The Protector by Mark Mathews

I’m a fan of the fantasy genre, so I went into this expecting to like it and I was not disappointed. Mark’s writing is one half Tolkien and one half Paolini, with a story as intricate and interesting as both.

Prince Barrett has led a pretty happy life, all things considered, but his world is about to change when he discovers things that move in the shadows; spies, sorceresses, and the threat of an ancient evil. he must team up with a group of mismatched companions, including the princes from two neighboring realms, a lady spy, an ancient sorceress who he has an unknown tie to, and his personal bodyguard, Brandli, and travel across his world in an effort to stop an evil sorceress and a fader from finding the key that could release an ancient, evil God.

One thing that stuck out for me was a nice dose of reality – the characters have to bathe, they have to eat. many books skip this, and I’ve often found myself thinking “but they have to be filthy by now!” But The Protector addresses this, in fact other characters even comet on their travelworn state!

Over all the story had a good pace and just the right touch of humor. The descriptions were detailed enough to give a picture, but didn’t bog the story down (as some fantasy novels suffer from). The fight scenes had just enough gore/violence to feel bloody but not so much as to feel gory, and the world and races were well thought out and presented. Most of alI, I enjoyed the characters. Brandli and prince Unger were my favorites (the prince really has a lot of development), though all of the characters felt fleshed out and interesting. The romance was fun, and considering the prince’s no doubt sheltered life, his reactions made sense. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series and seeing what else the author has in store for the companions.

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