It’s always nice to get free things. Free coffee. Free beer. Free anything short of disease and bacon. But free books? Free books are a rarity for me. So when I found David Dalglish’s Night of Wolves for free on Amazon’s Kindle Store, my paranoia kicked in. Somehow, I knew, this was too good to be true. Why was this book, the first in a series of four, being put out for free?
After reading it, I can see why.
From the outset, its a tale as old as time: the village is beset on all sides by the monsters in the forest, and its up to our heroes to hold off the hordes and save the day. The twist in the tail? Our heroes are two paladins, each representing an opposing god. In the white corner, we have Jerico, paladin of Ashhur, while Darius, paladin of Karak, sits in the red.
So there’s plenty of conflict at the word go, but afterwards? Not so much. Though its understandable why our heroes should put aside their differences for the greater good, I feel they became overly chummy too quickly. Their gods are ostensibly at war with each other. Surely there should be some rattling of sabres, testing of each other’s mettle. But there’s nothing. It all fizzles out fairly early on. That’s where I started to lose interest.
The perspective changes frequently within the novel, swapping between the paladins, certain villagers, local soldiers, even at some points visiting the titular wolf-men themselves. But as much as its a neat trick, I feel each visit is too short to actually gain any sort of connection with these minor characters. Better to stick with the paladins, the heroes, I’d assume, of the whole series, instead of swanning about between so many different characters and not being able to relate to any of them.
And then there’s the actual pace of the novel. It starts pretty quickly, with chapters lasting a few hours of time in the action of the novel, and then boasts a remarkable jump of weeks between chapters near the middle. And despite the ever looming threat of attack from the wolf-men, I never felt that there was any urgency to the action at all, save for the final showdown in the last few chapters, which ultimately felt rushed.
I’m being awfully critical, but to be fair, this is an enjoyable read. Despite its flaws, I fought on till the end, but what should have been a compulsive page turner felt more like a heroic slog near the end. The entire series is currently selling for £0.77 on the Kindle store, and I might still buy it and read on, but I can’t say its a sure bet.
(I should note now that I’m not the only one who pointed out many of the book’s flaws. The series doesn’t seem to have reviewed well at all on Amazon or Goodreads. However, its worthwhile to point out that this seems to be quite an early series for Dalglish, and his later series The Shadowdance Trilogy has reviewed much better. Given that I’ve enjoyed Night of Wolves enough to finish it, I imagine I’ll make an attempt at Shadowdance in the near future, but I’d certainly recommend that over The Paladin Series right off the bat.)
Night of Wolves, part of David Dalglish’s The Paladin Series, is currently available for free from Amazon’s Kindle Store.