Ending an Ending
Danny Birt
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Buy *Ending an Ending: First Book of the Laurian Pentology* by Danny Birt online

Ending an Ending: First Book of the Laurian Pentology
Danny Birt
438 pages
February 2006
rated 2 of 5 possible stars
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Birt's fantasy world isn't the most original out there, but it does have some entertaining ideas. However, the storyline is more original. Even though it does contain some clichés, they are handled well, and most of the story doesn't blindly follow the epic fantasy formula.

The story starts with a middle-aged man who doesn't remember anything, not even how to speak or eat. He stumbles upon a group of an elf and three humans who are the chosen of their gods, called Seren. Initially suspicious, they take him in quickly. They name him Sanct and start teaching him both the most basic skills and some knowledge of the world and its history. Sanct learns everything very quiickly. Together they continue the group's mission: to destroy a rogue mage. However, when they get there, a mysterious group destroys the mage right in front the group of Seren. When their mission is completed, the men go to their own ways. When a god or goddess no longer needs the services of a Seren, he is sent to Sleep - which can last for centuries.

Even though Sanct doesn't know who or what he is or what he is supposed to do, he and the others quickly start to think that he is a Seren. He does go to Sleep and stays there for hundreds of years. When he wakes he has his memories from the previous mission but only a vague idea where to go next. He will encounter other characters who have lost their memories.

Ending an Ending has many of the tropes of a fantasy world: polytheistic culture, a single monoculture with local variants in minor things, intelligent races such as elves and dwarves, extensive traveling, and the coming end of the world. But there are some freshly entertaining ideas, such as a mysterious vampire whose powers are supposedly great but unknown, a magical submarine, and a coach moved by ants. Unfortunately, they are shown only briefly.

Equally unfortunately, there are some inconsistencies in both the world and the story. At the beginning of the story, we are told that mages are dangerous and evil. However, the mages the readers are shown are at best friendly and helpful, at worst annoying. In the second section, mages live in the cities and work among the people like everybody else. The ant-powered coach turns into a standard horse-drawn coach between scenes.

The biggest problem is the lack of tension. Characters stroll around telling each other the history of some places and about the world in general. Even when they are chased by mysterious mages, only the fight scenes have any real tension. The other problem is the way that the central characters instinctively trust each other. The amnesiac Sanct takes as granted anything he is told, even though he has no reason to particularly trust the characters he meet.

On the other hand, even though the characters tell each other histories and stories, the explanations don't come off as heavy-handed. There aren't too many useless descriptions, either./p>

Not a bad first novel, and the series could improve in the next installments. Readers who want epic fantasy but are bored by the most usual formulas might want to check it out.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Mervi Hamalainen, 2006

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