Thursday, November 9, 2023

Beginning of Arrogance


Beginning of Arrogance (A Paladin's Journey, #1)Beginning of Arrogance by Bryan Cole
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While I might not really be a fantasy “fan,” this story is different. To begin with, it held my attention because it was what I called it…a real story. An easy-to-follow story of goods and bads, greed and evil, triumph and losses.

Krell, whom I like so much in this story, is a paladin of Recknor, rescued after surviving alone as a young boy. He is raised and taught by Olgar, a true Recknor priest who is a bit of a sot, a funny drunk with great magical powers...
 A paladin like Krell is a person called by a god, Recknor in this case, to aid in carrying out the god’s wishes and occasionally recruit a possible disciple. Paladins protect worshipers from warring gods and their armies and as in every fantasy, from the creatures only an author can create:) If recruiting disciples sounds religious as in the word we know today, it’s not. However, there is an occasional push and pull between what could be called religion and/or fantasy. I enjoyed the underlying ambiguity. Other readers might interpret it differently.
One thing I enjoyed most in this battle-worn fantasy was the humor. The conversation between Krell and his “inner” god, Recknor, is quite funny, but the banter with his colleagues is even more enjoyable.

You wouldn’t think a military fantasy would have in-depth definitions of characters and yet this story did. I think the intense battle action and wisecracks among comrades as well as the down-time banter helped me visualize each of the warriors. There is so much dialog, such great interplay among them. It, along with the picture of Cole’s characters is what sucks you into the story, enjoying it and yet wanting to read quickly to know how it ends.

At the end, I did ask myself a couple of questions that I thought some readers might have from the story’s description.
**How did I feel about all of the gods? Was there any place where there was sarcasm pointed toward religious practices today?
My answer: I don’t think organized religion as we know it today is involved in this story at all. The gods were more characters and/or warriors than any religious type of god. However, the occasional underlying meaning might have slipped in. I enjoyed trying to interpret what the author might have meant. Maybe he didn’t mean anything, but he added more enjoyment to the story for me.
**Will people find the facetiousness about the gods offensive?
My answer: Depends on two things. Your ability/inability to enjoy a story with the realization that it is fiction and your ability/inability to be flexible. This is, after all, a fantasy. An exceptionally good fantasy.

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