humour, with Seris constantly trying to rein in his destructive charge.
The rest of the cast bring their own flair to the story as well. Prince Falon’s rough edges strike fear into the populace, backed up by his noble aid Qara. And the exchanges between Valamon and Lord Haska reveal much of the individuals’ character and motivations. All of the characters in the story show some level of development and change as the novel progresses, the process handled very naturally and with skilful pacing. The reader may well find their opinions shifting as they watch the protagonists react to events and grow throughout the novel.
The plot has a round mix of twists and conflicting story arcs, woven together across a vast fantasy world. The story delivers a tale of adventure and mayhem, played out by characters that are dynamic and varied, ensuring that the reader never gets bored. Fantasy elements are portrayed with an original twist, like the sorcerers in the novel, the impression of ancient creatures with a human face was a nice play on the idea. The mechanics of the curse were also very innovative, honestly showing me something new in fantasy writing.
There were some bits that jarred in the story, a number of frequent p.o.v changes to new characters threw the narrative, along with a few events that seemed out of place. There were also snippets of modern terms or slang that seemed out of place within the book and broke up the narrative flow. However, these issues were few and easily overlooked.
Hunt for Valamon is a fun and witty novel with a deceptively humorous coating that actually has a lot of depth. It has great characters and a narrative voice to recommend it, a good read whether you’re a fantasy fan or not.
Written on 7th May 2015 by Aaron Miles.
SFBook is entirely funded by Ant including hosting, development and any other costs.
If you enjoy the site please consider a small donation towards the cost of the upkeep and development of SFBook.