A review of Oblivion’s Forge, by Simon Williams.
I am not a prolific reviewer for many reasons, one of which is that I really don’t like spoilers. How to take a well-worn, tried-and-trusted premise and somehow hide the fact it is just more of the same, has been rehashed a thousand times before verbiage none of us should ever be forced to read? I’m pleased to say none of those things is a problem with “Oblivion’s Forge”, by Simon Williams, and thus this review.
Oblivion’s Forge is interesting, well written, and magnificently original. It is also of sufficient complexity to keep any reader guessing. Simon Williams lays down the threads of his epic Fantasy series masterfully. (This is something readers should bear in mind before beginning the journey – Oblivion’s Forge is only the first book in an epic series.) Right from the outset you’ll find yourself visualizing the completed picture. You’ll also find yourself constantly revising the image as each new thread adds in another layer. Something nasty awaits, you know it, you imagine it, you anticipate it, and Simon Williams gradually reveals it. Each new character is unique, and each new character is conflicted. Who is good, and who is bad remains unclear throughout. Expect redeemable villains, and flawed heroes, furthermore expect to be confused as to which category each new character belongs.
Simon Williams writing is detailed and thought provoking – so expect to be provoked!
Others who have reviewed Oblivion’s Forge have described it as “Dark Fantasy”. I don’t see it that way at all. To me the work is full of hope. Yes, the characters inhabit a grim, corrupted world, but all of them, even the most delusional, are striving to make the best of their situation. Each of them believes they are on the correct side. Note I did not say the “right side”. Since each strives for success, why does the writing deserve to be labeled “dark”?
If you enjoy complex, deep, and substantive writing, then Oblivion’s Forge deserves a place on your reading list. Oblivion’s Forge deserves to be read with a conscious eye to the finer details.
Are there things about Oblivion’s Forge I didn’t like? Of course, however they are mitigated by the scope of Simon Williams’ vision for his series, of which this is just the first book. I found myself irritated to discover several brand new characters introduced in the closing stages of the work. I feared Simon had run out of original ideas and that these new characters would be used as a deus ex machina device to wrap up the story. Thankfully, my fears proved unfounded.
No, I’m not going to tell why it is justifiable for new characters to be introduced in the closing pages of a book – to find that out you’ll have to read Oblivion’s Forge yourself. So put on your thinking cap, along with your clairvoyants cape, and prepare for a particularly interesting journey.
Also remember to pack your hindsight goggles – you’re going to be using them, a lot!
Bottom line? There are more books in the Aona series, and I will be returning to visit Aona as I traverse their pages. And if they’re as good as Oblivion’s Forge I might even review them!