The Stormcaller: Book One of the Twilight Reign

October 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Twilight Books

The Stormcaller: Book One of the Twilight Reign

In a land ruled by prophecy and the whims of gods, a young man finds himself at the heart of a war he barely understands, wielding powers he may never be able to control.

Isak is a white-eye, born bigger, more charismatic, and more powerful than normal men. But with that power comes an unpredictable temper and an inner rage he cannot always hide. Brought up as a wagon-brat, feared and despised by those around him, he dreams of a place in the army and a chance to live his own life. But w

Rating: (out of 15 reviews)

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5 Responses to “The Stormcaller: Book One of the Twilight Reign”
  1. Greg says:

    Review by Greg for The Stormcaller: Book One of the Twilight Reign
    Rating:
    The Land is a world where Gods rule supreme. The time of the prophecies has come and old rebellions against the gods have resurfaced, including conflicts with nature itself. The tribes of man, and other species, must scramble and conspire to be on the winning side. Into this dark time, a white-eye (a god-created superhuman) named Isak has ascended and he may be mankind’s last hope or final doom.

    For a relatively small page-count, there are way too many characters to keep up with. I realize that many were only introduced to play a bigger role in the following books but I’m afraid I’ll probably forget them by then. At times, the endless parade reminded me of being on a conference call with people I’ve never meant in person — some of the names never even register while some others, if I ever do meet them, turn out to be nothing like the image I had in my head. Also, this is definitely a story that you have to devote some real time and effort to (the kind of time most of us with careers, spouses, and kids really don’t have to spare). It took me twice as long to read as most good books of the same size, and I still felt like I was missing something. I’m well read, especially in fantasy, so if I don’t get it, I tend to think more fault lies with the author’s writing than my reading.

    All that being said, after a few chapters, The Stormcaller did start to grow on me. There is something about this world simply called The Land that struck a primal cord. It’s intriguing to be caught up in this war of gods and man, with an apocalypse looming near, and the key-players are the most alienated of their kind. When Mr. Lloyd’s writing is at its best, there’s a real edgy dark charge to it that makes me look forward to what his work will become with more experience.

    Note on the physical book: The cover illustration of the British version better captures the story than the US cover does. While the US cover is skillfully done, at first glance it looks more like a YA book. And the small print on the inside must have also been intended for younger eyes than mine.

  2. Goldeagle says:

    Review by Goldeagle for The Stormcaller: Book One of the Twilight Reign
    Rating:
    Never have heard of this author before. Came across this book at Barnes and Nobles but got it via Amazon Market Place because it was much cheaper.

    What a wonderful surprise, what a story. From a nobody to become an heir to a ruler, the story is just captivating, the pace is fast moving. It really deserves a 4 1/2 star.

  3. A. T. Natenshon says:

    Review by A. T. Natenshon for The Stormcaller: Book One of the Twilight Reign
    Rating:
    I had been intrigued enough about Stormcaller by reading the blurb, I put it on pre-order. I got it yesterday and finished quickly. The world is interesting with significant depth, the characters make you curious to know more, the story is epic while retaining a personal touch. I haven’t enjoyed the start of a new series so much since the Sword of Truth. Also Pyr did a very nice job with the book and the cover, and it looks the the cover art for the upcoming book Twilight Herald will be similarly great.

  4. I. Mitchell says:

    Review by I. Mitchell for The Stormcaller: Book One of the Twilight Reign
    Rating:
    This book is the first in a series set in a world where rare individuals born with white eyes are abnormally strong and fast, forming a ruling caste. The book follows a young white eye called Isak as he leaves a fairly miserable life (partly due to his father’s bitterness, since mothers giving birth to white eyes inevitably die) to become the heir to a powerful ruler.

    The book definitely has some strong points. The white eyes are conceptually interesting, and several of the white eye characters are well developed. The world shows some originality, although I don’t think the author does a great job of getting the “feel” of the world across. The storyline is also fairly strong with a few twists.

    On the down side, some of the “normal” characters come across as a bit two-dimensional. The writing is ok, but never really drew me into the story. It also feels almost like parts were edited out without adjusting the rest of the text to account for it, resulting in a bit of a “choppy” feel in places.

    Overall the book was ok – good enough for me to finish it, but with the number of strong fantasies available these days I’m not sure it was good enough for me to pick up the sequels.

  5. Scott Beem says:

    Review by Scott Beem for The Stormcaller: Book One of the Twilight Reign
    Rating:
    In The Stormcaller, a book set amidst a traditional medieval background of nobles and prophets, sorcerors and heroes, the reader quickly meets a series of powerful characters having portentous dreams and visions. As is often the case with this particular convention, these visions are confusing and grim with their foreshadowing, though thankfully not too long.

    At the center of the story and these visions we have Isak, the son of a poor oxcart drover, who also happens to be a white-eye. In Lloyd’s world, white-eyes are gods-touched people with enhanced strength, speed, longevity, and magical ability. They’re sort of a cross between Olympian heroes (think Perseus, Jason, etc.) and comic book mutants (they develop their abilities in earnest after puberty, have to learn to control them, etc.). They also have terrible tempers. These white-eyes tend to become soldiers or powerful leaders, but are usually feared and held at arms’ length to the rest of human society. Some become avatar-like representatives of the world’s pantheon of gods. Isak, we quickly learn, is one of these.

    Isak’s plan is to join the Farlan Army as soon as he is of age, but before he can do that a stranger appears with cryptic messages and offers of gifts. Instead, Isak finds himself on the run, accused of witchery and other foul deeds. But Lord Bahl, the ruler of Farlan, a white-eye and chosen of Nartis (God of Storms) learns that his heir, or Krann, has arrived, His abilities quickly point to Isak. At the same time, gifts arrive for Isak – a powerful sword and suit of mystic armor not seen in the land for centuries. So Isaak quickly goes from the lower classes to heir to the throne, while learning to control his powers and abilities. He befriends a young lady of the palace, Tila, who begin teaches him the palace politics. Lord Bahl remains aloof but patient as he trains and presents Isak to the other nobles, then sends him out at the head of the army to deal with an elvish uprising. There are more portentous dreams and visions.

    You could almost dismiss The Stormcaller as overly familiar, high fantasy of the type we see again and again. But Tom Lloyd is obviously cognizant of these conventions and has taken pains to avoid too many of the old pitfalls. One strength is the overall complexity, which includes numerous sidebar chapters with powerful characters elsewhere in the world. These characters deal with what appears to be a gathering of forces, human and otherworldly, that will no doubt lead to grand battles to come later in the series. And while these jumps away from Isak and the core narrative can be jarring, they’re well executed, always contain vital bits of history and world building, and are never too long or inflated. It’s a style you’ll see in other epics from the likes of George R. R. Martin or Steven Erikson.

    Another strength is how the author sets the white-eyes apart from society while also explaining their part there. Isak and his peers are essentially super heroes with swords. They are feared, respected, envied, but never wholly accepted. It’s reminiscent of some of the better comic book hero themes. And Lloyd handles these powerful characters with more skill and care than some other recent examples (Brent Weeks’ Night Angel series comes to mind). Think of it as storytelling from the perspective of someone like Gandalf (when he was younger) rather than the hobbits. Isak is often confused and unsure about his new abilities and has to deal with the consequences of his powers as well.

    Most importantly (for this reviewer anyway), the book has good characterization. As Isak begins to gather his allies and confidants, especially in the second half of the book when he undertakes his diplomatic mission to the Three Cities, the character interactions become better and better. Maybe because Lloyd is finding his stride, maybe because, much of the backstory and world-building can take a backseat to the main thrust of the plot. Whatever the reason, it’s this element of the writing that will have me looking for other books in the series sometime soon. There are a lot of writers attempting to do high fantasy; the number who can do it with effective characterization often seems much lower.

    Oh, and I strongly approve of how Lloyd ends up dealing with the topics of prophecy/destiny in this book (a hideously over-used crutch of the genre, IMHO). I look forward to picking up his next book in the Twilight Reign series, The Twilight Herald. (More reviews at Beemsville – just google it)

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