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The Bringer of War by Dylan Birtolo

I'm fond of Dylan, mainly because he help inspire me to actually try to write professionally (which I haven't exactly done) but also because he lured me into the Author's Alley at GenCon. All with the power of his name. It's a great name. I like that name.

I also like his new book, The Bringer of War A stand-alone sequel to his first book, The Shadow Chaster.

It is really nice to see author's books over time. You can see a refinement in their craft, much like I noticed with the earliest Garfields and the later ones. Dylan obviously has gotten better at writing, the words flowed a lot easier as I read it and I could picture a lot more. Actually, there wasn't any scene I struggled with at all. Even the more action scenes--something I didn't care for in the last one--were much nicer and I liked reading them. And getting caught up in the action. It only took me about an hour and a half to read, which for a 227 page book, is good for me since the faster I read, the more I enjoy it.

This is a stand-alone book, but I think it really encourages you to read the first one. There is a fair amount of back story that is glossed over in this one, but not as deeply to explain everything. I felt that reading Shadow Chaser really explained stuff and I would recommend it to anyone reading this book.

This book does expand on Darien's (the main character) world. Actually, it does in a very nice way. He isn't really the "chosen one" anymore, which actually makes me happy. I don't like "one and only" thing that much and it made it a lot more enjoyable knowing that he is just very special and probably going to be abused.

Lots.

I liked when authors abuse their characters.

And it is a nice struggle for Darien in the book. I enjoyed reading it, but I didn't really feel entirely happy with the ending. While I loved reading the further adventures of Darien, I didn't really think the story advanced the entire plot much. True, it was a good story, but more like a middle episode of Babylon 5 or the second movie in a trilogy. It set up the grand and glorious fight, but didn't really get into the fight itself. Appropriately, the book's title already hinted of that. I was just hoping that there was a bit more warmongering before the end of the book. If Dylan doesn't write a sequel, I'm probably going to have to ask Fluffy to beat him up until he writes it.

One thing I really enjoy about Dylan's writing is that no one is perfect. Oh, there are some characters who get really close, but there is that tantalizing hope right at the end that they are as screwed up as everyone else. I cheered at that point. (Yeah, I talk to my books as I read them.)

The roaming POV in the story worked out well. It showed different personalities and helped really develop the Shadow in that world. I liked seeing the world from the different views, but also how others worked their shape-shifting into their perceptions. Dylan's world building is only getting better and I could easily see a fan starting a site just to track the growing number of fascinating personalities.

Only one major point kind of irked me about the book: Susan. As a character, she felt more like a limp log or an actress hired to look pretty. She didn't really do anything where she kicked a fair amount of ass in the first book. She was there, but I really hope to see her do more than a few scenes.

I still greatly enjoyed this novel. A good book and worth the money I paid for it. Obviously, I'm hoping to find a next one coming soon because I want to see what is next. Fluffy and I have read it and I've already pushed it toward another friend.