Review: Forge by T.K. Anthony
Summary From Goodreads:
Warned by a Seeing…
The high king of the Scotian Realm expects the arrival of an enemy, a race of psychic predators bent on galactic conquest. The Realm’s one hope is alliance with the neighboring star domains in defense of a shared colony, Forge.
Caught in Fate’s grim weaving…
Mindblind, amnesic, Tazhret lives out his drug-induced visions of servitude on Forge. He wants to believe the beautiful woman with the nut-brown hair who whispers reassurances to his harrowed heart: “You have a name.” But is she even real? Or just one bright thread in his dark dreams?
An unexpected hope…
Tazhret’s destiny leads him to freedom and the woman he yearns for —and to a desperate struggle against the enemy.
Tazhret can save Forge, and the clan of his beloved. But only at the cost of all he has hoped for: his name, his freedom, and his love
for the woman with the nut-brown hair…
I received a copy of Forge from the author T.K. Anthony in exchange for an honest review.
Forge is old-school science fiction in a time when it seems that everyone is trying to reinvent the sci-fi wheel. In that sense it is refreshing and definitely will take you back to whatever sci-fi you read as a kid or teenager (if you are one now this doesn’t quite apply to you but you get the point).
Anthony immerses the reader into this universe from the beginning. While this approach can be a bit jarring at first, especially as you try and keep up with the dialogue and learn the language (which is how it felt for me anyhow), Forge is a fascinating world that is worth the effort.
However, the one major point of contention I have with this style choice, and something that is present throughout the piece, is the overwhelming descriptions. Oh sure, creating a realistic universe is never easy and when there are so many things different from our own world it can be necessary to use a tad more explanations than say in a contemporary. The problem here is multifold, when you bombard the reader with that much information, especially with very few pauses between, it can cause them to have a disconnect from the story and where it is going since their mind is so busy trying to accurately portray the immense descriptions in their head. Furthermore, this style tends to lead to less action, and while in Forge there is a good amount it does make even the best scenes seem laden with extra words, that perhaps if they were simplified, not all the time but just on occasion, they would in fact be more intense. Finally on this point is the matter of allowing the reader to make some things up for themselves, allow them to infer here or create there, with nothing left up to the imagination it can become slightly monotonous.
While those issues are present in Forge I think the characters make up for a lot of it. Anthony jumps between a few main characters and gives us insight into their points of view which gives them more depth, and where in other books this causes confusion or frustration because it can take time to get used to a character’s “voice” here it works very well. I particularly enjoyed Nica and her father, Col, which had excellent senses of humor and an instant likability about them though I can’t explain why exactly… (aren’t I just awesome at this reviewing thing? >.<)
There is romance in this book which shouldn’t come as any surprise based on what is said in the summary. No love triangle, huzzah! The kinda weird connection between them that doesn’t make any sense until quite a bit into the book is a little cop-outish but it did (mostly) keep insta-love out of the equation which is a tradeoff I’ll take. They have a very heartwarming bond and though the outcome is pretty obvious right away there was enough potential conflict with their relationship to make it interesting.
The positives for Forge, the characters, the action scenes and the romance definitely outweigh the sometimes overwhelming descriptions and overall I did enjoy it. Forge is book 1 in the Thrall Web series and I do look forward to reading the next book! I would recommend it to fans of old-school sci-fi who are used to this style of book. Thanks as always for reading!