Disclosure: A copy of this book was given by the author for an honest review.
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Defense of the Land Series
In the age old struggle of good v. evil, who gets to decide who—or what—is good?
Can a beautiful, goody-two-shoes paladin knowingly consort with an assassin? Depends on how desperate the assassin is….
Jaramiile throws her sword in with five others to stop the scourge of evil that has been reborn in The Land. Yet can she face her god when one of her companions admits to being hired to slay another? What if the target is her sworn enemy? To further confuse the matter, the assassin has skills their party needs—and he is very handsome….
Come along on yet another magical ride as Vance Pumphrey weaves The Valdaar’s Fist tale from another perspective—those who would stop the raising of the dark god.
Discussion: Vance Pumphrey has created an Epic Fantasy chocked full of orc battles, paladins, magicusers, rogues, narrow escapes and earth-shattering secrets. While able to stand-alone, I recommend reading Dragma’s Keep first as Live & Learn takes place simultaneously, coming from a different perspective.
As a brilliant example of hunter turned prey, Vance Pumphrey pens a magical page turner with this newest woeful band of misfits. Tracking Sordaak and his crew through the underground maze toward the elusive Dragma’s Keep, this group of characters sometimes bites off more than they can handle. While struggling to gain ground on Sordaak, they face monumental battles, a devious demon, and hidden agendas that strain the tenuous relationships forged on their journey.
Coupled with an interesting plot, I appreciate the parallels that Mr. Pumphrey includes in this latest installment. Since I have read Dragma’s Keep, I enjoyed reliving the hazards that befell Sordaak’s crew, and it added a sense of urgency and dread to the novel. After growing attached to Sordaak and his companions and hoping for their success in raising Valdaar, I began Live & Learn with a bit of trepidation. Not wanting to root for this new set of warriors, devoted to Praxaar, I held a grudge for a time. However, Vance Pumphrey writes in a way to compel those with the strongest of wills to hold the newest cast of characters of Live & Learn in high esteem. By the end, I respected their grit and determination, even though my alliance remained with Sordaak.
In the same fashion, similarities abound between the groups, each with a paladin, magicuser, healer, and jack-of-all-trades. Their devotion to a cause speaks volumes, and in any other circumstance, both sides would probably get along rather well. I can imagine them sitting around an open fire, drinking ale, and rehashing past battles and proudly displaying war wounds. Of course, the only obstacle that pits them against one another is who they serve which encompasses an age-old conflict in a thoughtful and vibrant way.
Vance Pumphrey breathes likability into each character, giving them notable, but believable, flaws that propel the story on and keeps the reader’s attention throughout the book. A likable mix of intensity and humor, Live & Learn gets 5/5 stars. I look forward to the next in the series!
For information about the author, his books, and updates, please check out vancepumphrey.com.