|The Madness Of Hallen is the first book of a
four volume epic fantasy by Russell Meek. It's a fairly typical plot-coupon quest fantasy.
This time the quest objects are harmonic stones which contain the mind of Husam Al-Din,
the man who united the tribal warriors half a millennium ago. Or, as the blurb would have
it, half a millennia. Who says blurb writers have to be literate?
Ohrl and his brother
Faerl have a special relationship with the stones. This is their story.
I find it amusing that the names of the brothers are homonyms of "All" and
"Fail" -- I wonder if that was intentional?
The novel is 443 pages long. The story itself is about 200 pages long, if that. The
rest of the page count is made up of interminable descriptions, largely irrelevant back
stories attached to far too many characters, inappropriate adjectives (what on earth is
"ethereal hair"?) and weird similes ("In the sea of dancing, she glided
like a bird inches from the waves..."). The book is overwritten almost to the point
of parody and it desperately needs a copy editor to trim the fat.
There's actually quite a reasonable story hiding inside the excessive verbiage. It's
just that sometimes it is rather hard to find.