Book Jacket

 

rank 162
word count 162280
date submitted 13.07.2012
date updated 06.04.2014
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Romance,...
classification: universal
complete

The Circle of the Frealings

Daniel M.A. Mountney

Something stirs in the depths of Mistwood, a timeless evil almost forgotten. The Curse, long in slumber, has awoken, and Utopia is about to fall...

 

It is a forgotten age of a forgotten world, and the twin brothers Deorwine and Deored enjoy the fruits of a worldly paradise. But when a mysterious corruption of the Earth begins to fester in the brothers' beloved forest-home, neither they nor their people can deny it is the Curse awakened ̶ nor that their paradise is lost. And, together with the rise of a sinister faction whose motives run deeper than the apparent, the future is cast into the shadow of the unknown.

But the unknown breeds fear, and fear, distrust, and those with black hearts will use what weapons they can – even to cleave the bonds of siblings...

Faced with elusive enemies and hurt by his brother's estrangement, Deorwine must break through a web of lies and deceits if he is to stop the downward spiral towards war and bring back a fading utopia. And he must discover an evil truth before it is too late – that the Curse is not nearly as intangible as thought, lurking far closer than anyone imagines...

This is the first of two books chronicling the rise and tragic fall of the Father race of Man.

 
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adventure, ancient, animal, battle, beast, beauty, betrayal, cold, creature, dark, darkness, epic, evil, faith, family, fantasy, forest, friendship, g...

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Sara Stinson wrote 570 days ago

Club Grimoire Review
The Circle of the Frealings
What an amazing world you have created! I have taken my time this afternoon and read Chapter One. I drew a map of the Territories and wrote about the different clans. Your world is so imaginative and unique. Would be neat to see the map in the front of your book. I am curious to see what these beasts look like with their hooves and horns. I can see The White Fells in their white furs in the winter with the snow falling around. They are strong and swift, so the winds are no problem.
Your writing style is quite remarkable. The names of your characters are perfect. The dialogue is strong. I plan to read more. With the background you have provided, I am ready to see what happens next.
Grizzlebacks are some interesting creatures. I really want to meet the White Fells. I think they will be cool. High stars and will definitely return!
Sara Stinson
Finger Bones

rikasworld wrote 612 days ago

Club Grimoire Review

I love this. Great style and a very original story. You use traditional story telling language and it works, great descriptions and scene setting but you keep it interesting with the action and dialogue. 'Speak for yourself' made me laugh. It was surprising and worked well in the more formal style. There is an interesting story starting here and I will keep it on my watchlist to read more later.
Niggles 'Many moons have passed' - cliche. I also was not sure about 'For a while had peace' though I loved the way you started with the poem, very neatly filling in the background and creating a sense of foreboding.
High stars and a very appealing read.

Kayla H wrote 604 days ago

Club Grimoire Review:
Prelude:
Nice—reminded me quite a bit of Beowulf in style/theme. Definitely a good opening.
Chapter One:
This is very smooth and easy to read. The style brings to mind Tolkien and I can see this book being appreciated by fans of his work.
Much of the imagery is very vivid. I liked this line: the trees “unrolling into the distance”

The twins are very intriguing, with their immortality and the differences between them—Deorwine claiming to not need food, while Deored does.
The grizzlebacks are very interesting creatures—I like the name. And they are very original creatures, not quite like anything I’ve come across in fantasy before.
Some nitpicking:
“over the boom and hiss of the waters” this is probably just me, but I don’t really care for having “boom” and “hiss” italicized. It just looks odd to me and adds an unnecessary emphasis to the words.
“By the time both broke off their efforts the day was broad” I’m thinking you might need a comma after “efforts”
“Deorwine looked at the bone, troubling.” This wording kind of struck me as odd. Maybe “Deorwine looked at the bone, troubled.”?
“according to the tale” is missing a quotation mark at the end of it.
I’d think Deorwine and his brother would ask why the grizzlebacks moved much sooner than they do; it seemed a bit odd to me.
“the twins repaired within the cave” “repaired” didn’t seem like quite the right word.
Other than that, I thought this was really great; excellent job.

K E Shaw wrote 623 days ago

CG review
Hi Daniel M,

Prelude/Prologue.
I like the format of an ancient poem - it sets the tone for the chapter to come, and fits perfecty with the overall
themes of heroic, epic fantasy. Tweak it if you must, but it fits.

Overall impressions:
You have a vision and a style for this story, as far as I can tell so far. My personal belief is stick with it. Although the archaic language maybe a bit of a shock to some readers, others will be familiar with it, and will embrace it fully. Write for you first, then only if absolutely necessary change anything that amounts to 'style'. This type of reading demands a little concentration from the reader - which to my mind is not a bad thing - but not all readers will be after that.
To be honest, there were parts that were a little heavier-handed than others in the use of that style, but at no point did I find it difficult, or out of place. All writers are influenced by other writers and story-tellers - including JRRT with LOTR, as you have pointed out. Stay true to what influences your writing. (Even LOTR was called 'unreadable' by a certain literary critic when it was in it's first days of release last century).

That being said, all WIP's need polishing, and I there are a few spots that perhaps you could check back on for clarity. But I found the twins engaging in terms of their personalities, their mysterious nature - i.e. are they semi-divine, magical? - and their interactions and dialogue with each other as well as with the grizzlebacks quite believable in this fantasy setting.
The one thing that did puzzle me towards the end of the chapter was that despite the brothers asking about the nature of the creature that had been plaguing the grizzlebacks - nightly - they are given no clear answer. Surely the grizzelbacks would have at least provided some sort of description? or the twins would have pushed for one?

Some of your descriptive passages are truly lovely - I could envision the view from the top of the waterfall perfectly.
Overall, I'd say this book will definitely attract and hold alot of fans, and shows real potential. Well done, and thanks for the read. Minor niggles below...


‘...clinging refreshingly to his skin’. Something about this is just a tad awkward. Maybe something like ‘A cool vapour enshrouded him, the clinging drops refreshing his skin’?

For these tough, norse-style characters, the use of the word ‘charming’ felt a little out of place - perhaps the scenery is not dramatic enough to be ‘breathtaking’, but perhaps magnificent or maybe even bewitching? “The charm was rudely lost...” would still work with any other choice.
‘agelessly’ - weird kind of created adverb - might be better to keep it as an adjective and say ‘while he....watched on, ageless,...”
‘yet there is no sign of them yet.’ - I think leave out the last yet, and maybe go with ‘Yet still there is no sign...’
‘soil-brown hair’ caused me a moment of confusion - I had thought they were twins, and so assumed they were physically identical as well - not sure if it’s really a problem, but it did force me to go back and check if I’d missed something.



I’ll keep an eye on this one, for sure.
All the best
Kim
The Seventh Gate

E.D. Rea wrote 54 days ago

The first four or five chapters of this book weave a compelling story. As the twin discover the strange beasts and struggle to understand what happening to their land, one can't help be drawn into this epic tale.

The one downside to creating a completely new world and the names that go along with such places, is the tendency to get lost. It takes effort to remember who is who and, except for a few of the characters, when I came back to read the next few chapters I essentially had to start all over from the beginning.

I think in a book form it would be easier because one can look back without the pain scrolling back through the chapters. Of course, all that might just be me.

All in all I'd say this book has great potential.

Arnbjorn wrote 56 days ago

Interesting characters and interesting world-building - these are probably the two most important elements of the opening chapter of an epic fantasy tale, and you certainly have these. I like the interplay between the protagonist and his brother, and the evolving mystery they're investigating held my interest.




Hi Paul

I appreciate your time taken to read and comment in-depth on Frealings. You must have spent a while on it! However much I thought (or wanted to think) the editing was done and dusted, I can see now I need to rework the odd sentence.

As you may have gathered, I lean (intentionally) towards the verbose (by the way, 'verbose' can mean 'characterized by the use of 'many' as well as 'too many' words'!). It's the style in which I like to write. Overuse of the short and sharp, and indeed concise, I find becomes tedious in the end. That said, in my inclination, my writing inevitably leans too far sometimes and becomes verbose in the above's latter sense, and I fully realise that shorter and sharper is as equally important. You have pointed out a good number of examples that I can see need tightening up, e.g the sentence you flagged as containing 4 modifiers; 4 is way too many!!! So thank you! I also overindulge in my vocabulary, and in doing so occasionally slip up, e.g 'eyes rooted to the ground' runs the risk of conjuring absurd imagery! I need to go over each sentence again with a finer toothcomb.

Anachronisms - I thought I'd picked up on all of them, but 'put it to rest' that you flagged does feel like one, and I'll change this for that reason and the reason you for which you flagged it. 'Cool' in 'tried his cool further' may be one in a strict sense; I can't check without an encyclopaedic dictionary; but the word in general terms, being an Old English word, doesn't cause me immediate concern by using it in this sense. I will always prefer an 'English' word over a Latinate or French-derived word (cool as opposed to composure) if both are interchangeable and the English isn't too slangy, informal, or detracting in another way.

And thank you for remarking on the purpose (or rather lack of purpose) behind the brothers' recent journey. I think I need to make the point of their journey more substantial, rather than it merely being a roam around the land.

I have to say though Paul, that I disagreed with, or saw fault in, as many of your comments as I welcomed. 'Instill' and 'instil' are the same words (in fact, the Authonomy spell-checker has just flagged the former spelling), and 'rock face' can be compounded even without a hyphen (double check the dictionary if you wish. I have. I'm very conscious of grammar and spelling!)

I also have to correct you on a number of other points. For instance, you recommend me introduce the waterfall beforehand. If you reread the first scene, you'll see that I've introduced it in the first paragraph. And I struggle to understand your point of view on needing to know more of things as or directly after they are introduced. I find this approach tedious and forced. The picture will open up for the reader as they move onwards, naturally and fluidly. The relationship between the brothers is revealed in this way, by subtle means, and is done so soon enough. Even a well-placed and/or subtly worded information dump is still an information dump. This stance you have may arise from using too critical an eye, rather than just reading for enjoyment (which is the whole point of reading, after all); it may arise from your preference to short stories; I can't say.

Another point I must raise - 'Deorwine knew he needed a rest'. Here you say the sentence should be tightened up, without the use of 'knew', since the reader is already in POV. In my mind the use of 'knew' actually draws the reader deeper in POV, rather than away from it, since it derives from the character directly (in a way, you could say it shows rather than tells) and so adds to the experience. There's no point in being concise and 'to the point' for the sake of it.

Another disagreement – 'The tranquil morning seemed to tempt reflection'. I cannot honestly see anything wrong with this clause. The implication that it is the character's reflection that is being tempted is as clear as day, and would be absurd otherwise. I think this is another example where you are over-analysing rather than just reading.

And another - You recommend changing 'holding out his hand...' to 'extending his hand.' If I refer back to my comment on my preference of 'English' words to Latinate, I'm sure you'll take my point. And it's not merely a blind preference - this is a story based in ancient times with primarily Northern European influences.

As I said, I really appreciate your comments, and by taking some on board I'm positive this chapter will be improved. I'll take a look at your novel as soon as I can

Arnbjorn

Arnbjorn wrote 60 days ago

Hi, Daniel. I read your first two chapters... Kendreich




Hi Kendreich

Thanks very much for your time and your comments. I think you're right about developing the characters a little before they meet the grizzlebacks. I'm going to work on that asap. Appreciated.

Tinge vs tang - Yes, tang would be slightly closer in original meaning. 'Tinge' is still perfectly fine, albeit the sense in which I use it would, strictly speaking, be secondary to it's primary meaning related to colouration. As we are therefore talking about nuances of meaning, I'm going to leave 'tinge' in.

'His brother almost lost to the trees' - His brother is not lost 'in' the trees, he's almost lost 'to' the trees, namely Deorwine can barely see him.

The sun shined. Check the dictionary! The verb has two past tenses!

'The brothers obliged, though Deored more collapsed' Arnbjorn has just urged them to sit (the preceding sentence) so I obviously do not need to mention 'sit' again, contrary to your recommendation.

Again, contrary to your recommendation, I do not mean 'good-humoured approval'. The standing tag should be correct, as in Arnbjorn is humoured or amused.

Thanks for your review. I'll take a look at your book as soon as I can

Arnbjorn

Kendreich wrote 60 days ago

Hi, Daniel. I read your first two chapters. I agree with the comment someone made that you might have done more to develop the brothers' characters before introducing the Grizzlebacks, and clarified their mission. As I said before, I'm not a fan of fantasy literature, but generally you write well, in an ambitious style that at times can seem rather clogged up with descriptive epithets.

Some specific points that nobody else has mentioned. You refer, early on, to ' the unmistakable tinge of pine.' A 'tinge' is a hint of colour. I think you mean ' the unmistakable tang of pine ' - that's the aroma.

Halidon - ' a mountain he remembered raising '. Maybe he did, actually, raise or create the mountain. In a fantasy world, anything is possible, isn't it? Or did you mean 'rising' ?

" He turned to see his brother almost lost to the trees ' - ' lost in the trees ', I think.

' The sun shined '. Isn't there such a thing as a grammar check? Maybe, again, this is fantasy-land language, but normally it would be 'shone'.

In the bear's lair, ' the brothers obliged, though Deored more collapsed '. Better, ' Deored collapsed rather than sat. '

Lastly, ' " I'm tempted," said Arnbjorn in good-humoured approval.' ( not just ' humoured approval' )

It has an epic feel to it, overall, but you need to work on details such as these.

Kendreich

FiarWalk wrote 62 days ago

WTF review

Hi

Your story is extremely descriptive and well thought out. You have clearly gone to a great deal of trouble to plot out every inch of this world. Your language is a bit too dense for my personal taste. But I think the story really started to take off when they found the bones in the empty lair and set off to find the missing grizzlebacks.

I think to first chapter is too long, particularly for publication and you might want to think about dividing it up into smaller chapters.

I can see this story being very popular among readers to really enjoy Tolkienesque fantasy.

Patricia
The Binding

TomECantillon wrote 63 days ago

Hey Arnbjorn:

Got to read the first 9 chapters and I really like the amount of detail you've woven into the tale; very visual and gives a strong sense of place and peril. I'm enjoying the 2 brothers as they story unfolds. A good fantasy adventure so far and I will definitely get to more soon.

Tom
A Spell On You

Paul Toth wrote 65 days ago

Interesting characters and interesting world-building - these are probably the two most important elements of the opening chapter of an epic fantasy tale, and you certainly have these. I like the interplay between the protagonist and his brother, and the evolving mystery they're investigating held my interest.

I have some suggestions and observations based on a close reading of the book's first few scenes:

Chapter 1, first paragraph: “…and it was there…” seems vague, what do “it” and “there” refer to. I’m think “it” may be the “domain named Etheldom,” but then what does “there” mean? A domain is a location, “there” would refer to a location – but how can a location have a location?

Chapter 1, first paragraph: “… immersed in his profound light…” usage didn’t feel natural to me – you don’t really “immerse” things it light – maybe try “bathed” in light.

In places there is extraneous verbiage. Example, from chapter 1: “The rockface Deorwin clung to had numbed his hands by now…” “By now” is doesn’t add thing, and is part of a cumulative effect that slows your pacing.

Sometimes, the extraneous verbiage arises because you’re putting forth information that implicit in context. For instance, in the first chapter you’ve established we’re in Deorwine’s POV but then write that “… Deorwine knew he needed a rest” – I think you can just write “Deorwine needed a rest” because the reader know this arises from Deorwine’s perspective, and there’s no reason to belabor it.

There’s a lot of use of referential language: “the forest floor,” “the waterfall,” “the wash,” “the rocky rocky rim,” “the woods far below,” but none of these objects has been introduced into the narrative. The reader can rightly wonder “what forest floor,” what waterfall,” “what rocky rim.” To some extent, this okay, but in some cases I think it can be problem, making the narrative feel vague and robbing it of tension. On page one, I would suggest at least introducing the waterfall into the before or when it is referenced. Example: “A waterfall bathed the surfaces around him in moisture, rendering them cold and slick.” Now, when you refer to it as “the” waterfall the language will feel more tense and precise.

Similarly, I suggest you introduce characters to the reader before referencing them.
In the first chapter, Deored shows up here: “.. . he found his view usurped by his brother’s foot” which is followed by a brief exchange of dialog and then a paragraph returning the focus to Deowine. At this point, we don’t know anything about Deored, except that he’s the MC’s brother, and one thing he’s said. Just a couple of sentences giving the reader a feel for Deored’s identity could go a long way here. Example: “Deorwin grimaced. His twin brother had never been one to follow advice, no matter how well-founded and likely to keep him from breaking his neck. He was good in a pinch, though - with a swift wit and swifter feet - as much Deorwin hated to admit it.”

In places, your usage doesn’t seem to fit the category. In general, the language in consistent with fantasy, but the occasional modern colloquialism is jarringly inconsistent with this. From chapter one: “… tried Deorwin’s cool further…” Used in this way, “cool” feels relatively modern and at odds with a fantasy setting (unless it’s urban fantasy, which doesn’t seem to be the case).

Slightly less verbose language in your narrative can help improve your pacing. Example, from chapter one, “… kneeling and holding out his hand.” I suggest “… kneeling and extending his hand” – yes, it’s only a single word, but compounded over a large number of passages, this kind of tactic can make a significant difference in the feel of the story. From the same paragraph: “… all he could do was to dangle…” could just be “… all he could do was dangle…” A bit later: “… straightened, savouring more than ever the…” might be better as “… straightened, savouring the…” I don’t think “more than ever” adds anything here, since the reader can assume the feel the earth under one’s feel is generally something to be savored.

Another example: “He beckoned Deorwine onwards to a print upon the ground, hard by and preserved in dry clay.” I suggest: “He pointed out a footprint, preserved in dry clay.”

In other places, it seems like needed words are absent. Example, from chapter 1, “… stood, side by side, the inseparable twins that they were…” I suggest: “… stood, side by side, like the inseparable twins they were…”
I quite like some of your descriptive phrasing. Example, from chapter 1, “Below them, Mistwood Forest sprawled wide and dusky in the morning, thick with mist in the folds.”

In some cases, I think there’s verb/object disagreement. Example: “… the tranquil morning seemed to temp reflection…” I understand you mean that the morning is tempting in a general sense, but the way the sentence is structured, “reflection” is the object, the thing being tempted. This conflict between structure and intent is jarring, and distracts one from the story. I suggest something like “the morning seemed to invite reflection” – though the problematic structure persists, the word choice is consistent with general intent. Perhaps better: “it was the kind of morning that could tempt one to reflect.” It’s more wordy, but also more precise.

Another example: “eyes rooted to the ground.” When used in this sense, “root” means “firmly implanted.” When used figuratively, as it is here, it’s like something is firmly implanted. So someone’s feet could be rooted, but not their eyes. Try “fixed on the ground” rather than “rooted to the ground.”

And another: “A quick glance over their surrounding put it to rest…” For starters, I’m not 100% clear on what “it” refers to here – whether it’s the ground, the burrow, or the glance, and none of the them seem to be something that would be put “to rest.” Usually the phrase is paired with “doubt,” as in “seeing the spreadsheet put her doubts to rest.”

There are also some situations in which there appear to be object/object mismatches. Example: “… and his reflections to begin the last leg of their long road.” To my mind, a “journey” may have a “leg” but a “road” does not.

Though most of the narrative was reasonably clear, there was the occasional puzzling passage. Example: “… the turned to see his brother almost lost to the trees lining the river…” A first I was unsure what “almost lost” meant in this context. “Almost lost in reverie?” It took me a while to realize the brother had left, moving away and into the trees, especially since it seemed to be at odds with the previous statement that the brothers were inseparable.

Beware the lazy adverb. By “lazy” I mean they don’t add any meaning that isn’t readily inferred or fails to correspond to compelling imagery. Example: “… who nodded ominously in agreement…” Lazy adverbs can rob your sentences of impact. In this case, “ominously” doesn’t carry any meaning in terms of the action, because the character nodding ominously looks the same as him nodding normally, and it doesn’t imply anything new about the situation, because it’s already ominous.

Watch out for modifier overload. Example: “As second nature the brothers looked to their trusty woodcraft, combing the forest floor about the empty lair with their keen sight as they sought for telling signs.” To my mind, four modifiers in a sentence of this length is excessive – it ends up diluting the impact of any individual modifier to the point at which it makes the passage feel muddled.

Around the middle of chapter 1, there’s a scene that begins “Deorwine talked further with Arnbjorn, telling him of his and his brother’s travels…” At this point, I realized I didn’t really know what the point of the brothers’ travels was. There are some vague hints as to the nature of their quest toward the beginning of the chapter, but other than that I don’t recall anything that made it clear what they were doing out in the forest in the first place. I was doing some multitasking while reading this chapter, so I might have missed it – but if you haven’t spelled out this sort of thing this late in the book, I think that’s a problem.

Poppygb1415 wrote 70 days ago

Daniel,
So I've descended from my eyrie over the former Saigon (I can do medievalesque too!), and now have more reading time. I found your pitch less Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings than an almost Biblical good versus great evil... And was a tad worried when I stumbled across a couple of glitches - "Whose motives run deeper than..." Should be IS apparent, and in 'lies and deceit', deceit should be singular. I hate pitching myself, but know it is so important to get it right to hook your audience.

Your narrative is certainly reminiscent of much of the popular fantasy genre - I'm thinking especially of Christopher Paolini here (who I've met, and had the squeakiest voice any male has ever been afflicted with) - and I can see it doing well in that market... And you certainly seem to know about tracking (studied up on it myself, for some Medieval stuff I was writing at one point) - such details ground your world, lend it reality.
And almost not an editorial tripwire to be found. Just the one:

'looked at the bone, troubling.' if I take your meaning here right, and he is thinking that the bone is troubling, it might be worth indicating it's a thought with italics or something. Otherwise the tense 'troubled' might be better. Sorry, tense-finickitiness is a curse of the trade - I teach English as a Foreign Language.

You should find my chapters quicker to get through, if you had time for a return read!

Poppygb
'Amanda Cute and the Case of the Pussycat Sex Club'

MegFarrell wrote 71 days ago

I love your descriptive style. I am encouraged that I may have found a new genre of book I hadn't considered reading before. My husband is a huge fan of fantasy, D&D, and authors such as Weise and Hickman. I have filled him in on your story so that he may be interested in reading it. Very good!

MegFarrell
A Place to Stand

James knee wrote 72 days ago

This is a WTF review

I really enjoyed what I read of your book, your writing flows so well while still being descriptive and exciting. I was instantly drawn in by the world you have created, which seems alive and detailed due to your descriptions of the landscape and the characters. It also didn't take me long to start identifying with the characters, as the dialogue is so flawless that they seem real and likeable. I'll be sure to read on, as I think I can learn a lot from your work. Cheers,

James.

jimmy turtle wrote 73 days ago

HI Daniel -

I love the world - you paint it beautifully. I will back this one and highly star.

Constructive criticism - With your first sentence I don't get the 'by now' - I think it would be much stronger - "The rockface D. clung to numbed his hands, damp and chill as it was." - the 'by now' confuses the tenses - it makes me think present tense and we have no context. It is unnecessary. I would also remove the extraneous 'had' - doing so makes number more active.

similarly in the second sentence - the 'And yet' can be taken out out. Editors hate sentences that start with 'And' - and the 'yet' is superfluous. "His arms were burning.." is much stronger.

hope that helps.

If you get a chance, please read mine. I welcome all comments.

Jimmy Turtle

RTCA wrote 74 days ago

Hey Daniel,
I read the three chapters (11,000 words! Mercy!) and first off I would recommend splitting it up into more manageable parts! The first chapter, which has approx. 6000 words, would be between 20 and 24 pages long in the average mass paperback. That's pretty darn long!

Anyway, to the heart of the matter:
Straight up I noticed that the writing style was pretty old-fashioned, definitely emulating Tolkein. Not that this is a bad thing; on the contrary your writing is superb, with the exception of a few typos, awkward commas, etc (eg Deorwine remembered to 'breath' instead of 'breathe', extra 'ands' and 'thes' in parts). These can be fixed by a simple re-read every now again; typos seem to sprout spontaneously whenever you turn your head.
A solid opening with a tense situation draws the reader in. A+.
You're great at creating imagery without wasting words. The names of characters, locations and whatnot are relatively easy to remember, always a plus in a fantasy settings. On the other hand, there are a lot of characters/places brought up that Deorwine/Deored know of but that we do not. You may want to focus more on the brothers rather then their circles of allies, at least in the first chapter.
The scene in the cave has a very "warm and fuzzy" feel, albeit peppered with the tension of Arnbjorn's secret. Finally, the chapter ends with a solid hook on to the next one.

The second chapter is a bit more average, but you do succeed in keeping up reader interest throughout. The battle against the beast is dynamic and engaging. But I did find the transition from beast to Eothdom was rather sudden, and much of the following scene seemed more like summary than action (especially compared to the initial scene of climbing the waterfall).

Finally, one thing I noticed was that at some parts you break the "old-fashioned" style of dialogue for a more modern one - specifically I found "just be careful!" to sound somewhat out of place after "I will worst this foul being!"

Still, I'm going to be backing this as long as I have space on my bookshelf. Good show.

Fleeting mood wrote 76 days ago

Hi Daniel,

This is a WTF review

I read the opening poem and the first chapter, up to where the brothers set off to find out what they can about the mysterious horned and hooved ones.

I thought the opening poem was very strong and worked really well, setting the tone for what was to follow. I also enjoyed the opening scene where they are climbing the waterfall, where you work in some very important information - that they are ageless, godless - in the form of dialogue and humor "ageless not deathless". Nice touch.

I also enjoyed your strong descriptions, there was some excellent writing here of countryside that really brought the world to life, especially the "slanting rays turning leaves to jade". Names, check. All excellent and well thought out - bears not being able to pronounce them was an excellent idea, makes your world really 3D. The dialogue also works well, even though a little archaic, but that's about right for an ageless being.

If I had some criticism to make, it would only be that the dense descriptions tend to weigh it down a bit, so that the story doesn't move quite fast enough. You need to be in a leisurely mood to really enjoy it. I wasn't the first time I sat down to read it and my understanding suffered for it. Sign of the times, what can I say. I realized I\d done it an injustice the second time around.

I don't have much to say about the writing itself, structurally, except there is a point where you seem to be slipping from Deorwine's POV to a 'God' POV at some point. Where you talk about 'the twins' traveling, even though before it was alway Deorwine that seemed to be seeing the action. And I would have liked some more description of the brothers a little earlier on, to be able to picture them in my mind. That's about it.

Anyway, thank you for a very enjoyable read and also for your very kind comments about my own efforts. To be honest, I was starting to get discouraged, so your review came at a good time for me. Only sorry it took me so long to get back to you.

High stars, watch listed and look forward to reading on!! :)

Best regards

Eva Webster
Ballad of Billee the Blade

Alex Morley wrote 77 days ago

Hi!
Finally here to give this a read - sorry it took so long! :)

I read the first two chapters to complete the review, though I know I will be reading further! This is right up my street. I just made a few notes while reading:

- The cover is brilliant, very fantasy-esque.
- The beginning really pulls me in – your world is obviously well thought out and you know what you’re doing. Well done!
- The use of the language in this chapter is quite excellent; it feels archaic and well into the fantasy world, however, you use modern language within that and it’s really well done.
- Oo, I’d love to get an image of the beast, though the way you describe it, I have my own imagination in use for that. Intriguing!
- The first sentence in chapter two seems a little disjointed. ‘…away, so the brothers, taking a now straighter path…’ maybe it would sound better with ‘…so the brothers took a now straighter path’ or just making it a simpler sentence?
- I love Cynnweaed. I don't know why, I just absolutely love her so far. :) You know those characters you just get straight away? Yeah! lol

Overall; this is a brilliant crafted story, and so much thought has obviously gone into this, and a hell of a lot of hard work! Just by reading the small excerpts at te beginnings of the chapters give the reader the insight into the crafting of such a vivid and brilliant book.
On my watch-list and highly starred! Well done!! :)

Alex

LiveinPI wrote 77 days ago

I placed you on my watch list.. I would be appreciated if you did the same... LW O

amyjean1010 wrote 77 days ago

I read the first 3 chapters. Your writing flows well and is easy to read. I don't get the references within as I have never read any other book like this but your characters and settings are so well described I can see, hear, and smell them! I don't know if this genre has recent writers or not but I think this book will fill the craving these fans have for new stories! Good luck!

amyjean1010 wrote 77 days ago

I usually don't read these types of books but thought I would give it a whirl. From what I know of Tolkien's books it does seem very similar. So I think fans of that type would love this story. You go into great detail, your settings of time and space are so acute I can see it, and the character descriptions I can see them as well. Although I read only the first 3 chapters I can tell it is a fascinating story and I hope you get it published. I don't know if there are recent authors like Tolkien, and if not your book fits a sorely needed genre.

Mayes wrote 78 days ago

Daniel,

I absolutely love your writing.
I can feel the story flowing from your heart and soul.
6 stars for sure!

Godspeed,
Georgette
I

AdelleLaudan wrote 78 days ago

Thanks for inviting me to look at your book. I have to admit, I tried reading Harry Potter and just couldn't grasp the language/terms used. For me, it took me out of the story. LOVED the movies though ;) My 20yr old daughter on the other hand, is a Harry Potter freak lol So, if it's okay with you I am going to ask her to read the first few chapters. I'll get back to you asap with her opinion. In the meantime I have added you to my shelf Hope it helps!

Squirrely wrote 79 days ago

I can tell that a lot of planning went into this. The sense of environment is deep and grandiose. I thought the dialogue was a bit long though, with the bears. Being long can be good but I think you should play up the mysterious, indefinable side of language more so the pleasantries will have more weight. However I am a very impatient reader. The best parts of the story are those that link past, present, future, and other immense things. I especially liked where he remembered raising some mountains above the plains. Focusing on the fantastic aspects, and showing how even the nice, more normal details fit into those aspects, can be key for this story! More linkage between the past and present is my advice, more memories of how they are walking through hallowed ground that is extremely old, etc. because that is when the story gets fascinating. For example when they are climbing the waterfall I can tell that they know a lot about the waterfall, but I don't get to hear about what they know as much as I would like. In any case this is quite interesting writing.

Michael Rains
Wendell and the Dragon's Heart

Lindsay Cross wrote 89 days ago

Just finished chapters 1 - 5. It is amazing that all this can come from someone's imagination, but then again, I do it myself. It is an incredible world you have created, and is one book I plan on reading to the end...but as time allows. I love the story and, even more so, the language you have put forth. Five stars for your effort, the final star for final creation at publishing - I hope it happens for you. I would love to see a movie of this, just to see everything come to life.
The one drawback I can say is - all the characters involved with all the different names. They are hard to follow - who is who. You almost need a program to discern it. The names are hard to pronounce and takes away from the flow of reading, as I stumbled over the name. I gave up trying after and, I guess, this aided in not keeping in mind who was who.
Good luck on this.

Lindsay

Andrew Perez wrote 90 days ago

Yes, a pearl for Tolkien's fans!

Andreea Daia wrote 90 days ago

You’re right—fans of Tolkien should love your story. You build up a magical world, but without throwing in the reader’s face magical elements. Even the twins whom seem to be somewhat magical don’t go around performing wizardry tricks. In today’s context of the fantasy genre in which characters are so powerful that not even the lovechild of Superman and Phoenix (X-men) can stand against them, I find yours to be a refreshing approach.

I loved the creatures you imagined and at times I had to stop and try picturing them in my head. The world itself seems to come to us straight from legends. The pace of the narration is comfortable but fast enough to keep the reader interested. For instance, I liked how you keep dropping hints about danger, without spoon-feeding the story. It definitely made curious to learn what that danger is.

And since everyone offers his or her opinion about your old-style writing, here is my personal view on the topic. Stick with your writing! It is different, yes, but *different* in today’s market isn’t bad—quite the contrary. There are so few original stories or elements of writing, that your “archaic” voice may be a true asset. How many people wish that Tolkien wrote more stories? If anything, remember that Jennifer Egan won a Pulitzer by writing an entire chapter in PowerPoint.

This was a fun read and will return for more. Very high stars!
Andreea

(Duplicity)

John Z wrote 91 days ago

I have read 5 chapters and will read the rest. Clearly you have created a distinctive world of fantasy and the debt to LOTR is evident - old-fashioned language, ballads and wonderful names. My only concern is that in today's world the old-fashioned language makes reading harder than many modern readers may be prepared for. I think a contrast between the ballads, the speech and the references back to the source document of the creation and the descriptions might work better. I do not feel that using old-fashioned language to describe the countryside and the creatures of the forest makes the story more powerful. I recognise that this is a personal perspective, so you do not need to take it too much to heart. I will be interested to see where this story goes. I hope this is helpful.

John Z
Queen of the Steppe

Povel wrote 93 days ago

Hi Daniel,

This is a WTF review of chapter 1 of The Circle of the Frealings.

I’m glad I found this; it’s good reading. I’ve made some notes as I’ve read. Not so much as I think the work isn’t good enough as it stands, but I think, as with all work, mine included, that you could push it a little higher.
First paragraph got me involved in the action straight away, which is a good thing. However, I think you could make it stronger by changing the passive ‘be’ verbs (is, are, was, were, be, been, being) to active verbs. Here’s an example (you decide if it’s better or no different): “The damp and chill rock-face numbed Deorwine’s hands. And yet his arms burned.” The information is still the same, but when active verbs like “burned” are used, then the text seems a little stronger. It’s subtle and many readers don’t mind either way. You be the judge.

“As he turned”. Some editors call this an ‘as construction’. This is a minor mechanics issue, but I’ll mention it so that you can consider its merit. Browne and King in Self-editing for Fiction Writers (among others) advise not to use this sort of construction in your work. The biggest reason Browne and King say not to use ‘as’ constructions is that they’ve been used by crime-writing hacks for decades now and they’ve removed any chance of other writers using it effectively. Here’s the classic example they give: As Vinnie crossed the street, he shot two coppers. They would advise to write it like this: “He turned to the rockface and the climb still before him. He found his view usurped by his brother’s foot.” The second reason they give for not using this construction is that certain parts of the sentence are subordinated by other parts. The “as he turned” bit seems incidental and subordinate to the rest of the sentence. I wouldn’t suggest changing it if you think it works and is essential, but if some editors suggest not using this kind of construction and they’ve gone to the trouble of giving it a special name, then I’d stay clear.

I had to read twice where there was a section break. Giving a clear break by using something like ***, instead of a line space, might help readers such as myself. But again, that’s a very minor issue.

Oh. I’m surprised when you mention they’re twins. That info could come a bit earlier and help me picture them. I sort of had it in my head that the older brother was the one in front. Now I have to stop and rework my image of them. Not always a good thing for a reader as it takes us out of the moment. You could say “usurped by his twin brother’s foot” in the earlier paragraph and solve this minor issue.

I like grizzlebacks.

I like that the bears bury their dead, this adds mystery for me.

Bit of information dumping in the dialogue “No, we are grizzleback guardians.” Do both of them know this? If so, then they won’t need to tell each other. RUE, Resist the Urge to Explain and let the information come out naturally and slowly.

The rest of chapter 1 is intriguing and I want to read on: I will when I find the time. All in all, this is good stuff which I’m sure will do well. All the best of luck with it.

Cheers,

Rob (Povel)
Dance on the Deep Blue

AlisonW wrote 94 days ago

Hi Daniel
This is not normally a genre that I read or that I am particularly familiar with. However, the quality of your writing is excellent. You build a clear picture and set the scene well in the opening chapters, without overdoing it. I like your choice of language, it seems to fit well with the world you are portraying. I will keep this on my WL and read more soon. Good luck with it.
Alison
The Black Hours

Bell52 wrote 104 days ago

Hi
I have read just one chapter so far but thought I'd comment now. This is not my usual kind of book but we are encouraged to read lots of genres on here. You write very well, describing the scene and the animals. Though I love your descriptions and can see myself walking through the forest I am still unsure whether the twins are people or animals, its not made clear to me (or maybe I've missed something). I picture the likes of Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit when reading your book so I'm sure it will appeal to many fans of those books. I hope you don't think I'm criticising you because I'm not, its a very well written book and you have a great imagination, its just not the type of book that I would normally read so finding it a little hard to get my head around.
Good luck
Michelle Read
Long Lost

ChrisDietzel wrote 293 days ago

Hi Daniel,

I like what you've done here. You start off strong with the ancient poem (great way to get a story started). I'm not usually a fantasy reader but this was easy to get into. You kept a good pace, I never felt like I was losing interest because of too much description, etc.

The one thing I would suggest is using 'said' more often as your identifier. I just read a great article about that the other day that discussed how 'said' becomes invisible to the fiction reader. You have a lot of "confessed", "admitted", etc. These call attention to themselves instead of letting the dialogue do the speaking for them. Hope this helps. Keep up the good work.

Chris

Jess Shaw wrote 352 days ago

Hi Daniel,
I'll admit that at first the style of this threw me - I guess I've become too used to 'modern' fantasy (much of which is repetitive and frankly boring re-hashing of the same current trends). Yours is not. As I read on through chapter 1 I got into the rythm of the language, and found myself really, really enjoying this.

The brothers are great characters and for some reason i could picture them so clearly - I loved the way they interact, and that even though they are twins, the come across as two very different personalities. The grizzlebacks I had a harder time 'picturing' - mostly I think because they actually start talking to the brothers - but once I got over that surprise, again the story carried me along. I think that the things that at first caught me by surprise are actually what makes this so enjoyable - you have stepped out of the current mould of what fantasy 'is' and are doing something different and original, and I think you are doing it well.

cnlumbat wrote 415 days ago

The high language here is definitely reminiscent of Tolkien. I thought it was great how you started off with action and adventure, and you could definitely get a sense of the key role the brothers' relationship would play in later chapters: nice foreshadowing. The characters were interesting and the world was too. Great read!

Criticism: if you're trying to get your book published by traditional publishing houses, the length might be an issue. Because it's high fantasy, you'd be allowed to get away with longer than 100,000 words. But, because you are a first-time author, they don't know how it will sell and might see printing a 156,000 word manuscript as too big a risk. If your looking at epublishing, however, then obviously length doesn't matter.

derekbirks wrote 418 days ago

Hi
I've read the prelude and the first few chapters. Although I enjoyed Tolkien, I'm not a great fantasy person but I have a few observations for what they're worth. I liked the two brothers and I felt they worked really well. I found the archaic style a little off putting and whilst I think you have some really good descriptive sections I think you could tighten up a bit on those. I felt that not enough tension was built up in chapter one and it might be a good idea to split it and end it with a hook regarding the whereabouts of the grizzlebacks.
There is a lot to recommend your work - sorry that sounds like faint praise but mainly because I'm not a fantasy buff.
Good luck with it though because you're doing a good job of creating a special world.
Derek

MiriamNConde wrote 423 days ago

You have a great talent for storytelling. Circle of Frealings is an artistic display of words that paint a poetic fantasy. The frightful adventure of these mystical characters is reminiscent of the darkness in our own world.

MiriamNConde
The Immortality Experiment

Lyn4ny wrote 425 days ago

Very creative writing with a flare to take it one step forward. This is easy to read and follow. It has a great flow about it. It's not my normal genre but I enjoyed reading chapter one. I think you'll do well. Thanks for sharing your story with us. Would love if you took a look at any books of mine that may interest you. I think i'm out of your genre, as well but thought i'd give it a try:)

-Lyn

Elle A. Rose wrote 427 days ago

Daniel,
Wow, what an amazing story! Your descriptions, and the world you have created left me in awe. I could feel the rock underneath my hands as the brothers climbed.
I was unable to put this story down. I lost a lot of sleep trying to plow through the chapters to see what was going to happen next. Thank you for inviting me into your world.
Bravo and best of luck!
Elle

R.K. Belford wrote 427 days ago

Thoughts on the Prelude and First Chapter:

Disclaimer: Fantasy is not my personal preference.

You have a very nice and easy-flowing style, which makes for a pleasant read, and the descriptive passages are excellent. Your narration has a consistent voice and style and does a good job at setting the appropriate tone for this style of novel.

While overall the writing is very clean, it could benefit from a second set of eyes to do some minor editing, as there are the occasional grammatical/punctuation errors that are a bit distracting.

KathrynW wrote 427 days ago

Read the first chapter, and have been impressed by the power of the descriptive writing and the way you draw the reader into the action - characters literally on the edge of a cliff! Fantasy is not really my genre, preferring social realism, but the world you create is believable and beautiful and I can see it appealing to the teen/young adult market.

My only negative comment would have been on the chapter length of your opener. For me, a logical break would have been when the twins reach the top of the cliff. That is their initial goal, and the reader is wrapped up in whether or not that would be achieved. The second chapter would then start with the quest for the grizzlebacks. If your readership is the teen/young adult adult sector, shorter chapters tend to maintain interest, particularly if there is a good hook at the end of each one.

I wish you every success with your novel and you are on my watchlist.

Kathryn W
Highway Code

Bryon1963 wrote 428 days ago

Daniel,
Not being a big Tolkien reader I can't compare you're story to that. With that said I wouldn't see why you would want your work compared to any. You have a great basis for the plot and the characters are refreshing. You showed that even though the brothers are twins each are different of the other, each brother having strengths and weaknesses. I have read only a few chapters but I will keep reading. Thanks for asking me to read your work.
Bryon Decker

Lyleth wrote 428 days ago

Daniel,
Thank you for inviting me to read your work. I was taken back to my childhood and my devouring of Tolkein's works. You are developing a voice very like his and it suits your story well. You do a great job using action and dialogue to reveal your characters' purpose and nature. This is no small thing and you do it well. I found very few instances of you 'telling' us about your characters, you effectively 'showed' us what we needed to know. Your dialogue flows beautifully and is not cluttered with excessive business. You have established story problems effectively, foreshadowing the Curse and the beasts who have frightened the Grizzlebacks. But more than that, I'm interested to know more about the frealings, who they are, why they guard the Grizzlebacks. All of which draw me on to read more.

Your voice suits the story, but at times it can distract and jar. For instance, "fruity voice," made me stop reading and try to figure out what you meant. I would recommend editing many of your modifiers. Strengthen your verbs and let them do the work.

Nicely done. I hope you will have time to read a few chapters of Three Wells of the Sea.

Terry
Three Wells of the Sea

Jon Schafer wrote 429 days ago

Daniel,
Well written with well rounded characters. Typically, I read 3-4 different books and then come back and comment on and rate them one after the other. However, after reading 3 chapters of Circle, I'm going to continue reading your book this evening.
Rated, WL'd and shelved it too.

Jon Schafer
Dead Air
Dead Calm
Normal Is A Washing Machine Setting

Jon Schafer wrote 429 days ago

Daniel,
Well written with well rounded characters. Typically, I read 3-4 different books and then come back and comment on and rate them one after the other. However, after reading 3 chapters of Circle, I'm going to continue reading your book this evening.
Rated, WL'd and shelved it too.

Jon Schafer
Dead Air
Dead Calm
Normal Is A Washing Machine Setting

MC Storm wrote 430 days ago

The story reads archaic, which I personally found difficult to follow. This is just my own preference. I did however find it entertaining. The names of your characters seem fitting. I am sure you will find plenty of readers who will thoroughly enjoy the book..
The best of luck
MC
Exposed

David Smallwood wrote 436 days ago

I’m wary of reading ‘Tolkienesque’ - I just think the great man is such a hard act to follow, but I have to say, Arnbjorn, I was very impressed. Your writing is clear, the story flows beautifully and the descriptions really do open up a fantasy land.

It’s a nice idea to start with the climb of the falls - such a view from up there - what better way to introduce the world to the reader? With Grizzlebacks, the Scirfell and the ageless, this has all the makings of an epic. I’ll be dipping in again to follow the adventure further. In the meantime, 6 stars and happily backed. Well done!

Ugo-Peter wrote 438 days ago

Amazing story, incredible world, great writing style. I have to say, I got more than I expected and your plot is simply amazing. Let me start with your prelude, it was a wonderful way to put it, like a beautiful poem, its allure made me want to turn the page and get into the plot. Then, to your characters, Deorwine and Deored, what an amazing way to introduce them in the first chapter. They bring life to your story and make it believable. Your dialogue though archaic, some might say they find it hard to understand, but from what I read, you seem to have made it simple and understandable yet retaining the archaic tone.
I must say, I enjoyed your story, as you seem to know exactly what to write and I'm looking forward to finishing it.

Ugo-Peter

The Chronicles of Old-Earth

Kristi Dawn Hurley wrote 439 days ago

I have added your book to my watchlist. It may be a while, but I look forward to reading it.

Kristi

Scott Wieczorek wrote 439 days ago

Hi Daniel,
I read through the first chapter of the book and have some initial impressions: It is an interesting story. I read some fantasy tales, and loved Tolkien, and feel that you have a fairly good command over setting the scene. However, one thing that struck me was the lack of drama and peril, especially in the opening where the two twins are clinging by fingertips to a sheer escarpment. It felt to me like they were almost lackadaisical in their climb until the end where the dialogue expressed the only sense of urgency and frustration. Also, the sentence length is long and cumbersome and added to that ho-hum effect. As a suggestion, and do with it whatever you wish, I would recommend varying the sentence length more so that the words don't blend so much into one another. Again, as they are going through the grizzleback lair, the brothers seem more unimpressed despite the obvious peril of pick through a bear's cave when its possible the creature may return. I also noted that there was a word choice error at one point with a sentence ending "they have fallen to some ill." Since 'ill' is an adjective, I found myself wondering, 'ill what?'

On the whole, I think you have an interesting and entertaining tale here. But, in my humble opinion, I feel that it needs just a little technical finessing to make it a little easier on the eyes. Thanks so much for sharing and good luck moving forward.

Scott

The Disappearance of Charles Abbott Hart

Joseph Sale wrote 440 days ago

Arnbjorn,

This is an absolutely phenomenal piece of work - a great entry into the tradition of epic fantasy! I'm envious! You employ Old English and Scandanavian diction to brilliant effect, and yet it doesn't feel like you have copy and pasted Tolkien, which alot of authors do!

I myself have used this Old English (Anglo Saxon) tradition myself to hint at an old/magical world in 'The Door in the Mountain' - but you have really expanded it into something grand.

The characters are interesting and the dialogue is sharp - it has just enough archaism to it to be intriguing without being completely onerous. THe world is engrossing and beautiful - it has been a LONG time since a fantasy world convinced me after Middle Earth, but Northlond and Mistwood have engaged me!

This is getting 6 stars and backed. Simple as.

Well done Sir !

-Joseph Sale

Wolf Rising

partygirl121 wrote 448 days ago

My review
The Circle of the Frealings
This is great story to fell the void left to us as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are both drawing to a close. The characters are very inventive and truly fascinated to watch over throughout the story. I love the names and the way the world seems to draw you in. I would recommend this book to everyone I knew and I read it constantly because I just couldnt bring myself to put it down. No one could deny that books like this deserve to be published. I hope you keep writing books like this but good books can be few and far apart.
Partygirl recommends this story to the publishers and people of the world!
Partygirl recommends this book to the publishers and people of the world!

partygirl121 wrote 448 days ago

My review
The Circle of the Frealings
This is great story to fell the void left to us as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are both drawing to a close. The characters are very inventive and truly fascinated to watch over throughout the story. I love the names and the way the world seems to draw you in. I would recommend this book to everyone I knew and I read it constantly because I just couldnt bring myself to put it down. No one could deny that books like this deserve to be published. I hope you keep writing books like this but good books can be few and far apart.
Partygirl recommends this book to the publishers and people of the world!

partygirl121 wrote 448 days ago

My review
The Circle of the Frealings
This is great story to fell the void left to us as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are both drawing to a close. The characters are very inventive and truly fascinated to watch over throughout the story. I love the names and the way the world seems to draw you in. I would recommend this book to everyone I knew and I read it constantly because I just couldnt bring myself to put it down. No one could deny that books like this deserve to be published. I hope you keep writing books like this but good books can be few and far apart.
Partygirl recommends this book to the publishers and people of the world!

OEJC wrote 448 days ago

Hi. I just read the prelude and the first chapter. Really like it so far. Obviously you have spent a lot of time thinking about the background of this world. I will be back to read more.

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