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Northern Heart by Chad Writtenfire

 

Allen Delais’s memories are elusive, inseparable from his dreams. He remembers a home but not how to get there, and he wants to go back. All he has to give him a clue is a divine Mark beside his left eye. Three and a half years later, he’s no closer to an answer. In the meanwhile, he’s earned a commission for himself in the King’s Griffins, the elite core of the royal legions.

A chance event brings him to the king’s attention, and it seems the divine has a plan in store for him as well. The nobles in the kingdom are plotting treason, other kingdoms are on the move, and a dark god is turning his eye to expanding his territory. Allen Delais manages to find himself at the center of it all, struggling to keep the peace. But his real job isn’t for the king. It’s for his goddess.

Her name is Alianna.

Note: Northern Heart is unfinished, and will likely remain so.  It contains some graphic violence.


An abandoned novel

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Listed: Jul 12, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

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Myth and Story

By Sonja Nitschke, editor

Jul 15, 2008: Just a brief note before I continue – A Northern Heart is a serialized novel still being updated. This review is subject to change as the story grows.

I won’t lie—I had a difficult time getting past the first few chapters of A Northern Heart. It wasn’t that the writing was poor, but because nothing really happened, even when Allen woke up in a different place. To me, the story lacked drive, meandering along until it found its stride around chapter six—even so, I think that some of the prose could use a little tightening.

Once there, the narrative provides tantalizing glimpses of the world, as well as bits and pieces of its mythology. Allen continues to grow as a character, and we learn even more about the world’s gods and goddesses. The world is beautifully described and we are given glimpses of their political structure, military, and religion without it being “info-dumped.”

The author notes that chapters one through twelve are his earlier works which are not really up to par with the later chapters, and advises that we might want to begin reading at chapter thirteen. This I found largely to be true and I hope the author will have time to rework the early chapters some day.

Though I found the characters to be strong, I was a bit puzzled as I neared the end of the archives. Throughout the first chapters of the story, Allen refers to his drawing fairly often – sometimes fantasizing how he would like to draw this or that. Yet, somewhere in the middle, all such references to his art simply vanished. I wonder if, in his new life, he simply does not have the time or the desire, or what happened to that part of him.

Ok, now that the negative parts are out of the way —

The writing is beautiful. Sometimes it’s poetic, sometimes its epic, sometimes it’s elegantly simple, but it is never bland.

The myths are beautiful, and I hope that further aspects of their gods and goddesses will be revealed as the story progresses.

When I finished the archives, I found myself wanting more. And that, to me, is always a good sign.

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It’s . . . thorough.

By Donna Sirianni, editor

Dec 28, 2008: I originally read this story back when the original chapters were up and I have to say, the writing’s vastly improved. No more copses of doom. (To those wondering, since I never reviewed this story on this site, it counts as a first review. This is a rare technical exception to my "I don’t read rewrites" rule.)

I’m glad the author’s writing has improved so much but I’m a little disheartened to see that he’s still focusing on "Look how much [more . . .]

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Most Helpful Member Reviews

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Revised

By Chad-Writtenfire, member

May 26, 2010: Drop on by. This has been revised extensively from the older version, so ignore those other two reviews when they refer to the older chapters. The plot has also been redone. Overall, the pacing has tightened up, the characters have developed, and the action’s rolling on full steam ahead. Each chapter has a good bit of action and, often, humor.

The story’s the sort of thing you’ll like if you like political intrigue, divine influences, dark gods rising, kingdoms at war, and comprehensive fantasy mythologies.

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