The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Ren Garcia’s League of Elder

May 30, 2011 at 6:48 pm (writing)

Like my novel, Fervor, Ren Garcia’s League of Elder is commonly labelled as science fiction, but contains as many fantasy elements as it does science fiction, so I like to consider it science fantasy. These are wonderful books full of wild adventure, dynamic characters and plenty of heart. Here are my reviews of these three spectacular books.

The League of Elder: Sygillis of Metatron – Ren Garcia

I had originally posted a review for this when I first read it, but that review seems to have vanished from existence. It was a great intro for the series, and if I remember correctly my first review I compared it to those high action cliff-hanger serials with larger-than-life heroes and plenty of thrills and excitement, emotion and drama. It was a fun book, with some very dark moments and its fair share of intrigue. I think this book tapped into the kind of story Mr. Garcia could bring to the table, giving the reader some great exposure to the worlds and cultures wrought by his imagination. The one thing I did find I missed in this that Mr. Garcia provided in the books that followed was a better taste of realism through the presentation of character flaws and real ethical struggles (as opposed to ones created by status.)

The Hazards of the Old One Ren Garcia

While I really enjoyed his first book, it fades a little in comparison to this book. The first book was fun and dynamic, but thanks to Ren’s beautifully complex world-building skills (he is a master craftsman) and knack for colourful characters, he reaches a new level in Hazards. He takes the story and pushes it past reason so that it captures your heart. The characters are vivid and multi-dimensional with great spirit, be they villain, hero or somewhere in-between. His story is elaborate and takes you places you wouldn’t have imagined. You grow fond of some of the characters and absolutely fall in love with others, cheering them on, and sharing in their miseries. I prefer not to delve much into the story during reviews, because I don’t like providing spoilers, but Mr. Garcia definitely throws poor Carahil into a nasty dilemma, and it is particularly interesting to see how he handles it, realizing that he cannot deal with the problem all on his own – that is what friends are for, after all. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys genre fiction and even to those who are more mainstream but who are willing to stretch their boundaries.

The Dead Held Hands – Ren Garcia

The best so far of the three, I really love the way this story taps into the characters’ desires and doubts in the face of the challenges their current lives and ancestry presents to them. There are status issues, the concept of living up to unfair expectations that others may hold for you and the main theme of trusting in love at the risk of self-sacrifice if that love fails you. The culture of the Monamas is definitely one of Mr. Garcia’s most spectacular and detailed creations, making this book well worth the read. My only criticism is I felt the final chapter should have been reserved for the next book, where the story continues. It seemed out of place and a little confusing included in this first book in the Temple of the Exploding Head trilogy. Consider it a teaser for the next book – that worked for me.

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