Words of Fury: Volume 2 (Words of Power) by Ritchie Valentine Smith

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Words of Fury: Volume 2 (Words of Power) by Ritchie Valentine Smith

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Buy Words of Fury: Volume 2 (Words of Power) by Ritchie Valentine Smith at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: Book 2 of the Words of Power series for epic fantasy action tempered with philosophy in a thought-provoking, 18th century Japanese way.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 488 Date: July 2017
Publisher: RVS Media
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1544214832

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Warning: Spoilers ahead… Emmanuel (Man) Kinross, Yoshi, Joah, the Voice and Dirk Faslane are all fleeing the Lord of the North in a giant floating bubble. This is a delicate conveyance when you consider that the stakes are high and, if caught by the evil Lord of the North, the world as they know it will end. They just need to get to the Waning of the Moon, a psychic fortress that spells safety but there's still a long way to go and the odds are very much against them. The Lord of the North has more power than they've seen yet and more devastating ways to use it.

Ritchie Valentine Smith brings us the second in his fantasy series with a 17th century Samurai flavour. For anyone who missed the first book Words of Power or has a hazy memory, Ritchie thoughtfully provides a catch up at the beginning of this volume along with a very useful list of characters. As always in epics the wonderfully diverse set of people to follow and the swift scene changes swiftly mean it's a constant source of reference till we're up to speed.

Indeed, speed is the phrase here as we move between our travellers, the coterie of the evil Lord and the adherents of the Waning Moon, demonstrating the rich mixture of cultures. (By the way, keep an eye on our favourite Celt, Faslane – Dirk is a man of comparatively few words, much action and hidden depths.) The feeling may be Shogun Japan (although the world is their bubble path), yet the way that Man's camp is monitored remotely by commenting goodies and baddies alike feels like a slice of Ancient Greek mythology in a monitored by Olympus way, adding another layer to the narrative.

Despite the speedy switches, there are still moments when we may feel a bit of second book syndrome, marking time in a series while waiting for the third; yet there are nuggets along the way to satisfy.

Sometimes unobtrusively, again Ritchie's own Christian faith seeps in to colour the edges of the adventure. There are randomly placed single lines of dialogue echoing Biblical thoughts and verses but these are easily stepped over for those preferring a more secular tale. The allusions do come in handy for grabbing our attention though. For instance thoughts of ethnic cleansing are invoked when the Lord of the North decides to execute thousands of Christians.

Ritchie's narrative style may be a bit Marmite for some. If on first appearance it feels a little stilted, try reading it out loud. The rhythm and timbre feels reminiscent of Samurai movies almost in tribute. Actually in an appendix at the back Ritchie provides us with a fascinating paragraph explaining his influences when creating the Words of Power world.

The author's starting point was that of the sort of closed society exhibited in Shogun Japan. Surround this with the Empire of Albion in the form of Faslane and Man and we have 1820 mainland Europe adding to the mix and diversity before we even add the wonders of fantasy.

Fantasy is a genre in which anything can happen and Ritchie makes full use of this. Words of Fury melds philosophy, magic and action with some unpredictable results. This is fantasy with philosophy linking the action rather than pure wham-bam escapism and there's always room for that.

(Thank you to the publisher for providing us with a copy for review.)

Further Reading: Please do treat yourself to Book 1 before embarking on the next leg of the adventure. If you're already a fan and looking for what else is good in current fantasy, we recommend Chaos Queen - Duskfall by Christopher B Husberg. If you'd prefer more of that historic Japanese flavour (this time without the fantasy) we also recommend The Sword of Hachiman by Lynn Guest.

Buy Words of Fury: Volume 2 (Words of Power) by Ritchie Valentine Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Words of Fury: Volume 2 (Words of Power) by Ritchie Valentine Smith at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Words of Fury: Volume 2 (Words of Power) by Ritchie Valentine Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Words of Fury: Volume 2 (Words of Power) by Ritchie Valentine Smith at Amazon.com.

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