Fantasy takes an epic new turn in James A Moore’s Seven Forges. With a landscape that is majestically menacing, Moore takes us on a journey. Moore throws the reader into an action packed immersive world. Every detail fits beautifully to create a fascinating realm full of adventure and intrigue.
Captain Merros Dulver is the first in many lifetimes to find a path beyond the great mountains known as the Seven Forges and encounter, at last, the half-forgotten race who live there. And it would appear that they were expecting him. As he returns home, bringing an entourage of strangers with him, he starts to wonder whether his discovery has been such a good thing. For the gods of this lost race are the gods of war, and their memories of that far-off cataclysm have not faded.
The people of Fellein have live with legends for many centuries. To their far north, the Blasted Lands, a legacy of an ancient time of cataclysm, are vast, desolate and impassable, but that doesn’t stop the occasional expedition into their fringes in search of any trace of the ancients who had once lived there… and oft-rumored riches.
One cannot deny that Moore is a masterful setting crafter. Whether mountain pass or throne room, Moore succeeds in bringing to life the where, but the best aspect is how Moore utilizes his landscapes. At several points Moore showed how a place is seen by stranger to one and home to another. The juxtaposition is intriguing to see.
At no point does one character dominate the story. I found this to be neither good nor bad. This choice created an atmosphere where I hadn’t gotten involved in the arcs of any specific character. In addition, I had no favorite or least favorite character- a very rare occurrence. One of the reasons I never become invested in characters was Moore’s choice to switch point of view quite often. This was at many times overwhelmingly often and led to a lack of consistency in storytelling. Had Moore chosen to highlight three or so characters with one or two glimpses of others, it would have been more successful.
Action was a definite high point in Seven Forges. The entire plot revolves around what it takes to be a soldier and a warrior respectively. Moore highlighted culture differences in the distinction between types of fighting, be it with words or otherwise. The climax of this battle mentality was the epic ending. This finale was in part so grand because of the synergy of friend vs foe.
While entertaining, Seven Forges had its faults. Apart from the abundant point of view changes, one of the most annoying aspects was that the entire story seemed to lack any sense of time. The prime example of the chaos of perspective switch and lack of time was when a subplot became stronger than the dominant one. This minor plot was even more confusing when I couldn’t tell if it was a flashback or merely happening simultaneously in a different region.
Moore created an immersive world where foreign and native melded. I adored the nods to mythology, be it the characters which resembled muses or their valkyrie companions. There are many examples where fantasy is simply dark ages with a twinge of the exotic. Moore shows how this subgenre can work well without becoming daunting. Throughout, Seven Forges took me on an adventure I was thrilled to go on; a journey where knowledge is the soldier’s finest tool. I can’t wait to visit the Seven Forges once more.