ORBS OF POWER by Rob RodenParker – Review

Demons. Devils. Merfolk. Dragons. Yeti.  These are only a few of the creatures that crowd the pages of Orbs of Power. Filled with non-stop action and magic, Orbs tells a familiar tale of the eternal battle between good and evil.  Alorin is a prince in the kingdom of Nenevah, and is betrothed to wed the Princess Tyana from the kingdom of Ranan in order to continue the peaceful existence they share. But this peace is threatened by devils who wander the land, seeking to destroy humans.  When three powerful and dangerous demons who were vanquished some thirty years earlier resurface and join forces to destroy humankind, Alorin and Tyana must figure out a way to kill them and save their people.

Enter the Orbs of Power, eleven magical globes that were created to drive off demons and devils.  To wield an Orb is to become a SyncHost, and our fearless leader Alorin promptly harnesses the power of the Frost Orb.  His Frost Powers enable him to use ice as a magical weapon, and his strength is immense when he is in control of his power. Alorin, Tyana, and the palace Seer Rynh set off on a journey to the Ranan kingdom, but along the way they are attacked by devils and kidnapped by a demon known as The Attacker.  But help arrives and they escape.  Before long, both Tyana and Rynh find orbs of their own and the trio finally makes it to the Ranan Kingdom more or less intact.

In order to win the battle, all eleven orbs must be located and SyncHosts found for each, and RodenParker keeps the momentum going towards the story’s predictable happy ending.

As far as fantasy stories go, Orbs of Power has all the elements you might expect, and the author does a good job juggling many different characters and explaining his fairly complicated world. I felt the strongest parts of the book were the action sequences, as the devils and demons clashed with the orb-wielding humans. But although the overall quality of the writing was solid, I was sorely disappointed by the dialogue. Alorin and Tyana are fated to marry soon, but from the way they talked to each other I was confused by their ages. In many parts of the story they fight and insult each other like twelve-year-olds, but later in the book they end up in bed together!  Strangely, many of the characters stutter their way through the book. At first I thought perhaps Alorin had a stuttering problem, but when Tyana also began stuttering, I realized the author probably used this device when they were scared. In any case, it was very distracting. Also puzzling was the combination of old-fashioned, formal speech with current-day slang. All of the characters utter such phrases as “What brings you?” and “We meet in the morning,” then turn around and say things like “totally rad.”  If this was meant to add humor to the book, it didn’t work for me.

Overall the book suffers from the lack of a professional editor and proofreader, and sentences like “Tyana started up the carriage’s engine and made it start forward” could have been corrected before publication. I found many typos and awkward sentences as I was reading, distractions that unfortunately kept pulling me out of the story.

Though some of the characters are well-developed and interesting, the females were left in the dust, developmentally speaking. As a female reader, stories without strong female characters are sure to either lose my interest or make me angry.  Our main heroine Tyana is one such character.  Her nervy verbal attacks on Alorin in the beginning of the book started out as promising character traits, but she soon lost all semblance of bravery when the devils started attacking.  Even though she gains the power of one of the orbs and joins in the fighting, Tyana clearly isn’t cut out to be a fighter, let alone rule a kingdom. More than once she collapses to the ground during a fight and begs Alorin for help.

RodenParker’s imagination does make up for some of these shortcomings, however. I was entranced by some of the more creative ideas that he came up with.  In this world, the characters ride in “horseless carriages,” which may seem out-of-place amid the demons, merfolk and gown-wearing royalty; but I liked that these carriages ran on a fuel called “Blackness.”  RodenParker managed to fill his story with just about every type of fantasy character there is, and the mash-up of strange creatures made for a crazy and entertaining story.

Orbs of Power is a fast-paced fantasy that starts on a lively note and builds momentum as it rockets the reader through an entertaining mixed bag of supernatural creatures, power-wielding heroes, and damsels in distress.  If you love stories filled with merfolk, Centaurs, devils and demons, Orbs of Power could be for you.

Many thanks to the author for supplying a review copy of the book.

You can purchase Orbs of Power from Amazon.

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Posted May 19, 2012 by Tammy in Reviews / 0 Comments