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The Last King's Amulet (The Price Of Freedom Book 1) (English Edition) eBook Kindle
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And I am glad I did, once the setting moved to the army (which Sumto joined reluctantly), the writing smooths out. Sumto is still given to long internal monologues/mini essays, but he is a scholar, and they do tend to fit in with the plot/situations he finds himself in. These may irk some people, but as a scholary type myself (or so I like to pretend) I enjoyed the. I thought they added insight to the world, as well as being pretty spot on with who a roman citizen would think (with the addition of magic). Sumto is not exaclty a spur of the moment guy, he usually thinks through his next actions. Mostly because he knows that he is out of his depth, and is trying very hard to remember everything he has read on the similiar situations.
Sumto starts the book as a lazy, entitled drunk who shirks any mention of responsiblity. Unfortunately for him, his sister's powerful fiance tells him to leave the city or die, so Sumto uncermoniously joins the military. It doesn't take long for Sumto to start acting responably and take proper control over the small unit that he is assigned. Of course his reasoning is that if he makes enough money (from the spoils) and distinguishes himself fairly well everyone will leave him alone and he can do whatever he pleases in the future. In truth Sumto looks like he is about to surpass everyone's expectations and distinguish himself as a hero/genius strategist when everything goes horribly wrong. Luckily his has a few friends left who will help him save the day.
The setting of The Last King's Amulet is pretty interesting and fleshed out; strongly based off Roman culture with the addition of magic, with several more barbarian nations then I believe actually exsisted in Roman times. In specific the world is currently in a timeframe that parallels the Roman Repbulic (pre-Cesear). The politics of this world/the way the denizens look at it seem very true to my understanding of Roman culture. One instance in particular occurs when a Sumto and Rastrian (a foreigner) are discussing the empire (I don't believe it's actually called this in the book, but I also don't believe it is every actually named) and Sumto declares it to be the most powerful nation in the world, but that it is not the largest for "The city is only three miles square." This understandably confuses Rastrian, but makes sense for an early Roman Republic citizens view of the world and their place in it. In specific, those who lived in Rome/The City were full citizens, and those who lived in client states and allied territories were only granted a partial citizenship without the right to vote because they did not consider them actually be part of Rome. Attitudes towards slaves, women, war, foreigners and barbarians are in line with Roman views.
Although the other major characters are interesting (so are the important minor ones), I did have trouble with Jocasta's motivation. Hopefully this will be clarified in book two. There are some other minor issues, but this book is much better than some novels (put out by actual publishing companies) that I have read.
A lot happens during the book, but it is still a slow paced book, which may turn some people off. As I mentioned, Sumto tends to think things through before acting (although, not always with varying results). He also has a tendancy to go off into various internal debates, especially over the difference between the type of slavery the City practices and the "slavery" practiced by the villian. Sumto also still has a lot of character growth to go through when the book ends; still, he has come a long way from where he was. I am excited to read the next book.
I have to say that at the beginning I wasn't sure if I was going to like the book because right off the start the main character (Sumto) was not likeable, he a drunken slob that mooched off his family. However as you read on you find him intelligent, witty, and yes insufferable at times. The book is solid and keeps you entertained throughout. However there were a couple of negatives:
-I liked the philosophical conundrums (internal debates on what is the best type of government) that goes through Sumto's mind because it shows growth and intelligence. However these internal debates get too lengthy a couple of times and it became a distraction. Readers who like things to be happening might find this to be a negative.
-I liked how the character was starting to take on responsibilities and showing that he was not the drunken slob he was before, but right towards the middle or 2/3rds of the way everything falls apart and he starts making a lot of mistakes. I think the author was trying to show Sumto is not perfect but Sumto just can't catch a break after 2/3rds of the book and when it rains it pours.
Over all this book was a solid 3.5-4 stars. There might be some readers that will be turned off by Sumto's personality but I think it's great that the author has given readers a chance to read his first book for free so I recommend everyone read the book to see if you'd like it or not. Now that I think about it the characterization of Sumto is similar to Sir Apropos of Nothing by David Drake in that the character is not quite likable at first but grows on you. I like this book enough that I'll purchase the second book, I only hope that it will be as likable as this one. Happy reading to all!
It starts very slowly. Only half-way through something interesting starts happening. Before that it's just an army marching to a battle and the main character making most implausible rise from a drunkard to a co-commander. For what deeds, exactly? Maybe military history buffs will find something interesting there, but I found it unnecessary convoluted and rather irrelevant. The actual battle description is skipped entirely.
The book has more than plenty of mini-essays on politics, military, and magic, which are bland and not particularly insightful. Yay for free market and small government, down with tyranny. The main character likes to philosophize, but to what end? What does any of that babbling have to do with the plot or decisions? Never once his thought process is fully disclosed even though he makes some surprising decisions. A couple of times he withholds critical information. These mini-essays become the central focus of the book, and the actual story gets neglected. The second half is better (the character is too drunk to think clearly) and there is more action.
I think the choice of "I" point of view is rather unfortunate. There are bunch of interesting characters that get neglected because it's all about "I, me, and myself". What about all those poor characters that met a terrible end?
Overall, it definitely has a potential, but it drowns in irrelevant philosophical babbling.