- Author: Nic Weissman
- Publisher: Self Published
- Release Date: June 17th, 2015
- Pages: 318
The Orb of Wrath strives to combine classic fantasy elements with popular storytelling styles and unique fantasy creatures. The story follows Erion, a looter who is masterful at creeping quietly through most any area and also has the foresight to understand when he is in the company of friends or foes. Early on, Erion is contracted to complete work for a somewhat regular customer, a dark elf named Phoroz. As Erion and his assumed brother Mirthir travel, readers are introduced to Samar, an elf who is a skilled archer and as wise as an elf is expected to be. The cleric Ithelas and his father, a knight named Thost are all summed by Phoroz to create a team and retrieve the Orb of Wrath from a distant land.
While Phoroz does not tell the newly formed team what the orb is for or why he wants them to retrieve it, he promises them a handsome monetary reward in addition to whatever rewards they may find in the castle where the orb is hidden. Going into the mission, the group knows they will likely face a powerful vampire who’s lair houses the orb.
As the team travels together and meets various creatures and obstacles on their way to retrieve the orb, another group of men, Urlabus, Vargarr, and Sathudel have their own mission involving the orb. While these men are much more military oriented, it is clear that they too make up a team that is not as familiar with working together as a team and must rely on trust to push through to their objective.
While The Orb of Wrath makes good use of standard fantasy elements like orcs, elves, vampires, and other fantastic creatures, the story suffers from some odd phrasing and grammatical errors that can quickly take the story from engaging to distant and confusing. This story is a great example of constructing a fantasy arc, there are moments where the plot connections are all too obvious. Spell descriptions and some explanations were overly generic or even unnecessary, further breaking the immersive qualities of the story itself.
Where this story shines is in it’s generous character descriptions. While the character development (and overall writing) could be more polished, Weissman takes the time to give readers a fair amount of back story for each of the main five characters in the team. Most of the action heavy scenes are also well paced and balanced in there descriptions. While Weissman introduces some interesting new creatures (like the Tugrins) and clearly has a good understanding of standard fantasy roles, the story is more generic than it is unique. The Orb of Wrath could be a good read for someone who is new to fantasy and therefore may not understand some of the terminology, however the inconsistently in the plot speed and the overuse of excessively descriptive language could be a turn off for those who prefer characters show how something works rather than describe it word for word.
The story does introduce interesting new characters to lure interest for the upcoming sequel in the series, but the next installment in the series has a fair amount of work to do to make up for the more basic issues in this first novel.