Mark T Barnes - Echoes of Empire

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« on: February 02, 2017, 01:53:34 pm »
Anyone checked this series out?

I just started reading the first book "The Gardens of Stone" yesterday. I've had it for over a year and bought it purely because of the awesome artwork.

It seems pretty good so far but I can't help but wondering if the author has read/been influenced by TSA.

Don't get me wrong, its an extremely different style of world building,we've had wyvern riders, lionmen, half-horse men, glass armour that changes shape, and a number of other concepts different to TSA in the first chapter, but there's a lot of similarities.

The names are in places fairly similar to both TSA and Malazan and in the first chapters there has been a number of similarities with the magic in particular:

Sorcerers organised into Schools and Covens, taking the field.
Their eyes and mouths glowing when they use it (or so it seems) "made a lantern of their faces".
Agonic collar equivalents, "salt-forged steel" that renders magic users harmless.
Spells describes as cantos and theorems
Spells taking the forms of blue-white geometries
Rotating geometric "Wards"
A seemingly anagogic spell that takes the form of "butterflies of light" that explode when they fly into people.
The main character uses the "Possibility Tree", a technique taught by an ancient order of warrior-mage-scholars, to decide on what to do. The process and the name just made me think "Probability Trance".
We've got a "Mark" equivalent too looks like.

There's a couple of maps, and a fairly expansive glossary of Houses, Factions, Races and terms in the back, reminiscent of Dune.

All the races and terms are pretty heavy going and the writing is definitely not on a level with TSA, but the first couple of chapters have convinced me to give it a fair chance. It's a trilogy that can hopefully tide me over a little until TUC.

I'll post updates as I read!

EDIT: I've posted a link to the glossary if anyone wants to check it out beforehand.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2017, 09:29:58 pm by Wolfdrop »


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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2017, 04:09:43 pm »
Sounds cool. Let us know how it goes, maybe it'll convince someone to add it to their list.
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2017, 06:52:22 pm »
Have been hearing great things on this series lately and it does sounds interesting. I put it high on my TBR list.
“The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before?”

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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2017, 01:18:06 pm »
I have read the three books last year and the worldbuilding was quite interesting, but the characters and the story didn't impress me much.  Everyone of the main plot characters was a lightly altered stereotype of typical fantasy characters, and only a few of the other characters had a lightly interesting backstory.
There was no feel of tension when I read the novels and after the first book it became a slog. In the end the books were put to the shelves and I didn't waste another thought on it.
It's sad because Barnes had good ideas and systems, but the story wasn't very enthralling for me.