I Big Bear am at it again with another book review, see I can keep at this blogging thing(more likely use the scheduling tool…oops) but never the less I will talk about a wonderful Fantasy novel by P.G. Holyfield, Murder at Avedon Hill.
This was an absolute delight to read or listen to in the case of the podcast. Why you may ask? well I will tell you. I am a absolute nerd one of my favorite things is to play D&D(Dungeons and Dragons for those who don’t know) a table top RPG and my favorite class is Monk. I said that to explain that the main character in this novel is well a Monk, so I was down from word one. In true Monk fashion our main character Arames Kragen wields the martial weapons and semi supernatural abilities, even some psychic abilities. So already I am speeding down a path of stats and dice rolls that no normal reader should even attempt to venture toward because it would lead to all kinds of nerdy debauchery.
The story of this novel that plays out around Arames is there has been a murder(obviously) of a women that was a key figure in the town of Avedon Hill and rumors abound about the manner of her death thus the town is closed and Arames and his companion Aaron are stuck in town when all they wanted was passage through the mountains Thus the story kicks off into a whirlwind of characters, monsters, and intrigue. I could go on and on about the characters in this story but P.G. does that enough in the story, which does run on a bit long it feels but he does a good job giving you actiony bits and some comedic scenes to break it up.
As an RPG’er the thing that absolutely blind sided me in this story is the lore. Oh my goodness does P.G. build a world full of color, flavor and texture that scream to be explored. In the podcasts first episode P.G. explains this is a story that simply happens in one small part of this very large and flushed out world, which is the absolute truth. One of the things that will strike you is the Tales of the children referred to at the beginning of every chapter and through the story. These children are the deities of this world and fill it will myths and legends of all sorts.
A problem I had with the world P.G. built was that some of its parts were a bit more interesting that the happenings going on in the story at some points. Also this wonderfully built world tended to over shadow some characters mainly Aaron, Arames’ companion who you find out through the progess of the story is a very important person but is very subdued to the plot even though he is a key figure in workings of the world. Aaron is also used a big ol’ sequel sign at the end of the book. I felt this was rather blatant and was an unneeded cliff hanger when the revelations in the meat of the story did this rather brilliantly.
As this is a murder mystery of an epic fantasy proportion alot of dialogue is needed which can drag down the story at points. I felt that some of the back tracking the characters had to do was a bit over done to play of the mystery element of the story. along with some avenues that felt should have been obviously explored took a bit to get to, though the web crafted to make the mystery was good it was still out shined by the world it took place in. Over all I am chomping at the bit for more from this universe, and more on the travels of Arames Kragen and his companion Aaron. If you love the fantasy genre, and a good mystery to boot then Murder at Avedon Hill is just for you.