Jan 24, 2009: “Falling to Silence” is the story of a few survivors of a long war. They’re fighting a desperate rear-guard action with swords, crossbows and pistols, trying to protect the last standing villages and their inhabitants. It seems to be a hopeless cause. There’s a lot of death, destruction and confusion.
At the time I read “Falling to Silence” it consisted of 6 chapters, each chapter having about 1300 words. The perspective of the narration changed between three characters. To begin with, each character had their own introductory chapter, told in third person. Later, they took turns within a chapter. Makalle Hemephses is some kind of noble, trying to defend a village. He might be the heir to a line of kings, based on his possession of a medallion called the Golden Wolf. He might have picked it up off a dead man, for all his reverence for it. Maren Fensbane is another noble, or at least a warrior, that Makalle appears to know and dislike. He’s leading a band of mercenaries to find Makalle in the village where he’s holed up. Salus Akosh is also nobly born but seems to be recently called up.
There’s a lot of potential here, but I found “Falling to Silence” to be a difficult read. The chapters so far feel more like story fragments than a coherent plot. We’re dumped right into the action without any backstory. I don’t mind waiting for the details to come when the action stops, but so far I’m not getting enough details to understand what’s happening. There are hints of a really interesting backstory here but it’s not coming through as much as I would like. The changes in perspective add more characters and a few more details but not much clarity. The action is carrying the story but the setup for the action is too sparse.
I had problems with the pacing of the writing. Dialog is short and quick, with long sections where each person snaps off one or two lines at a time. The narrative is longer and tends to be slower, with long sentences covering longer periods of time. Conversations stop in the middle, as if the reader should know what the speakers are talking about. People are given mysterious items without any real explanation. Mysterious strangers appear and say mysterious things. New characters are introduced without any explanation as to their relationship to the main characters. Each chapter adds more questions. It’s interesting but frustrating; the author needs to use the different perspectives to add to the overall story, not just to create new branches.
After 6 chapters I’m still not sure who the good guys are. I don’t know how long the war has been going or why. I don’t understand the significance of the Golden Wolf other than what’s mentioned in the first paragraph of the story. I’m not getting a strong sense of time or place but there are hints of magic and a rich history. If these develop further this could become a good story for those with a little patience.