Gerard Houarner's "The Bard of Sorcery" is a somewhat interesting fantasy tale involving a human bard/archer character named Tralane. Longing for real adventure he steals a magical gem called the "Eye of Wyden" from a powerful invading "Sorcerer-King." The eye allows him to traverse different parallel worlds of existence. He does this mainly to escape the generically crafted "evil sorcerer." Each world Tralane visits seems to end in misfortune in some way or another and as the story progresses he turns more from expectant hero to a character of self pity. This alone caused me to begin to lose interest in the story despite Tralane's redeeming qualities. Here are my thoughts on The Bard of Sorcery;
+ Interesting premise with near infinite story-line possibilities.
+ Author does a relatively good job of making the "Eye of Wyden" an interesting magical artifact.
- World jumping can be somewhat confusing, inconsistent and begins to jumble the story. It also raises questions about the differences in languages, dress, appearance etc. that the author just seems to gloss over. I also found that characters between worlds are quickly forgotten since they occupy such a small part of the story. For example at the very end of the book the author uses the name of the main villain of the story and I had no idea who he was. He was only briefly in the first few chapters of the book, not to mention rarely referred to by his proper name.
- No map. As with every other review I do of a fantasy book where the author fails to provide a map I will always list his as a con. If you're taking the time to create and describe a fantasy world and its inhabitants the least you could do is provide your readers with a map. Nothing disconnects a fantasy story more for me than not having a frame of reference for the character's journeys. In this particular story however I can see forgoing maps of multiple worlds but at least provide one of the main world the character returns to.
- Author creates names for numerous creatures in the book across various worlds but never bothers to give the reader any indication what they are (other than a beast of burden or a domesticated farm animal.) Examples of creatures include; wild shui, tawwas, thorts, kruushkas, wenoths, shyn and bokkara. Not once in the book does the author make any effort to describe in any way what these creatures are, basically rendering them pointless to mention.
- Tralane unrealistically seems to develop feelings toward every young woman he meets after one chapter.
- Author's writing style can often go from extremely vague to waxing philosophical for long periods of time. Both of which quickly become tiresome.
The Bard of Sorcery isn't a bad book by any means. I really wanted to like it, but unfortunately it just didn't live up to its potential. With the possibility of travelling to multiple worlds the author barely used the concept to create anything that was even remotely interesting, which made it somewhat of a disappointing read.