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Lamentation by Ken Scholes

Posted by travizzt on November 16, 2009

After a cataclysmic event, the world is reeling from the blow. Does Lamentation make you want to save the lost knowledge? Or would you want to leave this book in ash.

Lamentation by Ken Scholes- This is the first book of The Psalms of Isaak series which will consist of five books. The second book is Canticle. At the time of this review, the other three book titles are unknown.

The city called Windwir was the heart of the world and held its knowledge, but now lies in a field of ash and desolation. The city’s destruction could be seen for miles around. People come to investigate the disaster. Among them is a man named Rudolfo, the Lord of the Gypsy Scouts and of the Ninefold Forest Houses, who seeing the smoke and comes rushing to the ruined city of knowledge. Elsewhere, an old fisherman by the name of Petronus, sees the smoke and goes to the city in which he once called home. The army of the city-states of the Entrolusion Delta were on their way to the city when their leader, Sethbert, calls his army to a halt when he sees the smoke and smiles at the destruction. Sethbert’s consort, the lovely Jin Li Tam, sees the desolation and is utterly horrified by it and Sethbert’s reaction to it. Finally, a boy and his father make their way out of the city, when the boy, Neb, forgets an important letter and his father goes back to get it, when the city explodes. Neb’s world is instantly turned inside out from losing everything he once knew. Who would cause this tragedy? What happens with the knowledge that is lost from Windwir’s destruction?

1) Overwhelming Name Dropping. This is the biggest, most frustrating problem of the book. The reader is pretty much blindsided from all the unknown names, unfamiliar terms, and the references made. It really does bog the book and story down a lot, causing the reader to be taken out of the story. To make matter worse, most of these terms are never explained until later in the book. Even then they are hard to follow and the explanations were broad. It doesn’t help that everything seemed to be repeated every other line, over and over again. Why not include a simple word or two describing who so-and-so is? It was painful, as a new reader to this world, to not know anything about everything mentioned. It wouldn’t have been bad if there were explanations. As a mentioned before, it really takes the reader out of the story.
2) Awkward Sentences. A lot of the wording felt awkward in the beginning. Words didn’t seem to fit right and some of the action and dialogue seemed forced. There were times when a character was doing one thing and they really never finished what was happening, or at least that’s what it felt like. Really, it felt like whole sentences and paragraphs are forcibly shoved down the readers throat. It made it even harder to follow the action.
3) Pointless Descriptions. For some reason, food seemed like it was really important to the story. You have all these descriptions of wine and food that it seemed like the author was hungry when writing certain scenes. Not to mention, they were random. For example, you have one scene where characters are talking about something important , and a paragraph explaining the food that was before them is inserted during the conversation. It just felt pointless. Yes, we know characters have to eat, and a little information would be needed at times, but was there really a need to go into excruciating detail about the “chilled peach wine that was tart and sweet”?

1) Characters. The characters were really well written throughout the story. The chapter setup is in a way that you have sections when a certain character is in the lead role and it really adds depth and an interesting look into each characters thoughts. Rudolfo was your ordinary “knight in shining armor” so to speak. However, he was ruthless and cunning. Jin Li Tam your average beauty, but with cunning and a perfect match to what Rudolfo is. Petronus, Isaak, and Neb were the better characters of the story. They each were deep, thoughtful and complete characters. You got a sense of hope and hopelessness that this characters felt throughout the story. Petronus in becoming something he doesn’t want to be but is really forced to, Neb in his feelings of hurt and revenge along with finding something akin to love, and Isaak with the knowledge of what he has done but that it wasn’t his fault. Overall, these characters really made you feel sorry and happy during certain times in the story.
2) Story. When not being taken out of the story, it was really good. It’s not your average fantasy story. There isn’t many action sequences or huge battles, instead it is more of a personal and political story. The concept is fairly original. You see how this destruction impacts the characters lives and the world around in a way that is fresh and new. Basically, the story is character driven and it works well. The whole mystery behind the disaster is really its center point as this characters slowly figure out who is manipulating who.
3) “Twist”. There is a villain twist that I felt was really well done. Throughout the story you know who destroyed Windwir, Sethbert. No big spoiler here as he pretty much boasts about it from the beginning of the story. However, it’s slowly reveled the someone else was pulling everyone’s, and I mean everyone’s strings. You can kind of guess how it is, but nonetheless, it’s still somewhat of a shock. Even when this reveal happens, you find out that their reason for doing this is for “the greater good”, so to speak. But then, later on, after you think you know what is happening, another bombshell drops.

Side Notes:
1) Things Left Unsaid. There really were a lot of things that were left unspoken and up to the reader to know what they were. I didn’t know. I didn’t understand what the purpose for leaving out some things that you would think you’d normally would be told, are left up in the air. It was just weird, but it didn’t really have that big of an impact.
2) About the First 150 Pages. They were a chore to read through. Mostly because of all the name dropping and the awkward sentences. You really have to get past those pages to really start to like the story.
3) Cover Art. It’s bland, generic. It’s like something you’d see in a museum, look at it for a second and move on. It doesn’t catch your eye, the colors are dull and blend into one another. It’s boring, because it’s just so generic.

Overall: 3/5

Final Thoughts:
This was a really hard book for me to read. I didn’t have any background of the events and people named in the book so at first I really hated it. In fact, when I was in a bookstore and saw this book, all I felt were rage and utter disappointment in it. However, after the halfway point, the story really picked up a little and it did become more and more interesting. It was even hard to put down at times. If you can get past the first half of the book, then it’s a wonderful story. If you can’t, it really isn’t for you.

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