Review: The Mongoliad: Book One
The Mongoliad: Book One (The Foreworld Saga)
by Greg Bear, Neal Stephenson, Mark Teppo, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, Cooper Moo, E.D. deBirmingham
published by 47North (an imprint of Amazon)
original publication: 2012
size: 675KB (444 pages)
categories: fiction; fantasy; epic
simultaneous device licenses: 6
part of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library: yes
“Warriors fight, Gansukh; that is their purpose in life. But eventually, there is no one left to fight, and they must learn how to think.”
The Mongoliad: Book One
written by (see above) ;)
This is an interesting novel, made more so by its pedigree.
It’s also because the book is actually published by Amazon. Not through its KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) program, but selected by Amazon through its traditional publishing arm.
So, before I talk about the book itself, let me just evaluate how Amazon did.
Big plus: the book has all the special features that are part of the Kindle store. It has text-to-speech available, it’s friend-to-friend enabled, Real Page Numbers, and it’s part of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. The last one is how I got it…so it didn’t cost me anything over our Prime membership.
Second plus: it’s well proof-read. I found two minor errors, and that’s very good indeed.
Yes, it has an active table of contents.
The price? $4.99.
In other words, Amazon did just fine.
Now, what about the story?
Perhaps I should say, “stories”.
While they are connected, we really follow different sets of characters. That suits my style of reading: I’m often jumping between several books at the same time. The fact that we’d move from one group and story line to another and then back again kept my interest. I suspect some people might find it distracting, though.
One thing that wouldn’t have happened with a single author, I think, is that the two strong female characters have somewhat similar names…four letters with two in common (and in the same place).
However, it was nice to have two strong female characters. This is a book that thrives on combat…lots of different kinds of combat. Although the book is categorized as a fantasy, there really isn’t much in it that pushes it there. If you don’t like dragons and elves, not to worry…nary an orc in sight. On the other hand, if you’ve ever been to an SCA (Society of Creative Anachronism) event and watched armored warriors go at it, you’ll appreciate the detail. It would have been easy for the female characters to be marginalized or stereotyped, and that’s not the case.
It’s not all fighting. One of the threads has a warrior needing to learn how to succeed in court. I appreciated that neither way of life is shown as the default better one…both courtly social interactions and battlefield tactics are given their due.
I don’t want to spoil anything, but the basic set up is interesting. It has to do with European knights interacting with Mongols…which is historically accurate. I do have to say that the balance I’ve mentioned above is not evident in the way the two sides are portrayed. That’s not to say that might not be accurate, but it might have been more intriguing if the good guys/bad guys dynamic wasn’t so one-sided (not that the “good guys” don’t have some bad actors).
I could have more whole-heartedly recommended it if it had been a whole. Instead, it ends very abruptly: like you were watching a movie on TV and the power went out abruptly.
As one of my parents would say, that quite “brupted” me. If I was giving it a letter grade like in school, that by itself would drop it a full grade. I think it may bother you less, since I’ve warned you about it.
Overall, I’d say it’s a worthwhile read, and is “borrow worthy”.
If you’ve read the book, feel free to comment on this post (no spoilers, please) and let me know what you think.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.