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Prelude

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Uhhhhhh... Huh?
From the Goodreads description of the novel:

This story precedes that of An Act of Faith [book #1 in the series] by focusing on events which occurred in the Valley, 1,700 years before.

The Valley hosts the shrine of all the Lost Islands’ faiths and the cities of four Elvin peoples. It is the prize of kingdoms and the battlefield of many clashes of civilizations. From the war of Giants and Deities to the making of the fabled swords of the Bladesmiths; from the fall of a meteorite to the coming of Lon the Wise, the Valley is the epic history of millennia of creeds and coexistence, curses and slaughter, the cause of an all-pervading obsession which haunts the minds.

How did this remote vale become the symbolic centre of the Lost Islands? How did the events of Year 1,000 LC irremediably influence the essence of Elvin mysticism?

PRELUDE is the story of the three days when the Valley became the Nargrond Valley and the unique place that exists twice in the minds of all Elves, in the material and ethereal worlds. 

I had presumed that a "Prelude" novel, book #0 of 4, would be a good place to start a series, even if such a novel was written after the trilogy was already published.  In this case, I was wrong. Prelude relies on the reader already being familiar with the series and world in order to appreciate this 'how it all started' novel.

But for those of us not already vested in this high fantasy world of Elves on Lost Island, there's little sense to what is happening or what the characters are doing. The entire action of the book takes place over the course of three days so it should be easy to follow them, but we're constantly being led to understand that these are major events that will shape the world thousands of years in the future and in this case, three days hardly seems like enough time to see this event(s) unfold.

The names, the alliances, the places ... it's hard to follow and make sense of all of this without the prior experience of having read tales in this world already.

At the end of the book, the author presents a comprehensive glossary, timeline, biography of the Elvin Nations and specific people in each nation, and even the mythology of the world's inhabitants. World-building? Top notch.  C.A. Oliver has clearly thought things through on a macro (and micro) level. But world building is only a part of writing an exciting high fantasy.  And by writing a tale of Elves - a fairly well-known class of fantasy beings - Oliver has set himself for extra scrutiny.

This is one of the rare cases where I wish I hadn't bothered with a 'prequel' but had read the first book in the series.  It sounds like something I might normally enjoy, but now I'm not sure I want to bother.  The story seems massive and the history is impressive, but the writing itself isn't as sharp and tight as one would normally expect for such an endeavor.

Looking for a good book? Prelude, by C.A. Oliver, is a prequel to the author's Songs of the Lost Islands series but despite taking place thousands of years prior to the later books, it's likely important to have already read books 1-3.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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I tried very hard to like this book. I have not read Songs of the Lost Islands but I don’t think it would have made any difference. I do not like this style of writing. The author has gone into great descriptive detail regarding lineage and geography and the plot becomes lost within this.   I had no feelings for the characters and was not therefore drawn into the story. I enjoy fantasy books about elves but this one just did not work for me.
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Full disclosure, I haven't read the Songs of the Islands series, but the description of the book sounded very interesting and I love high fantasy, so I figured I'd go with it. The story centers around Eneos, an elf who is a direct descendent of four bladesmiths. Being the only one in existence, he features prominently in a great war that is going down between the four cities of elves who live in the valley (different groups of elves who pull together to fight the good fight) and the dark elves, who want to take over the valley and enslave everybody.

I liked the premise, but the execution was a bit weighed down by information dumping. I felt like the first half of the book was just facts with no real story. There was just so much information to take in that it was hard not to get confused. Thankfully, the story picked up in the second half of the book, and I really started enjoying it. I think if the whole book had balanced facts and world building with action and plot, it would have been a much more interesting read. I think you might need to read the series before this prequel to understand it better.

I'm giving this book 3.5/5 stars because I think it has promise.

I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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PRELUDE acts as a prequel to the Songs of the Lost Islands series. This story precedes that of An Act of Faith by focusing on events which occurred in the Valley, 1,700 years before.
The Valley hosts the shrine of all the Lost Islands’ faiths and the cities of four Elvin peoples. It is the prize of kingdoms and the battlefield of many clashes of civilizations. From the war of Giants and Deities to the making of the fabled swords of the Bladesmiths; from the fall of a meteorite to the coming of Lon the Wise, the Valley is the epic history of millennia of creeds and coexistence, curses and slaughter, the cause of an all-pervading obsession which haunts the minds.
How did this remote vale become the symbolic centre of the Lost Islands? How did the events of Year 1,000 LC irremediably influence the essence of Elvin mysticism?
PRELUDE is the story of the three days when the Valley became the Nargrond Valley and the unique place that exists twice in the minds of all Elves, in the material and ethereal worlds.
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This would be an excellent read for the right reader.  I was not that reader.  I am very "into" elves, but not so much D&D and this was a bit too much for me.  But, I know several people who would love it and want more.
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This is a prequel to a book I previously received for review. As I was unable to get through the first book. I also struggled with the prequel. The writing style just doesn’t work for me personally. These covers are what really caught my eye and it was my fault for accepting this book and not doing the proper research to notice this was a prequel.
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Sorry but this book made no sense to me at all! Maybe I needed to read the series first??

Thanks to NetGalley for the free copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Thanks Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read. I found out that this is supposed to be a prequel story to the connected trilogy written by the same author. And I'm glad I never read the trilogy, because now I have the chance to start literally from the very beginning. There's a lot of world-building here, as well as backstory and lore and I'll definitely check out the rest of the series!
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I realized that this was a part of a series, but it wasn’t a stand alone part. I think it would have been good, but I didn’t have any context for the plot.
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In this prequel story, readers delve into the history of the last refuge of the Elves. We learn about the Bladesmiths and how they created this refuge, only for it to be lost.

I have the first book of the original series that this is a prequel to but I haven't yet read it. I think that is a detrimental mistake on my part. And yet the author tries to allow this book to be a first ever read for this series, thus giving so much backstory and lore that just confuses the reader.

Once we got through the world building and lore, this was a very interesting novel. We follow Eneos, a descendent of the four Bladesmiths. He joins his forefathers in the battles they must face to keep their homes intact. I enjoyed each of the characters and wanted more of a backstory for a few of them. We do get these backstories a little more in the timeline at the end of the book.

My other concern with this novel was how long the chapters were. I understood the way they were conceived- the titles of each chapter introduced us to the character that would be prevalent to Eneos at the time- but ultimately I felt they could have been broken down even further. I felt myself drifting away from the story and focusing on making sure I didn't skim and miss important details.

Overall this is and interesting read and I want to read the rest of the series. I do believe the end is a good segue into the original series.
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Thoughts: Not having read the other books in the series, this was a little confusing. It is advertised as a prequel to the series and might make more sense when read with the series. I love high fantasy, but at times, the language and style of this put me off. Plus about a third to half the book is nothing but extensive lists of names of elves, lands, history, etc. Which is fine if you’re reading the rest of the series. In this… it’s a bit much. 

Recommendation: Read the series first, then read this. Or read this with the series. Don’t expect this to be a story in and of itself. It’s something better read with the rest of the series.

Disclaimer: Disclosure of Material: I received a final and/or advanced reader copy of this book with the hope that I will leave my unbiased opinion. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”
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I just can't get into this book. I'm not much on Fairies and things of that nature.zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
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I was interested in this book because of the world described, and to see if this is a story I want to pursue. It covers the three days leading up to and including an epic battle. We see everything through the eyes of Eneos a young elf, who pulls everything together. I liked the strong, distinctive characters, Eneos' views of his world, and the hints of what is to come.

This is the first book I've read by C A Oliver, and it took a while to get into the story but at the end of the book there was a lot of background information and that helped understand the story. I'm interested in reading this series, to see where it goes.

I received an eARC from NetGalley and this is my honest review.
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The book explains the back story for the Lost Island series and sets up the history well. The story felt a bit rushed. I realize it was just a prequel but I found myself wishing the author had taken a bit more time and fleshed out the characters a more.
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Oliver has created a rich tapestry of mythology, lore, and culture in creating the Lost Islands world. I was amazed at the complexity and care in his world creation. Behind it all is the story of the journey of a young elf named Eneos to muster the four elvin nations of The Valley in preparation for a climactic battle. It is through this journey that the reader enters the realms of the High Elves, the Green Elves, the Blue Elves and the Dark Elves—each with its unique take on the world in which they live. The culmination of the book is the epic battle between the mortal elves of the valley and the immortal elves outside the valley seeking to destroy all that the valley elves have built and take for themselves the legendary swords created by the Bladesmiths, the rulers of each of the various nations of the valley.

I deliberately chose to read this book in part because I have previously read nothing by the author. Since this book was a prequel to the previously published books that follow these elves, I wanted to discover whether having read this book the reader would be moved to read more. The answer is a definite yes. 

The book ends with an open future ahead of Eneos, but the journey he had taken through the book was satisfactorily concluded. I would most definitely recommend this book to a reader interested in a carefully and thoughtfully crafted fantasy world filled with adventure.

I thank NetGalley for allowing me the chance to read this book and offer a free and honest review.
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truly enjoyable read! ... the characters were well-developed and the storyline was fabulous... absolutely recommend!! ... cannot wait to read more by this author
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Having not read any of the trilogy for which this volume is a prelude, I found myself a bit lost. Add further that the writing style was steep in complex names and relationships, the dialogue was very exposition heavy (telling rather than showing) and even regular word spellings were not always in the standard English format of which I am familiar, and I was pretty much tuned out two-thirds of the way through.  High fantasy fans may enjoy this; while I like fantasy myself this one did not do anything for me.

Read from a galley provided by the publisher.
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