Title: Orbs of Power
Author: Rob RodenParker
Review: High fantasy is making a comeback, what with the popularity of George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series, Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles and of course, the epic Lord of the Rings series with The Hobbit prepared to make its big screen debut come Christmas. It’s always been a popular genre with the die hard fans, and with adaptions in both TV and movies, its fanbase is growing past the dedicated ones who will read long tomes of world building magic. It’s the perfect time for a hybrid novel that brings all the adventure of fantasy without the length for those not patient enough to endure it, a niche Rob RodenParker attempts to fill with his novel “Orbs of Power.”
The story has all the makings of the perfect fantasy adventure. A spatting prince and princess from opposing kingdoms, engaged to be married for the common good rather than love, must overcome their differences and work together to prevent demons from destroying their world. Their tools? The titled orbs of power, which imbue a synchost with powers based on the individual orbs, such as ice, fire, light, etc. But only the combined strength of the orbs can stop the four most powerful demons in command of the hoard, so Prince Alorin and Princess Tyanna must journey to find the missing orbs before the war against the demons is lost.
All the ingredients are there, but an engrossing story fails to materialize. The writing can be lovely at times, such as during the fight scenes, and painful at others, such as whenever any world-building explanation is needed. The story just kind of stops whenever someone references something the reader doesn’t know about and explains, breaking whatever spell might have been cast over the reader. The novel also falls prey to supervillian monologing with nearly every fight (and there are a lot) where the demon they’re fighting explains his evil plan and how they will soon be destroyed. If the demons would just shut up and concentrate on fighting instead of telling all their secrets, they might have actually won. And the demons aren’t the only ones with bad lines; the rest of the dialogue is filled with corny and clichéd declarations as well as the odd modern phrase that doesn’t quite befit a royal pair, such as “Don’t sweat it” and “frickin’.” This seems to stem from an attempt to blend modern technology with the fantasy era with references to “background checks” and cars as “horseless carriages,” but it seemed more forehead-wrinkling than anything.
Another problem barring my enjoyment of the book lay within the characters. They were rather flat in a Mary Sue kind of way, with no flaws to bring intrigue to the story. Everyone is fantastic friends from nearly the moment they meet, and even the battles don’t bring out a bad bone in their bodies.
The plot is also very circular. They meet a demon, they fight, there’s an orb, one of their friends/main characters conveniently gets the power (even after mentioning how rare it is to find a synchost), they faint from exhaustion from the fight, then wake up and do it again. The story needs a more interesting conflict aside from just fighting and winning. It’s obvious what’s going to happen in the story, and whatever barriers in the way are bluntly knocked down instead of interestingly avoided. There were a lot of intriguing possibilities, such as the play with the snake demon and his victims, but his fun is put to a stop too fast to make any out of the ordinary difficulty for our heroes.
I did think, however, that the world itself was quite well crafted, with a number of engaging ideas explored, especially in relation to the orbs. There are the standard fire and ice orbs, but there are also orbs of light and gravity, the latter of which I especially enjoyed when the synchost figured out he could create a black hole with it. The merepeople and their inability to speak above water without gurgling pop at the end of each phrase was also a nice touch.
So while this novel has a lot of great concepts, I really didn’t see much development of them within the story. The ingredients are there, but the chef needs a little more experience before this can turn into a tasty concoction.
Thanks goes to MJ Corley for this terrific review.
Publisher: Expected publication: May 11th 2012 by Red Alien Media
ISBN: Kindle Edition
Quick Review: 2 Stars out of 5.
Where Did I Read the Book: Sent by the author for review.
Synopsis: Join Prince Alorin and his bride-to-be Princess Bellany on their journey to vanquish evil from the three kingdoms of the continent of Aedaria. To do so, they need the Orbs of Power that give their human hosts incredible powers, but they need to find them first. During the Sealing War of years past, the orbs were created to help defeat the demons and devils that threatened to take over the lands and conquer all of the kingdoms. After the war the orbs were scattered throughout the continent, and only a few remain guarded.
With an amusing cast of supporting characters and plenty of villains to battle, Orbs of Power will take you on an exhilirating journey full of romance, politics, and adventure. Along the way you will encounter heroes and sorcery, devils and demons, and fantastical creatures such as centaurs and merfolk. Follow these two unlikely young heroes as they learn to harness their newfound powers while discovering each other on their path to becoming king and queen together and trying to save humankind.
Author Biography: Rob RodenParker is an information technology professional, a part-time author and publisher, and a full-time husband and father of two awesome kids. He loves creating new worlds and crazy characters and hopes that you will enjoy reading all about them!