Thursday, July 28, 2011
Review of The Adventures of Benjamin Skyhammer, by Nicole Sheldrake
Benjamin Skyhammer has more than his fair share of problems. He's a magic-less outcast, he's hiding a terrible secret from his best friend and the valuable Relic he found has been stolen. Just when he thinks things couldn't get any worse, he discovers that the human species believes he's a sorcerer bent on destroying their magic powers and they want him dead. (From Smashwords)
The Adventures of Benjamin Skyhammer, by Nicole Sheldrake, is a lively fantasy adventure. The story revolves around Benjamin Skyhammer. Skyhammer is a relic-hunter, think treasure hunter, who is unable to use magic. In this fantasy world, everyone is able to perform magic. This leaves him thought of as sub-human, basically an outcast. Skyhammer is joined by Higgins, his partner, who is a very powerful magician. When Skyhammer and Higgins discover a powerful sorcerer is out to destroy everyone's ability to perform magic, they must stop the sorcerer before their world is destroyed.
In Benjamin Skyhammer, Nicole Sheldrake has built a fantastic world unlike any I've read before. The level of detail was vivid, imaginative. The opening immediately drew me in. It gave a strong sense of the characters' personality, their status in the world.
Skyhammer isn't the typical, wholly moral hero. He has deep, deep secrets. He often came across as jealous, self-centered and sometimes, even whiny. He will (and has) done literally anything to get a relic. Because of these major flaws in character, he was often hard to sympathize with.
Higgins, on the other hand, was a totally different story. Although she is a secondary character, she was definitely my favorite. As a brilliant magician, she is often the one to get Skyhammer out of trouble. With a funny comment or a kick in the rear, she pulled him out of his self-obsessed despair. I loved her!
However, I had a problem with the story. I know I have said that the detail in the world-building was immense. But it sometimes left me feeling a little lost. There were so many different species of "people" and so many geographical areas that I sometimes got lost in the details. Another little problem I had was an unanswered plot point. I mentioned above that Skyhammer has a deep, dark secret. In an effort to keep this spoiler-free, I won't say what the secret was. I was really bothered that although it was referenced in his thoughts and by a few who knew what happened, Skyhammer was never confronted about what he did. I would have liked to have seen that issue addressed.
So. I know I've done a lot of griping about my perception of Skyhammer's character. But, I do have to (happily) say that within the last portions of the book, his actions did a lot towards his redemption. Benjamin Skyhammer began to act out of love and towards the greater good, and not for his own selfish gains. And don't we all like a character who is mostly morally redeemed?
You can find The Adventures of Benjamin Skyhammer at Smashwords
*I received a copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review.*