Friday 22 July 2011

Review: Once Walked with Gods - James Barclay

Series: Elves 1
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 400
Published: July 14th 2011 Gollancz

The elves have fled to Calius, seeking to escape the overwhelming power of the demonic Garonin. A desperate last stand in their own dimension saved the race, at the cost of 100,000 elves lost to the Garonin. The elf who led that fight, Takaar, is blamed for the losses and has gone into hiding. Now the weakened elf race is tearing itself apart in civil war, human mercenaries have arrived in Calius and are ripping the continent apart. Only one elf can unite the elves. And only one elf believes in him. A young warrior named Auum sets out to bring back the shamed hero and save the elven race.

My thoughts:
This is the start to a new fantasy series set in a world the author knows well. He has written other books that take place 3000 year after this one and now he has gone back to look at the history of the elves. Or what I felt it to be, the massacre and destruction of them.

The elves have one big enemy, themselves. They are made up from different threads, let's just say races, and those will now start to fight between themselves and they especially go after the leaders. Their world is breaking apart. Oh those stupid elves, the whole point behind all of this is for some to get power and they use humans to do it. But we all know you can't trust humans. The elves should have known better. The whole book turns into one horrific slaughter. It is the the big bad Empire/Colonists/you name it who turns on the natives for their resources and slave labour and the elves have nothing to put up against the magic the humans wield. Just as other "explorers" had firepower.

But do not think all is lost. No the elves have one group of fighters who can take on anyone, they are just so few. And then there is Takar who is crazy and lives alone in the forest and 90% of the elves hate him after he left the elves on their home world to die. But he had to save the new world. I understand.

The thing that bothered me was that I had a hard time getting into this book. It felt confusing since everything happened so fast, it is truly action fantasy. Also the names, I had no idea who was a boy or a girl and it took quite some time to get it all in. Maybe in the end there was too much happening for me. I usually say I am not that into character driven novels but here I would have wanted more.

But even with those troubles I still got really fascinated because I want to know what will happen to this poor elven nation. I just want to go there and kick out those humans. I also wondered what happens in those later books since that would leave me clues of the state of the elves in this world.

It left me with a funny feeling. The book was not for me but still I crave more. The author was just that good. I really do want to know what happens next. He has a good voice and imagination, I will give him that. Because of that I would still recommend it to people who like they fantasy a bit more action filled.



Source; For review


Two stories :D One to make Melissa happy and another to please other Melissa


  1. Yeah, I've got a few of those author where I'm not al that gung ho on the story but still got my craving more by the end *sigh*

    PS: I see you've got the new Katherine kennedy coming up...can't wait for that one!!! *drool* ;)

  2. Hmm, that is a kind of funny thing really - where you crave for more even though you were not crazy on the book. Well I am not so into elves and I don't think I want to read this one.

    Thanks for the honest review.

  3. I think not being able to decipher male from female characters based on the name would definitely make things confusing at times! Good to know you enjoyed it despite that and all the fast action:)

  4. Nice review Blodeuedd, and I am curious if you will think differently after the next book. But it is not an author for me.

  5. It has elves so I'm sold :D So wen't to my wishlist.

  6. Sounds really nice, this action fantasy :)

  7. Okay I am shocked that this book didn't have more action. However, I'm glad that you still enjoyed the writing. Makes it hard to rate and review! You did a great job reviewing!

    Now for the FF... *dances and squees* YaY! I got 2. Loved this character! Loved the first ending and I loved the second! You will have to write more!

  8. hmm... based on what you described, it does sound like too much is going on, and it's probably too much fantasy for me. Funny that you still wanted more though. That says something about the writing.

  9. got me with elves. but then it left you with funny feelings. so not sure if i went to venture further.

  10. Sounds like this book has a case of "incoherent fight scenes" where it leaves the reader trying to make heads or tails of what is happening... it would be difficult for me to get into a book like that too...

  11. The title certainly doesn't leave you guessing, does it? The confusing names seem to be a symptom of fantasy novels.

  12. @Leontine
    Yes :D I got the new Kennedy and I hope it will captivate me as the other book did. Sexy evil elves ;)

    Ok but this book, so freaky, I was not that interested still I need to know what happens

    I know, it is so freaky. Because at the same time I do not need to read more, but the thing is that I want to. Since there are a lot of elves then I think there are too many for you

    Very confusing. The names seemed very random. But maybe I am just mean, it is a different culture after all.
    Action everywhere for sure

    I do wonder that too. Cos what happens? They are so screwed

    lol! It sure has. I have even seen this one at suomalainen in my ton you know ;)

  13. hmm sounds like you had mixed feelings about this one.

  14. @Ana
    Perhaps you'd like it :)

    Very hard to review and rate. Cos it was good, but yes not for me. Oh and there was action non-stop.

    I felt that I have to give you a HEA. A lame HEA since she was just rescued but none the less a HEA. I will try to give you more :D

    It was really strange. Cos I had a hard time reading it since I was not that into it. But still I want to know. In the end the story was just that good

    Elves rock, I did like these, even if they were stupid and evil, but also kind and heroic

    Aye, that is true and the thing with me is confusion just makes me have AD/HD. I can't concentrate to save my life

  15. Steph
    True, but most have some sort of origin in a language or they are just made up in a way that resembles something. These ones I could not get a grip on

    I do confess to that.

  16. That is a sign of a good author when they leave you wanting more even though the book was so-so! I'm not a big fantasy fan, but you have me wanting to try this author out.

  17. It doesn't sound like something I'd like, but you gave a good review.

  18. Bucky
    It was certainly weird, but the story, dang, I just want to know what happens to those elves

    Thanks Yvonne :=)

  19. Hmm, sounds interesting. I love elves, but I'm not sure yet, I don't read many elf-related books. Maybe I should change that.

  20. Not sure this is something I would like as it does sound confusing with all those characters. The cover is cool though.

  21. Great review!! I know what you mean about not being crazy about the book but still wanting more. How does that happen?

  22. Nice review! Sounds a bit different since I always think of elves as being stronger than humans.

  23. Irena
    I do not read many either, perhaps elves in fantasy has just been used so much so people stopped using them

    I would sure not like to run into him in the woods

    I have no idea, I am still trying to figure it out, lol

  24. Sounds like a lot of fun actually. Thanks for the review and the heads up.

  25. I've heard good things about Barclay but haven't read any of his books. This one doesn't really grab me, especially since you say that you had a hard time getting into it.

  26. A friend of mine had similar issues with this book - wasn't keen on the writing but somehow intrigued. Will you read any more?

  27. I get that way about some books too, I didn't care for it but it still draws me in.

  28. I can never resist books with elves! Too bad that you had a hard time getting into the book. Too much happening at the same time can be so confusing! Hopefully the next book will be better.

  29. Interesting that although the book wasn't your favorite, it left you craving more. Nice review.

  30. @Jenny
    I do not know what I think of elves, well ok the LOTR elves, peaceful and nice

    I am glad you enjoyed the review

    It was not the genre for me in the end. There are just so many ways of writing fantasy and one can't click with everything.

    Wow, another person that felt like I did :D Cos yes that is sure how it was. As for me, well I only buy those books I loved and are dying to read more of. I do not even buy books from authors I liked so sadly no buying book 2. I always try to save money

    I guess some books are just like that

    Then perhaps you would enjoy this book. And sure even if a lot happened that was not always the thing that confused me. I guess I was just confused by the whole lot of it

    It happens now and again :=D

  31. Thanks for this review. I've always been curious about these books. But yet I haven't picked them up. Thank you!

  32. I'll wait and see what you think after you read the next one. I hate it when I get confused and that seems to happen to me while reading fantasy!



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