Note from Sarah: Congrats to The Fall of Erlon for being the Critiquing Chemist and her Bookish Boffin’s first semifinalist of SPFBO6!
Overview (No Spoilers):
The Fall of Erlon contains many of the elements I particularly enjoy in fantasy literature, from expansive worldbuilding to detailed, unique characters. With an extensive cast providing various viewpoints and a myriad of supporting characters, it was effortless to keep track of them all as each have their own distinct voice and role.
The pacing is steady, if somewhat slow through certain sections, but this measured tempo didn’t deter my interest in the slightest as it is apparent that the story is building toward something significant. Fleming maneuvers his sprawling pawns into action, all the while hinting at new key players waiting in the wings, yet to be revealed. Fleming also alludes several times to one particular betrayal during a battle, years in the past that shifted the winds of war and shaped the present day predicaments, but as of yet the particulars have not been elaborated upon. It’s likely that the dramas of the past will be fodder for future novels in the series.
An issue I kept finding myself mulling over was the absence of the small towns and the general residents of Erlon. Although the empire is blessed with a large military presence, where are the families of these mostly nameless general soldiers, or the camp followers? With so much conflict, there should be refugees all over the place, but we are only privy to the movements of the armies.
As a whole, Fleming establishs a solid, intriguing foundation for the rest of the series to build upon. In many ways, I felt as though The Fall of Erlon acts as a prequel, with the introductions made and the pieces in position for a new war to begin in the still fresh ruins of the last prolonged conflict that preceded much of this novel.
Overall, Fleming plays right into my personal reading preferences with regard to its level of detail, character depth, and worldbuilding, making The Fall of Erlon a highly enjoyable read. I eagerly await the next installment to find out just how it will all unfold.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- I enjoyed Elisa’s evolving and strong female presence. Especially as she rises above her father’s large shadow to emerge as her own leader.
- Will Nelson allow the Emperor Lannes to be on the battlefield again? How will the world respond to Nelson releasing the Emperor from his exile?
- I’m a little confused on the definition of a guide vs. a god. If I’m understanding this correctly, they’re really the same being. Are they actually the same as Lodi, just with magic because they are all Lakmian?
- What a great epilogue! We learn that Epona is alive and that she didn’t want to leave her loved ones. How did she know about the abandoned city at the end of the desert in the north? What magic will she find? What is she seeking?
- Why did Thirona betray Erlon at Three Bridges? What is the story behind this disaster?
- Why are Erlon’s enemies so focused on capturing Elisa?
- Will Pitt find the glory that will save his family from poverty?
- Will Rapp mature beyond his spoiled royal self as a result of this difficult position he finds himself in?
- Does Leberecht fear that the Kurakin will betray him once the cities have fallen? Why would they put him in power? Is the treasured sword actually from the Ascended One?
- Mon’s death was hard. It was inevitable that the reader would come to appreciate the gruff old man. Will the surrounding cast start to have depth layered to their already intriguing characters?
- How will Andrei’s story evolve now that he is a prisoner of war?