Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Forge and the Flame

Receiving requests to review manuscripts, read ARCs, and give cover quotes is a part of author-life. Unfortunately, if I said yes to every single one of those requests, I'd never have time to write, but I do try to acquiesce as often as I can, because that's part of the business--writers did that (and continue to do that!) for me, and I'd like to pass that on to others. It's a pay-it-forward system, and it's one of the parts of the business I appreciate the most.

Well, along those lines, I recently read The Forge and the Flame by Aaron Lee Yeager, and I'm happy to say that this book is one of the good ones, folks!

Beren Collier is shocked when Master Tannimbaugh--the greatest blacksmith alive, able to forge weapons that can summon dragonfire and call down lightening--chooses Beren as his new apprentice. But Beren, despite his unsophisticated upbringing, takes naturally to the apprenticeship, and quickly shows his quality as both a burgeoning blacksmith and a hero-in-training. But a rival apprentice who will stop at nothing to overtake Beren's coveted place at the foot of Master Tannimbaugh is the least of the young man's problems; dark forces stir in the corners of the world, threatening not only the tightly knit circle of friends and family Master Tannimbaugh has created around himself--of which Beren is now a part--but the entire world.

The Forge and the Flame is genuine in nature, epic in scope, and downright entertaining. I enjoyed the melding of magic with the well-researched, fascinating aspects of blacksmith life--there's a beautifully written sequence toward the middle of the book that had me reading on the edge of my seat as the characters raced to forge a special weapon to save Master Tannimbaugh's business. The characters, especially Beren, are vividly presented, competent but flawed, and powerfully hopeful. They solve complications as effectively as they create them, and that makes for pretty great storytelling.

Aaron Lee Yeager weaves an enchanting, uplifting tale with engaging characters and an intriguing magic system. The Forge and the Flame has the soul of a true classic!

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