I’m back, ya’ll! After a hiatus from reviewing, I’m back with a book review for one of my favorite authors, Vance Pumphrey. Die or Don’t is the sixth book in the Valdaar’s Fist Saga, and like the novels before it, continues to dazzle and delight with old school fantasy adventure.
Vance Pumphrey’s work doesn’t disappoint. The novel, once again, delivers what I’ve come to expect of the seasoned high fantasy author. An epic tale, hinged on the silver edged coin of good and evil, this novel is all about shades of gray, and once again hammers the point home that history is written by the victors. What is good? What is evil? Who’s path is more righteous and true? Is is the things we do to reach the end, or the person we are at the end, which forms the hero, or in this case, heroine?
Jaramiile, a seasoned warrior and leader, must battle forces from within and without, conquering the forces of her own self-doubt, which threaten to defeat her just as much her enemies. Her vibrant and adept band of mercenaries face an onslaught of a shatteringly overwhelming force. Their success? Well, you’ll see . . . .
Pumphrey’s work embraces the high fantasy genre as a well worn leather glove. This novel, like the others before it, makes me feel like I’m in my friend’s basement fighting my way through dungeons to defeat a great red dragon. The novel evokes emotion and imagination while standing unique and proud among the genre’s forefathers. It makes me remember the first time I ever held The Hobbit in my hand, the smell of a the pages from opening my first Dungeons and Dragons manual, and the thrilled anticipation of hope as I first followed the adventurers on their quest in the Dragonlance novels.
Perhaps, the most refreshing aspect of Die or Don’t is that the story is not predictable. The characters are not the static fantasy norm. There is a depth and robust flavor to the novel’s pages which branches apart from the fantasy formula, creating something truly new, while remaining faithful to the world of high fantasy works.
I’ll point out too, that this series, as a whole, is family friendly. One of the biggest criticisms of high fantasy is accessibility and ease to the reader. This book breaks the stereotype and creates a novel that geek-sworn parents can read to their children at night, while still being read by the time-aged geek rocking in his or her chair by the fireplace.
It’s no surprise this novel gets the Mythril Plate Armor rating (five out of five stars)! Only one question remains, can I read the next novel now?
See ya’ll next time. Look for more to come on this blog soon! I’m in the editing stages of my own novel which will be released early 2021, and I can’t wait to share more of my journey with ya’ll.
From one warm big hearted southern girl to all my readers, stay safe!