Prophecy of the Guardian by J. W. Baccaro

If you want a no-holds-barred epic fantasy with all gloves off, this story is for you.

This novel is Book I in the Guardian of the Seventh Realm series. It is the tale of a magical land where Good and Evil are about to clash in the Second Great War. The story revolves around three Nasharin warriors, the last remnants of a heroic race with a chequered past. Part of the conflict is the fact that the youngest, Darshun, is uncomfortable with his newly discovered role as the Guardian who will save everyone. His youthful rebellion against this responsibility leaves him prone to error and open to the blandishments of evil.

The task our heroes have been given is to find and destroy the four Crystals of the Elements before they fall into the hands of Abaddon the Demon Lord. Set against them is a wide array of the usual magical beasts and evil characters that make up the army of the Dark in every fantasy of this sort.

The strength of the story is in its characters. The dividing line between good and evil is realistically hard to pin down. The characters are multi-faceted and human in spite of their powers. We feel empathy towards them, even while shaking our heads at their follies.

The difficulty for the reader is the complexity of the plot, especially in spatial positioning. Evil powers, ravening magical beasts, and friendly spirits seem to spring up at the will of the author and for no other reason. In the first section especially, the main characters jump randomly across the landscape with an ease that leaves the reader lost and confused. Magical powers seeming without limit blast back and forth, again leaving the reader with the impression that they occur at the convenience of the author and not through the intrinsic structure of the plot.

The advantage of this olio is that there are a great many fight scenes, of both the magic and the physical sort, with great action and plenty of gore.

In keeping with the high fantasy style, Baccaro has chosen the difficult path of writing in courtly language. He has unfortunately not managed to follow through; modern terms such as “No way”, and “I’ll take that as a ‘no’,” are scattered throughout. There are also punctuation errors, frequent misuse of words, sudden point of view switches, and weak sentence structure.

Due to the rough writing and the uncontrolled plotline, this novel reads like the first draft of what could be a sweeping epic fantasy. This author is a gifted storyteller who has not yet mastered the techniques of novel writing, and has not found an editor motivated to help him.

About the Author: Gordon Long

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