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Review: The Ever Fiend (Talon Stormbringer Series) by Randy Ellefson

★★★★½ The Ever Fiend by Randy Ellefson

Talon Stormbringer is many things – a thief, a rogue, a legend. Is he a fool too?

Tasked with finding the land of Everway by the very same wizard he tried to steal from in the first place, Talon must join forces with a band of misfits in order to find the legendary silver elixir for his new employer-by-force. The powerful artefact is only known from stories told to children to get them to sleep at night… then again, so is Everway, so who can tell what’s fact and fiction?

For Talon’s sake, one can only hope that tales of the dark overlord known as The Ever Fiend, said to rule the place with an iron fist, is the only part that’s made up. If it takes a fool to steal from a wizard, what does it take to steal from The Ever Fiend?

The Ever Fiend is a fantastic (pun intended) first showing from debuting author Randy Ellefson, starting off the Talon Stormbringer series with a bang. Our anti-hero lead is an enigmatic and charismatic rogue so surrounded by darker shades of black you can’t help but cheer for his sly antics and wry demeanor when it shows itself. Not quite a comedic lead, not a Poe-faced and dour “dark” anti-hero type that sadly populates the fantasy genre, Talon is a balanced character that can pull the story along on his personality alone. Luckily for Talon, the story doesn’t need the help – it’s a fun, creative world full of just-as-interesting people to deal with, and stab in the back when possible, of course, not to mention the awesome magic wielded by and against the cast.

The writing is generally very strong with only the occasional lull here and there and a few sections that feel worded in a less-than-perfect way, which feels easily corrected a lot of the time it does rear its head. It’s nothing that really makes the read uninviting, as much as it does bear mentioning. Similarly, readers who prefer their fantasy far from the norm might prefer something that experiments with the formula a bit more, as there’s not really any new ground for a dark fantasy novel here; the ground it covers is covered extremely well, meeting every major expectation and more which most readers will find extremely satisfying.

Randy Ellefson has really made himself a name to watch with this title as his debut. With strong writing and strong characters, this is a strong introduction to Talon Stormbringer and what to expect in his upcoming series. This is a wholly professional product with a beautiful cover and a great amount of care taken on the piece throughout. It’s great to see a fantasy read with this amount of love poured into it, with the skill and know-how to make it gleam. A stand-out for dark fantasy, Talon Stormbringer brings the thunder in his first proper outing. Let’s hope to see more of his adventures and misadventures very, very soon!

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The Ever Fiend (Talon Stormbringer, #1)