Thursday, January 17, 2013

Review: Crown of Vengeance by Stephen Zimmer (3/5)

By Joe Young
Crown of Vengeance Book Cover
Strange mists engulf Janus Roland, Erika Laesig, Mershad Shahab, and several others going about their lives in a quiet midwestern town. When the mist dissipates, they all find themselves looking up into the bright skies of a new, incredible world.
Without explanation of why it has happened, or any notion of where they are, they embark upon a grand adventure within the fantastical world of Ave. Some find themselves in the lands of the Saxan Kingdom, while others have emerged within the lands of the Onan, one of the tribes in the Five Realms confederation.
Storms of war loom over both Saxany and the Five Realms, as invasion forces mass under the inspiration of The Unifier, a mysterious, captivating figure whose influence has swept across the surface of Ave ever since His rise to power in the Gallean duchy of Avanor. It is a war that will be fought in the skies, upon the seas, on land, and even in places non-physical in nature.
A majestic, epic fantasy that begins many adventures and journeys across a diverse and enthralling world, filled with races and creatures both familiar and new. Crown of Vengeance lights the flame of the Fires in Eden series, bringing to life a bold, far-ranging, and grand new venture within the realms of fantasy literature, and appeals strongly to readers of George R.R. Martin, Steven Erikson, and Robert Jordan.
Stephen Zimmer is an accomplished creator of an imaginative and inventive universe.  Crown of Vengeance, published by Seventh Star Press, is largely a world-building episode for his Fires in Eden fantasy series. If you are a science fiction devotee or a budding author who likes examples of how an experienced author describes his new worlds, their social structures, and imaginative people and creatures (flora & fauna), Crown of Vengeance  may appeal to you.  It is definitely required reading for anyone who anticipates consuming the entire series as the tapestry is so convoluted and populated with so many loosely affiliated characters and creatures that it is a necessary basis for understanding the series to follow. 

crown of vengeance horseman
However, if you are a strict logic-oriented reader that likes stories that flow from a structure that allows anticipation of what is waiting to happen, then Crown of Vengeance  may not be for you.  I felt it strange that a random, unaffiliated portion of the population of Lexington would be moved to a new world with something as uninventive as an unseasonable fog.  If it was necessary to use a fog, maybe an intentional magical element would have made it more palatable. Further stretches of logic include mythical beasts that, although having huge proportions and four legs like tree trunks, were still able to fly using wings attached at the midpoint of their bodies.  Once you accept these imaginative reaches, trolls, giants, dragons and most any invention that an evil mind could devise, become rational. 

I normally like more conventional (or low fantasy) stories with more real-world logic tying things together.  Had I been paying attention while reading the author’s acknowledgements, I might have considered his mentioning that his mother read to him The Hobbit and The Lord of Rings Trilogy and hooked him on C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series.  That information might have better prepared me for this lead into Zimmer’s Fires in Eden series.  By the way, I sensed that C.S. Lewis’s religious fixation carried through to Zimmer’s new series as well.  It took me forever to struggle through this book although I now have a thorough set of notes that would allow me to continue the series while staying “in the know”.

Three stars.
Stephen Zimmer Crown of Vengeance Pluto Award
Steven Zimmer with his 2010 Pluto Award
Born in Denver, Colorado, Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning fantasy author and filmmaker based out of Lexington, Kentucky. Stephen has two series being published through Seventh Star Press.

 One is the epic fantasy Fires in Eden Series (which includes Crown of Vengeance, the winner of a 2010 Pluto Award for Best Novel). The series stands at three titles

 The other series is an epic-scale urban fantasy series, The Rising Dawn Saga. This series stands at three titles, with the fourth scheduled for release in winter of 2012/2013.

 Both series are now affiliated with two growing collections of eBook short stories. The Chronicles of Ave short stories are set in the world revealed in the Fires in Eden Series, while the Annals of the Rising Dawn short stories are set in the world of the Rising Dawn Saga.

 His other published short fiction includes the short stories "In the Mountain Skies" and "An Island Sojourn" in the Dreams of Steam I and II steampunk anthologies (edited by Kimberly Richardson), from Kerlak Publishing.

About the Reviewer:  Joe Young has visited the Far East as a sailor, a business engineering representative and most recently a tourist to China--still waiting for Europe and South America. He's traveled to or through most U.S. States and enjoyed lots of business travel opportunities.  He has a First Class FCC Radio Telephone License and a Private Pilot's License, and is an agnostic with mystical overtones. He alternates meal cooking duties weekly with his wife. Mile High Buttermilk Biscuits are one of his specialties.


  1. Lexington? I had no idea they were so prone to the supernatural. I'd have thought Amsterdam, or Tokyo.

    1. Dawg, you ever been to Kentucky? There's got to be something supernatural in the water. Inbreeding can't do all that by itself!

      Sorry Stephen, I'm just kidding! Couldn't resist. Though, there's something to be said for the supernatural qualities of that white lightning...


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