The Heart of Stone
Welcome to the Books by Ben Galley Ultimate Blog Tour
Today is really exciting for me, because I get to be part of this crazy huge blog tour among other amazing bloggers participating and spreading the joy of reading. With weeks in the planning, The Write Reads on Tour has organized this event and is rallying the masses to pay attention to the books written by Ben Galley.
Sit back and enjoy, hop around and check out the blog tour, because all of Twitterverse hasn’t seen anything like it before ;)
Before I read the book!
In my newly acquired joy for reading fantasy in the last 2 years or so, I have seen Ben Galleys books pop up here and there and people are talking about it. Juggling a full tbr of overbooked Netgalley galleys last year, I was unable to pay this author as much attention as I wished I could and in the meantime the wave of raving reviews for this title kept popping up in my feed. Finally, in the spring before my planned vacation, I saw The Write Reads on Tour starting their organization for this tour and since I had worked down all my committed books for review, I took the leap to jump on this tour.
When I had secured a spot and was asked which title I’d like to review, and this is the actual point I wanted to make here (long story, I know) I went on Amazon and read the ‘Look Inside’ pages of all four titles. And friends, I was blown away! Blown away by the grabbing writing glimpses and the variety of the stories! They all sounded so good and were all different and unique in themes. I was hooked immediately! Going further, of course I had to check out Ben Galley’s site, his music recs and so on and on. I now have all of his books on my radar/tbr. Since they are all so different, I now have a variety of stories to choose from and I love that.
The decision to read The Heart of Stone for this tour was ultimately a mood decision. I figured, most readers want to read the latest novel, but I did not want that to influence me. I was just out for the experience, and Task was the right golem to explore Ben Galley’s novel with :)
The Heart of Stone
Every fighter faces his final fight. Even one made of stone.
WINNER OF BEST SELF-PUBLISHED NOVEL IN THE 2017 BOOKNEST FANTASY AWARDS
Merciless. Murderer. Monster. He has been called many names in his time.
Built for war and nothing else, he has witnessed every shade of violence humans know, and he has wrought his own masterpieces with their colours. He cared once, perhaps, but far too long ago. He is bound to his task, dead to the chaos he wreaks for his masters.
Now, he has a new master to serve and a new war to endure. In the far reaches of the Realm, Hartlund tears itself in two over coin and crown. This time he will fight for a boy king and a general bent on victory.
Beneath it all he longs for change. For something to surprise him. For an end to this cycle of warfare.
Action-packed and emotionally-charged, The Heart of Stone is a dark fantasy novel that explores the aspects of human nature. Perfect for fans of Brandon Sanderson, Mark Lawrence, and Joe Abercrombie.
Author: Ben Galley
Format: Kindle Edition, 406 pages
Published: March 30th 2017 by BenGalley.com
A land is torn apart for ages historically by political powers. The Truehard’s army is seeking victory against the vengeance of opposing forces. Their new weapon is a stone golem, created to wreack havoc via a path of destruction alongside the brave soldiers.
Task is his name. He is the main character, the golem that was created by the architect to obey his current master. And many of those he has had in his lifetime.
“There are three rules I am bound to. I cannot disobey my master, I cannot harm my master, and I cannot harm myself. Those are the three pillars we both must abide by.”
He is the last Wind-Cut golem and was woken in the year twenty-three sixty-one for the Khandri mines. He has no soul and is made to be bent beyond his will. He has fought on all fronts of the war before and he has learned to nod along and let them talk; let them believe he cared about the endless plight of humanity.
“The golems were originally status symbols. Simple magic tricks to entertain and boast to travelers. When a golem one day defended a Chanark king against an assassin, they began to be used for war. A race started, one to build bigger and better machines of war. From stone, to bone, to wood, to mud, to flesh, golems have fought alongside men for decades. They are made to wreak havoc. In Haspia, where the finest golembuilders in the Harmony reside, the word golem means chaos.' “
War and political intrigue play a large part in this novel but are balanced out by interesting and flawed characters. Told in alternating pov’s, the story stays dynamic in plot and the chapters often end on little cliffhangers. Quotes at the beginning of chapters give hint of a world built in the imagination of the author, giving way to fill the the gaps of ideology, heritage and history for the reader.
Task is by far my favorite character. Even though he has been built of stone, Galley created the golem to be intuitive to the elements of nature. Abrasions by wind and weather leave him invigorated or the opposite. He feels time washing away the sand of his stone.
“Only stone can truly know stone”
When Task meets Lesky, a young girl working in the soldiers camp, he is experiencing something like friendship. A connection to this curious girl, wild and attentive, with questions galore, seems to lower his guards and a moment that reminded me of the Iron Giant, let’s Task appear to have a tender heart.
With the world at war and troubled leaders making underhanded decisions for their people, a magic is interspersed within. Tormenting dreams lead to intuitive actions that may save lives and perhaps create freedom for some of the characters. I can’t really say more about that or I would give things away.
Not intended to receive a sequel, I think there is room left to add to the story, it would certainly work and I’m curious of the further fate of some of the characters.
Outstanding to me was the descriptive writing of the novel. Several of the passages I had to go back on because they create such vivid outstanding imaginary to enjoy. Take this passage here for example:
”The Bilgesnapper was a stout craft. Its squat shape and mean, flat row bluggeoined the waters aide, bothered not a penny by the swell.
With the sails stripped almost bare, and the below-decks crammed with two-score of sweating rowers, the rest of the barge’s crew had taken to sulking below the gunwales. They blew into their hands and grimaced through the murk. Each of them rocked back and forth in odd and silent unison, slave to the monotonous canter of the sea.
‘Their ain’t nought miserabler than a Lundish fading’s day,’ wheezed an old sailor, trussed up in two thick coats and still shivering. His olive skin spoke of a southern heritage and time spent in the sun. Even the seawater and drizzle hadn’t managed to bring a chill to it.”
The entire novel was just well imagined and written. I never knew one could breathe life into a character made of stone and make him feel so intelligent and humble like a good friend. It is those stories I enjoy most. Good clean storytelling, characters of a mixed bag and heroic underdogs. Amazing.
This book is one to recommend!
Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new Chasing Graves Trilogy.
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