Review: Oblivion's Forge, by Simon Williams
I was thoroughly impressed with this book. Oblivion’s Forge (Aona Book 1) is dark fantasy at its best. It’s the story of a land on the cusp of change, an unknown ancient evil on the verge of awakening, and the many characters—innocent and not so innocent—caught up in its wake. The mystery deepens with each chapter, weaving its way through a vast elaborate world; painted beautifully with passion and a rich prose that lures you in from the first page.
Toggling between a large cast of characters, the author shifts POV often. Normally, I find this jarring. Such constant shifting can throw me out of a story and leave me glossing over the pages, waiting for my favorite characters to come back. This didn’t happen once in Oblivion’s Forge. I did have my favorites (Vornen, who was tormented by his inexplicable pull toward the gates, the formidable assassin Iyoth, the healer Jaana who felt betrayed by her own gifts), but each and every character was interesting and complex. Many shared a common purpose, yet they were all flawed and tortured in their own ways. They seemed destined to come together and I found myself reading eagerly for that very moment.
The intricate storyline is original and never predictable. The author takes great care to peel it back in layers. He inflicts tragedy and heartbreak on the entwined lives of his characters as he builds the plot to a vivid climax that is satisfying, yet remains open for much more.
Oblivion’s Forge is an engrossing read. The only element I could see missing was a map. I would have found it useful to have a visual reference as I journeyed across the diverse landscapes of this suffering world.