Journeys Through Faladon: The Titan Divide

I was provided an e-ARC of ForgeFiction’s newest release Journeys Through Faladon: The Titan Divide in return for an honest review. It’s been a while since I’ve done a Thursday Review, and I’m running behind on this one as it is — seeing as how it launched two weeks ago, so let’s jump in.

But first I must excuse my tardiness in discussing this title. In the course of a week or so, I lost my computer (kablooey!) and then, as I was working on getting that replaced, I was doing all of my work via iPhone (not recommended) and then that piece of technology got, um, waterlogged. It was one catastrophe after another.

(Which means that I related to the main character of Ürbon the Jödmun — given the fact that this poor guy gets hit with catastrophe after catastrophe — probably a little too well.)

Before jumping into the story line, I think it is necessary to discuss how this novel came about. ForgeFiction — with whom I have no association — is a community-based writing platform connecting writers from across the globe. Basically, you can jump in and start your own story or you can look around and write a chapter in a story someone else has started. Each chapter is essentially a competition. The community votes “yea” or “nay” on whether a chapter is included. My understanding is that Journeys Through Faladon has 40 authors.

40. Authors.

You’d think that maybe the result would be in-cohesive. You’d think that maybe the story would be hard to follow. You’d think it might read like a D&D game where the DungeonMaster lost control of the characters and chaos ensues.

Instead of chaos, all 40 authors have managed to hold on to the thread of action and adventure. I imagine it must’ve worked like television shows — it’s the only example I can think of where multiple creators manage to hold onto the thread.

Centering on U, a raider, Journeys Through Faladon starts with piracy, follows up with prophecies of doom and wonder, and proceeds through some epic battles.

Perhaps due to the “40 authors” thing, the novel is very episodic. One adventure leading into the next.

Considering my own series of catastrophes, I was definitely willing to sympathize with U. First, he’s attacked by an Elven ship which he wasn’t even going to raid. Then he is separated from his captured crew. Then he finds himself lost beneath a mountain when he manages to escape his prison. Then, of all places, he winds up in a dragon’s lair, face to face with an actual dragon. Then a magical axe, Bjarl, decides he’s the chosen one:

“What was now in his hands was an axe of ice and steel, the haft wrapped in soft leather. He recognized the steel of the axe’s pole. It was a metal used by Jödmun craftsmen, a formula of steel and rock substrate, creating a virtually indestructible material. What was more impressive, however, was the ice sculpted atop the pole, a visage of a wyrm, whereas the wyrm’s fiery breath of of steel, forming the blade.

Ürbon knew this axe but could not believe it to be in his hands. There was only one such weapon in existence. Bjarl, the rune axe of legend, crafted by the greatest blacksmith of the Jödmun, Volstagg the Mad Smith himself.”

Journeys Through Faladon

You know you want to find out more about Volstagg the Mad Smith.

One of the most interesting elements in the story for me is actually the race of the Jödmun. In the midst of classic fantasy “races” like elves and humans and dwarves, the Jödmun come in fully realized and very, very superhuman:

Very little could withstand a hit from the tall and fearsome Jödmun. They were a people with flesh quite literally made of stone, a condition arising from a calamity known as the Mountain Birth. But that was a long time ago.”

Journeys Through Faladon

Oh yeah, then a whole race of cave dwelling reptiles decide that Ürbon must free them. You know, if he can escape these caves himself….

It’s a fun ride to watch Ürbon, his companions, and the enemies they meet along the way. If you’re looking for a story with some adventure and a whole lotta action, this is a good choice. The authors have brought a ton of creativity into the fantasy mix, which was no easy feat.

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