Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Minstrel's Gambit by Nance Bulow Morgan

By Ed

Minstrels' Gambit is the first in the Minstrel's Tale Mysteries Series.  Saeede knew that Behlanna was not going to be a good city.  She knew it the moment she saw the dark tower looming over the sleek dark wall.  She and her partner Andreas needed to rest after a long journey.  They would stay long enough to rest and perhaps play a tune or two for the locals but then they would be off again to more pleasant surroundings.  Upon their arrival in the city the two tired friends; minstrels and adventurers, are soon caught up in a murder investigation and find that they are the prime suspects!

Their investigation leads them to discover that an ancient riddle is at the center of their problem.  Evil forces are at play against them and they must solve the riddle, and foil the unleashing of evil upon the world, to clear their names.

The keys to the riddles are hidden within four musical scores.  As adventurers they must retrieve the scores from their protections within the elements.  As minstrels they must decipher the keys hidden within the scores.

Thrust into an epic adventure, the friends learn how deep and unwavering is their friendship-how deep and unwavering is their skills with sword, music, and magic.

Minstrels' Gambit is Bulow Morgan's second novel.  Sprung from the setting of her first novel Legend Destiny.  This epic adventure attests to her story telling ability.  The reader will be hooked from the very beginning of this gorgeous adventure.  (taken from Amazon description)

At first glance, this book looks like either a paint by number picture, or the box to an 8 bit video game, and it was about as much fun reading this book as the code for one.  And this book is looooong, and I don't just mean many pages.  Sentences and paragraphs blur into each other.  Though the book only has ten chapters, it's still 453 pages long!  It was like trying to read the credits at the end of a movie, just no break.

The title of the series, A Minstrels' Tale Mystery, I found to be grossly misstated, as they solved the whodunit before the third chapter.  I wasn't expecting CSI Dungeons and Dragons,but save the big reveal for the last couple of chapters!

The author is way too descriptive.  I don't need to be told about every inch of every building they come across.  As for the minstrels themselves, I call BS on their relationship.  In such a setting, fraught with danger, where lives are often short enough as it is, there would be no time for Ye Olde Friend Zone.

While I did appreciate some of the humor, and slight modernization of the writing style, there's some terminology that just does not fit in a fantasy setting.  She even misnamed a common mythical creature.  What she describes as having an eagle's head with a lion's body is actually a griffin, not a hippogriff.

Over all, this book was a pain.  She should either switch to modern time writing or do a little more research into how fantasy is written.  I, for one, will not be finishing this series.

Note from Shawn:  We did have two other reviewers who attempted to read the book, but were unable to enjoy it as well, to the point that they did not finish it.

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