What I read of this seemed less like a true narrative of events, and more like random mini-episodes of Durand's adventures around this massive fantasy land. I think fans of high fantasy with extremely heavy world building will enjoy this, though this is clearly a novel that makes its readers work for it.
I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I really wanted to like this debut fantasy novel. One of me favourite author's, Tamora Pierce, gave it a four-star review on Goodreads and read it twice.
Set on the road by a god called the Traveller, Durand enters the service of a cruel knight who drowns his wife's lover and sets Durand as one of the guards when he walls the lady and her baby in a tower room. It's a dark story, and you do wish that Durand would keep his temper better, but it's a gripping read (my second).
First, In The Eye of Heaven has one of the most realistic and believable worlds Ive read about in a long time now. I think Durand is probably one of the best characters Ive read about so far this year and if hes anything like this in the rest of the series then hes going to easily become one of my all time favorite characters. Things felt a bit dragged out in the beginning and rushed in the end, but happily I dont think that really affected how much I enjoyed the book.
Durand, a man of action, isn't given to musing on such things. Radomor also deals openly with other lords seeking to depose the king, and Durand must decide where he stands. Durand is also preyed on by the wraithlike Blackthorn men, and given the evil eye by the black-garbed sorcerers called Rooks surrounding Radomor. Lamoric has secrets of his own, and at this point the story focuses so much on him that Durand is nearly secondary. Durand picks up many secrets in his travels, but he doesn't know what use to make of them, without the ear of any lord or power of his own.
The author's prose was confusing, stuttering (it lacked flow) and was often a chore to read. My desire to find out more about the setting, uncover the lore of the truly fascinating dark Arthurian world that Keck has created, kept me reading until the end. But the author's frustrating prose, poor pacing and lack of any compelling characters convinced me not to give the second book in the series a try. David Keck is capably of vivid and interesting descriptions and has a wonderful imagination and eye for details, but he needs to work on his characterization, pacing and prose.
I found the mythos and the pantheon of this world very fascinating and was distracted at first by the writing style... as I went along the characters drew me in and I learned that even they didn't know that much about their gods and their history.
Great story, with characters that you can really get behind.
David Keck is a New York based writer and teacher who grew up in Winnipeg, Canada. After completing degrees in English Literature/History and Education in Winnipeg, he traveled to Britains University of Sussex where he earned an MA in creative writing and indulged his taste for exploring the medieval and the Neolithic. David recently fulfilled his childhood ambition of getting his cartoons into print, placing work with The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Analog Magazine, and Random Houses Suvudu website, before it became Unbound Worlds.