The Silver Horn Echoes: A Song of Roland – 5/5 Stars

The Silver Horn Echoes A Song of Roland - front cover

Set in the Dark Ages: an account of Roland, a champion whose heroic deeds and code of honour are in demand to protect King Charles. The story is a weaving of short related tales that paint the history, battles, valour, internal fighting, and politics during this time. King Charles must keep his throne from grim conspirators and claimants to the throne, constantly fighting Saxons and Emir Marsilion of Saragossa who plots to exact revenge against Barcelona and sees an opportunity to invade France too!

I agree that the stories were reminiscent of the tales of King Arthur – bravery coupled with the courting of beautiful Princesses. Along with the above, it did ignite that nostalgic classical feeling within me, when I watch such films, of times when knights lived and died by honour and the sword.

The plans between Kings, Emirs, and Emperors made Europe feel like an authentically constructed setting, and this was bolstered with battle that actually provided glimpses of how the events played out and circled around the hero Roland. Tragedy and blood was apparent in equal measure – it wasn’t all fantastical heroism.

Some of the following criticism is just personal preference, as a consequence of reading omniscient point of view, which I’m less familiar with. The scenes were shorter than I would have liked, which stopped the flow of events at times, though they worked well in prioritising the setting and circumstances the main characters were involved in. I would have liked a bit more characterisation too, such as the rivalry between Ganelon and Roland at the beginning, which carried the emotional intensity of boiling water, which was good. I did sometimes forget who was who with sub-characters, an exception being Saleem who had an interesting background as the ‘wrong son’ banished from Marsilion’s court.

There is a hint of dark magic, such as ‘shades’, dreams, and sorcerous mystery. It mixed in nicely with religious devotion during this time. It added that little extra flavour to the theme without overpowering the essentially medieval content, which was nice.

The ending was exceptional – the reader is given just the right amount of perception to build a picture of the final battle, and it made use of heroism, loss, friendship, and objects within the story to make it a truly epic tale. I’d read more books like this, and would watch more films like this. The Silver Horn Echoes: A Song of Roland is an astonishing and proud achievement, and as a reader I feel I’ve reaped the rewards.

Website of A Silver Horn Echoes: The Song of Roland

A Silver Horn Echoes: The Song of Roland on Amazon

Phoenix by Daccari Buchelli – 4/5 Stars

Phoenix by Daccari Buchelli

‘True, privacy was rare in her world, her duties closing in on her youth and what little freedom she had left.’

‘It always felt as though the light would burn her. Some days she wished it would or that her powers would simply envelop her in flame. She revelled in the idea of being allowed to simply melt away, therefore escaping this miserable life.’

Princess Violetta of the Flame Realm has come of age, and men of status have begun to notice her. There’s Xyhoni, the family friend, and there’s the charming Prince Ryore of the Winter Realm, son of Emperor Jugan. When tragedy strikes and Violetta’s brother and mother are killed, she remains close to her father King Eagan, and is suspicious of the Winter Realm. What makes matters more difficult is that even though she can’t quite forget about Xyhoni, she is growing more attracted to Prince Ryore. And Prince Ryore believes he has found his one true love at last…

Author Daccari Buchelli writes with a mastery of language embellishment that is befitting of the authentic fantasy setting and experience. Sentences are elegant, unobtrusive, and constructed with a fine touch. The author has a grasp for the characters’ feelings that make them passionate and interesting. These feelings give rise to wants and motives, and combine with mystical objects to create a fantasy goal. I became immersed in learning about the thoughts of Ryore and Violetta. Chapter after chapter they became more interesting and realistic, and the fantasy world blossomed about them with colour, duty, and romance.

Criticism: honestly, the first three chapters didn’t pull me into the story. The reason was that I was disoriented and this feeling repeated often; the sense of location and stability in the rapidly changing setting made it difficult to get my bearings. The way the setting was introduced was not even or at the right pace. Even my own writing has been criticised for this reason. A few more sentences to bring forward the atmosphere of the setting when it changed, or a few more scene breaks might have helped to indicate the change of setting.

One of the main characters behaved out of character in Chapter Sixteen, in a way that suspended my belief, which marked a different direction for the narrative. Some paragraphs were double the length I would personally have preferred. A few misspelled words: ‘baited’ and ‘bated’, ‘facet’ and ‘faucet’, and one I wasn’t sure about – ‘intendent’ and ‘attendant’.

Overall, I read the entirety of Phoenix with wild anticipation. The writing was written elegantly and the setting felt like a fantasy world I had actually stepped into. While I was reading about the engrossing characters I didn’t care where the plot was going. I’m not a reader of romance, but the exaggerated displays of affection between two of the main characters impressed me. It was quite easy and enjoyable to digest multiple chapters of Phoenix at a time. I’d strongly recommend Phoenix to all fantasy readers, especially those who like high fantasy, classical fantasy, adventure, and romance.

Author Daccari Buchelli’s website