Sunday 9 November 2014

The Orb of Chaos (Vol 1): No Rest For the Wicked by M. Ray Allen

Title: No Rest For the Wicked
Author: M. Ray Allen
Series: The Orb of Chaos (Vol 1)
Read Type: Author Request
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You can purchase a copy of this book from Amazon UK, Amazon US, Smashwords, B&N and a signed paperback from the author
You can find out more about the author on Website, Facebook, Indieview Interview and Goodreads
Series Blurb
The Orb of Chaos follows a group of adventurers that are thrown together by fate to stop the world from being devastated by those that would use the Orbs power.

Book Blurb
No Rest for the Wicked (Book 1 of the Orb of Chaos series) begins the story by showing how the group comes together after a demonic king named Nicholas DeVanya manages to collect the pieces of the Orb of Chaos after it was scattered two thousand years ago. Despite their differences, they have to find a way to work together to stop Nicholas from using the Orb to raise an unstoppable army and slaughtering their home and everyone that lives there.

Author Bio
Raised as a Navy Brat, I grew up living all over the United States. While born in Oklahoma my family lived in Bermuda, California, Texas as well as a few other places in between. After High School, I attended the University of Oklahoma to be closer to my extended family and close friends – The Clarks.

During my time at OU, my friend, Mark Blauser, and I stayed up one summer night drinking and talking about our favorite adventure stories (he’s a Tolkien fan). I shared this tale with him and (to my surprise) he loved it. We were up until 3-4am talking about it before I finally crashed. The next day he came over (waking me from a hangover) and forced me to tell him the story again, but this time he brought a tape recorder and insisted we find a way to get this on paper.

So began the tales of Sol and Oather. It’s taken a long time to pull it together, but it’s finally done. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I have but don’t fear, there’s more to come. This was just the beginning…

Royalties Donation
100% of all author royalties from the sale of this book will go to help Genesis Women's Shelter of Dallas, TX.

Genesis Women's Shelter Mission Statement:
To end the epidemic of domestic violence against women and children by stopping individual victimization and reducing the devastating impact of family violence through safety, shelter and expert services to battered women and their children.

We are committed to preventing violence by raising the level of community awareness regarding the pervasiveness and effects of domestic violence.

Strong language: Some
Drugs: None
Violence: Yes
Sexual content: None

I received a copy of this novel in return for an unbiased review.

Set in a world that knows of magic, elves, wizards and monsters, this is a fun romping adventure with a group of eclectic characters who begin the story alone, but slowly work their way into one group to fight the greater evil before them. You have young men on their latest madcap scheme to get rich – or die trying; a wizard; an elf; a knight in training; a priest; and an assassin.

The book is split into short, pithy chapters, each one through a different point of view as these characters are introduced to us, seemingly going about their own business.  Slowly the reader discovers the connections between these characters as they join forces, sometimes planned, sometimes by necessity. At first I found the repeated switching a bit disorienting, but there were soon fewer groups to keep track of and it ceased to be a problem.

Out of all the characters I feel the young man, Sol, is the leader of any group he is in. between him and his friend and shadow, Oather, they often take charge of people with more experience, making use of the natural chemistry Sol spreads. Oather feels like Sol's right hand, always there to agree, and do whatever Sol suggests, even if he internally disagrees, despite his much larger body-frame. He could almost be considered an extension of Sol in some scenes, just adding a backing vote to the latest madcap proposal. Nevertheless I liked the young man.

Then, of course, there are the bad side to consider. Nicolas, a demonic king who's mad to the bone has the adventurers trapped in a realm with him where the Gods have made it impossible for anybody to leave. Downtrodden and wary villagers meet the free, soon chasing them off after a slight misunderstanding causes the deaths of several. Nothing to worry about!

At first Nicolas has some of the characters held hostage for one reason or another. One character who really stood out was a young priest, Halistan, who is lucky enough to have a fabled healing article with him at the time of his kidnap. This really shows his emotional and moral stand as he heals other prisoners he can't even see for no discernable gain of his own.

Nicolas himself is a fascinating character, I was never sure how much of what he said was the truth, how much a lie, or how much he'd just convinced himself of over the years. I've read a vast amount of fantasy, science fiction and folklore, yet every time I thought I had him pinned for what he was and what he could do he'd surprise me yet again. He's many generations old, as are his few staff, adding a sense of time and more reason for his madness and desperation.

Despite all the differences, as Nicolas plays his trump card the group manage to pull together for one cause, even if they decided to do it in vastly different ways. You have minds from the realms of "I must do the lords work" and "it is my duty to protect one and all even when they are trying to kill me" to "well, as he's dead he won't mind me taking his jewellery and any other titbits"! some hold their cards close to their chests until the very end, leaving me surprised at where they stood.

Stylistically  felt the writing would have benefitted from more tagging of speech so we knew who'd said what, and use of active voice during explanations to make them more engaging. On the other hand, I particularly liked the way humour and sarcasm were used to break up complex explanations and longer fight scenes.

I think this could be considered a light epic fantasy, it had the wide world and social hierarchy of the Hobbit without designating half a tree worth of paper to telling the history of a race we only meet briefly, or making my fingers itch for a dictionary of the places and characters in the world every couple of pages.

This book has a solid ending, I felt all the major plot points were covered with no urgent cliff hangers making me feel I have to rush out to buy another book to see how it ends. However, there were several parts that left the story open for continuation, not to mention the massive changes in the lives of several of the characters. I shall look forward to reading the sequel when it is out and returning to this world.

The 411
This was a great easy to read fantasy to get away from the world with. The eclectic groups of characters left me plenty to love and a few to love to hate! The writing moved at a good pace and was imaginative.

The ending left me satisfied, but room for more adventures in the world.

I give this novel a 4.5 adjusted to a 4 for reviewing sites.

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