Goodreads: The Written (Emaneska #1)
Genre: Fantasy (Epic Fantasy)
His name is Farden.
They whisper that he’s dangerous.
Dangerous is only the half of it.
A spellbook has gone missing from the libraries of Arfell – a very old and extremely powerful spellbook from the time of dark elves and demons. Five scholars are dead, the magick council is running out of time and options, and the Arka is once again on the brink of war with the Siren dragon-riders. It falls to Farden the Written mage to keep the world from falling into chaos. Entangled in a web of lies and politics, Farden must recover the spellbook before an ancient enemy rises, even if it takes journeying halfway across icy Emaneska and back. In his fight for answers, Farden will unearth a secret that not only shakes the foundations of his world, but threaten the entire future of Emaneska. Sorcery, death, drugs and the deepest of betrayals await. Welcome to Emaneska.
Earlier this year, Noly @The Artsy Reader asked me if I wanted to join the biggest ever blog tour organized by Dave @TheWriteReads for the author Ben Galley, and I got so excited because I’ve never participated in one before so of course, I said YES and I’m so glad I did! There were four books to choose from and they all sounded great, but I decided to go with Galley’s debut: The Written. I haven’t read a fantasy yet in 2019, so I wasn’t really sure if I was in the right mood to read this or if I’d enjoy it, but holy wow, I loved this book! This book has everything that makes fantasy fun: adventure, raging asshole bad guys, magic, vampires, werewolves, elves, gods and daemons, mythical creatures, and best of all: DRAGONS. It reminded me of all the reasons why I love fantasy so much and diving back into the fantasy world felt a bit like coming home.
As this is the first book of the Emaneska series, there’s obviously plenty of worldbuilding. I thought Galley did a great job at describing the different regions of Emaneska, the cities/villages, the magick, and the creatures, and I felt myself becoming fully immersed in all the scenes. We also get to learn a bit more of Emaneska’s history through epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter, which I really enjoyed. I did find though that the pace tended to dip a little at times because it could get very descriptive. The story itself was pretty fast paced, especially the last 50% of the book, and a lot happens in a very short amount of time.
You know that moment you think you know who the bad guy is, but then you think that’s too obvious, so then you become suspicious of someone else, and then everything starts playing out how you think it will, but in an even more epic way? That’s what happened with this book. The twists were so good and still shocking, and the fact that my suspicions were proven right didn’t make it less of an enjoyable reveal. There’s also some good humor thrown in the text that had me laughing out loud a few times, so that as a nice surprise I wasn’t expecting!
I was honestly a little ‘meh’ about Farden’s character when he first appears, but the more I read, the more I loved him. He’s kinda the typical fantasy novel hero–big, strong, gruff on the surface but caring deep down, but he’s also got a short fuse, is often reckless, and has a seriously bad and dangerous habit that I was worried would plague his character throughout the book. He’s also a bit of a loner and mostly doesn’t prefer the company of people, which I can relate to, but he has a few close friends who he greatly appreciates and respects. He’s really just a good guy battling his own demons, and the latter half of this book had me really emotional for him. I loved many of the others we’re introduced to in the story–Durnus, Eyrum, Lazy–but I have to say that my favorite were THE DRAGONS (Farfallen and Brightshow especially). The dragons could talk. They were magical, wise, and kind. Overall, they were just very awesome and I wanted to be their friend.
The only thing I can think of that really bothered me when I encountered it while reading were the various typos (once there was a chunk of text that didn’t belong in the middle of a paragraph). Confusing at times, but for the most part okay, I’m just a bit of a stickler for these things!
The Written was a great fast-paced adventure and it excites me that this is just the beginning. I think I’ll continue on with this series right now, as I don’t feel like I’m ready to leave Farden and Emaneska just yet. At least, not before finding out more about what happens next!
About the Author
Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new Chasing Graves Trilogy.
Thanks to Ben Galley for giving me a digital copy of the book as part of this Ultimate Blog Tour!
Special thanks to Dave for the tremendous effort of organizing this tour of 100+ bloggers?! Amazing! 🙌🏽 Be sure to check out the other bloggers who’ve participated in the #UltimateBlogTour coz there are loads of great posts out there! You can find their posts on Twitter @TheWriteReads OnTour. Happy reading, friends!