Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Hidden Sun: Book Review

J Lloyd Morgan or “Manly Lord Jog” (pronounced YOG) likes his anagrams. His novel The Hidden Sun is also a play on words, but Morgan doesn't just play-he also takes risks.

Set in a secondary medieval world,(like my friend Daron Fraley's The Thorn) this might seem like a fantasy but it isn't, there isn't any magic nor even any fantastical creatures. It might seem like a romance, but it isn't that either, it really isn't too lovey-dovey despite relationships, marriage and family being the prime arena of conflict.

It took getting through about the first 50 pages for me to be interested, a bit slow of an opening for my tastes.
All that and the main character isn't even introduced until one third of the way into the book.
I classify these as risks with a first novel.
Morgan is setting up a roller coaster ride. I fully admit to being put off that first 50 pages, BUT then I was blown away.

I love what happened.

Morgan kills main characters-like George RR Martin does in Song of Ice and Fire, you can't be sure if someone is going to make it or not.
The scheming villain is ruthless and it gets the reader concerned, we are thrown into the world where truly terrible things happen-this isn't a white-washed little fable, people die here.
It made the ongoing story relevant to me. If there hadn't been this surprising risk of killing off main characters, the moral of power corrupting and making the right choice regardless of outcome, wouldn't have captured me.
Right when I thought Morgan lost me-he caught me again with his tricks-BRAVO.

The finale at the end was good, though I felt strongly that some of the villains should have put up a bigger fight, rather than being resigned to their fate. I think we needed some bloodshed at the end-I would have liked to have seen Rayne fight off some of Abrecan's men.
But this novel may be a little more YA than I am used to too. As has been mentioned by other reviewers, it is a safe clean read. I couldn't help but imagine it being similar to some of my old favorite black & white Errol Flynn swashbuckler type movies. You know, where the bad guy gets pierced through the heart, but "we" the audience, don't actually see any blood, those are still great movies just tame by my current barbarous standards.
Course I may be a desensitized cuss.

When it comes to the sequel Morgan is working on, I'll be very excited to see how he can possibly top the surprises he has thrown at us thus far.

Visit J. Lloyd Morgan
here and or here.


J Lloyd Morgan said...

Excellent review! Thank you so much for taking the time to read The Hidden Sun and review it. You gave some outstanding insight. (OUTstanding INsight? Can you use those words back to back?)
Anyway, I actually felt the first part of the book was a bit slow going as well. However, the readers who are of the female persuasion seem to really enjoy those chapters. It's something I addressed in the second book. There is a little more for everyone at the start.
As for your comments about the ending, you aren't alone in wanting to see some sort of more active resistance from the villians. I'll just say this: the main hero is a pretty darn wise guy--give him a little faith that he has a plan and knows what he's doing. Again, the second book will explain more--and not in the way you will probably guess. But isn't that the fun?

David J. West said...

J-Yeah it is, your surprise twists are what made the book for me.