Thursday, June 10, 2010

Painting Souls by Benjamin Dudley

Painting Souls is the story of two heroes in a magical fantasy world full of adventure and mystery. The Unholy War pitting an alliance of numerous races against the evils of the Shadow and the Wraith has ended by the sword of Adrian, the first hero that is introduced in the book. He is canonized across the world of Celestia as the greatest hero the planet has ever known. However, when Adrian returns home after days of celebrations in his name, he finds that everything dear to him has been swept out from under his feet. Gai, the second hero of the story, is a student at the Ibiza Peacekeeping Academy. One can think of it as a Hogwarts with magic only being one of the subjects taught. Throughout Gai's time at the academy, he experiences blackouts and encounters a form of himself from the future. At the end of the book, these two stories develop and ultimately face the same threat of a new war. This threat looms until the next book in the series.

On the final pages of the book, Gai says to himself, "Are we headed anywhere?" Unfortunately, I felt the same way as I finished this book. The book claims to be the most enveloping fantasy fiction story ever written, and this claim could be very true. However, the ambitious inclusivity of Painting Souls is its ultimate downfall. Fantasy fiction stories that have lasted the test of time all have expansive backgrounds and mystical beings. However, there are intangible "limitations" that appear to the reader. How could readers relate to a world that appears to have no borders or limits? The seemingly endless amount of different races the author presents becomes overwhelming very quickly. Furthermore, the numerous attempts by the author of hints at universal truths are placed in the most awkward locations, and the dialogue rarely seems fitting for the character or the situation. As a whole, Painting Souls seems like a collection of pieces of other famous fantasy works. Very little seems original or thought provoking in an innovative way.

Language and sexual references.

Reviewer Age:20
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden Prairie, Minnesota United States