Review done by Christopher Patterson
Forgotten Soldiers, by Joshua P. Simon, falls under the fantasy genre, with a very Medieval-type setting, supernatural creatures, and the use of sorcery and magic. It is written in the first person, which I tend to find refreshing, and I feel the author does a very good job in keeping to the limited first person point of view. One of my gripes about fantasy authors is regular breaks in POV.
Forgotten Soldiers begins with Tyrus, a military Sargent for Turine who has been away from home, enlisted in the army through forced conscription, and fighting the Geneshans for ten years. The very beginning of the story takes place at the tale end of this war and we quickly transition into Tyrus’ journey home and his apprehensions with rejoining his wife and children, who he hasn’t seen in ten years and hasn’t heard from in four years. The story is enjoyable, the characters are likable and relatable, and, for a fantasy book, it seems believable.
One of the things that Simon does throughout the book (and this could be perhaps because it is written in the first person) is he uses a lot of colloquial language that a 21st century reader would be familiar with. Many fantasy authors, including myself, tend to use an elevated form of language, especially language that would have been used in Medieval Europe – or whatever setting their story takes place. And, even though this use of language took me surprise and I didn’t know if I liked it at first, again, like the use of the first person, I found it refreshing and very personable.
Simon also does a good job of moving the story along at a decent pace and presenting mystery and intrigue along with real conflict. His use of language is good and he does a good job of staying true to characterization.
I had a couple complaints about Simon’s writing. Firstly, the story does feel slow in some places. It is a part of a four book series, and so I know that the tale of Tyrus will continue in the next book, but the ending to Forgotten Soldiers just seemed out of place. The story arc seemed off as well. I did like the conflict but I feel like the conflict came at the wrong places, leaving for too much internal dialogue and reflection—basically dead space that left me wanting more action. It wasn’t enough to make me want to put down the book, but it was enough to make me say, “Oh, come on. More self-reflection?” With that being said, there were also many places where I felt there was just too much meaningless dialogue and I feel that Simon could use a little dose of Orwell in sticking to pertinent information within the prose and dialogue of his story.
I give Forgotten Soldiers 4 out of 5 stars and am currently reading book two in the series, Wayward Soldiers. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good fantasy.
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