Sword Of Fire and Sea by Erin Hoffman
Paperback: 277 pages
Published: June 4th, 2011
Series: The Chaos Knight #1
Three generations ago Captain Vidarian Rulorat's great-grandfather gave up an imperial commission to commit social catastrophe by marrying a fire priestess. For love, he unwittingly doomed his family to generations of a rare genetic disease that follows families who cross elemental boundaries. Now Vidarian, the last surviving member of the Rulorat family, struggles to uphold his family legacy, and finds himself chained to a task as a result of the bride price his great-grandfather paid: the Breakwater Agreement, a seventy-year-old alliance between his family and the High Temple of Kara'zul, domain of the fire priestesses.
Fire Priestesses, Chaos Goddesses, shape-shifters, Gryphons, a Starhunter and even pirates… yes… pirates. All of these characters, and more, come together within Hoffman’s debut novel to help create a world unlike any other.
The novel starts off with Captain Vidarian Rulorat being asked to escort a Fire Priestess Ariadel to safety… sounds like a great start, and it was. Unfortunately, the novel then bounces around from one mystical location to another, introducing new and unusual characters, but never giving the reader enough of a chance to really get to know anyone or any place.
Hoffman does a fine job describing in wonderful detail the exotic locations within the story as well as the unusual characters we meet along the way. It is easy to close your eyes and see this world come to life within your mind. It is clear that as a video game designer, Hoffman has a true talent in creating wondrous and fantastical worlds full of color and vibrancy. I only wish the same was true of the plot and characters.
There were quite a few times I found myself confused with what was happening in the story. One moment the head Gryphon is helping Vidarian get to the doorway of an ancient gate, and the next moment the Gryphon is trying to stop Vidarian from opening up the gate. It just did not make sense, and there was no clear explanation of how or why anything had changed. There were moments like this throughout the novel that simply made it difficult to follow along.
Although the plot was sometimes unclear, and the characters were not as fully developed as I hoped, I still found myself wanting to keep reading this novel. I still found myself in love with the incredible world Hoffman created. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.
Guest Reviewer J. Martinez is the husband of Maria @ GCR and is happy to bring an occasional male perspective to the blog. He loves to read all kinds of books, but his favorites lean toward fantasy/fiction novels like Harry Potter and Eragon.