Review: Elemental Rancor by Charles Lominec

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I received this book from the author for an honest review.

The book summary reads:

A far away star supernovas and sends waves of force and change rippling through the cosmos. The waves crash into Sarnen Karnea’s world and thrust him into a deadly struggle to keep his loved ones from harm and to keep a secret about his son from the Zangava Empire.

The waves awaken new and old forms of consciousness, and stir ancient primordial resentments, that threaten to destabilize the Empire’s dominance in the world. Challengers from across the ocean, and from under it, seek to capitalize on newly developing Imperial problems.

Like the Empire, Sarnen must adapt to survive, and must ask himself which of his virtues he is willing to deny in order to reach his goals.

One of the biggest problems I had with this book was the way the world was introduced to us. Lominec explains the world primarily in two different manners. The first and most predominant way that the world is shown to us is through character’s conversations. Characters would have discussions, often with other characters who seemed familiar with the situation or who ought to have been aware of the situation already. One character would ask a series of questions about the state of the world or the character’s background and the other would respond. This often led to discussions that seemed stunted. It also made the explanations for things take a lot longer than they probably needed to. This is largely a personal preference, but I enjoy the explanations for the world to be given to me in narration. I find that this often leads to a more brief and fast paced world-building and also makes it so I don’t miss as much when reading and what I do read feels less repetitious and rote.

Lominec’s world includes a number of “reptadon” and “pteranadon” fleets. These are air fleets used by the kingdoms’ militaries. Though I’m almost always down for dragon/dinosaurs in fantasy, Lominec asserts that they are there without immediately explaining what they are or what they look like. He does this a number of times and I found it strange that there weren’t accompanying explanations to help the reader to picture the creatures. It made accessing the story and picturing the formations and creatures difficult. (I’ll admit, I kind of subbed in a Dinotopia scene.)

Here’s an example:

[In the middle of an attack] The peliodons’ hides was too thick for the arrows but not for the scorpion missiles. The missiles and the catapult rocks proved sufficient to convince the giant beast to abandon its attack… (.pdf, pg. 45)

I don’t know what a scorpion missile is.

It took a long time for this book to pick up or feel cohesive. I struggled to focus on the story when reading. I think this was largely due to the narration and conversation balance. I also was constantly struggling to figure out what kind of a world I was in. There were dinosaur-like creatures, magic, elementals, and asteroids. It was a bit confusing to place.

Overall, I’d give this one a 2.5 out of 5.


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