There is an challenge for an author of epic fantasy that it is often absent for writers of other genres: To create a new and exciting world solely from the building blocks of one’s imagination. Epic fantasy writers must have faith in the evolving images of their mind’s eye without the luxury of the physical attributes of an environment that is readily available. Such a frightening prospect yet one with creatively freeing rewards.
Jamison Stone proves that he is a skilled world builder and highly accomplished writer, successfully rising to the challenge in his debut epic fantasy novel, Rune of the Apprentice. I admit that I am not as well versed in epic fantasy works. I don’t normally seek them out. But I am a diligent and appreciative reader if a novel offers layered characters navigating through a suspenseful and unpredictable plot. I welcome foreshadowing, but I also desire for books to surprise me. I want to see characters endure and enrich themselves through adversity. Because I feel that there can be no reward when a goal is so easily attained.
With Jamison Stone, you get a writer who clearly understands the epic fantasy audience, yet also must find a way to appeal to readers who rarely explore these kinds of books. I belong to the latter group. The key here is to excel at characterization and plot, as Stone does. In addition, I found that Stone’s writing has an almost poetic allure where there is a beautiful and insightful rhythm to his word choices. Stone’s writing style is quite seductive. Like an artist, Stone uses descriptive words as his brush, meticulously painting each character.
In Rune of the Apprentice, the central protagonist is Aleksi, a young man embarking on a mysterious and dangerous quest. With a bounty on his head and hiding his identity, Aleksi must quiet the raging power of a magical Rune, stay a step ahead of people who want to kill him and assume the Rune’s power, and control the anger swelling inside of him. This proves to be no easy task, especially when he finds himself on a ship composed of pirates.
I was quite impressed by the slew of unique and well-developed characters that Aleksi meets aboard the ship. And while Aleksi, as the novel’s core character is the focal point of the book, driving the narrative through an exciting yet comfortably paced plot, the supporting characters are equally fascinating. Further, there is intense action (courtesy of vivid fight sequences), magical components and natural forces that add texture to the plot. Factions are clearly drawn and loyalties are tested. However, I will caution readers that some of the fight sequences may be disturbing to one’s sensibilities. But this only proves how remarkable Stone is as a writer. Readers will see and feel the intensity of various characters internal and external struggles.
I applaud Jamison Stone for demonstrating his incredible writing ability, psychological insight and descriptive flair in his first novel. Rune of the Apprentice offers readers a memorable experience.