Paladin Unbound by Jeff Speight: Review

I was sent this book by the author to read and review. Not something I potentially would have picked up but it’s been a fun ride nevertheless!

Some information about this book:

  • Release date: July 1st 2021
  • Published by: Literary Wanderlust (self pubbed)
  • Pages: 324
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Series: An Archives of Evelium Tale (Book #1)

Blurb:

The last of a dying breed, a holy warrior must rise up against a growing darkness in Evelium.
The most unlikely of heroes, a lowly itinerant mercenary, Umhra the Peacebreaker is shunned by society for his mongrel half-Orc blood. Desperate to find work for himself and his band of fighters, Umhra agrees to help solve a rash of mysterious disappearances, but uncovers a larger, more insidious plot to overthrow the natural order of Evelium in the process.
As Umhra journeys into the depths of Telsidor’s Keep to search for the missing, he confronts an ancient evil and, after suffering a great loss, turns to the god he disavowed for help.
Compelled to save the kingdom he loves, can he defeat the enemy while protecting his true identity, or must he risk everything?


Book Cover

Firstly I’d like to thank Jeffrey for sending me a copy of his book. I know the shipping to the UK from America wouldn’t have been cheap.

Paladin Unbound follows a character called Umhra the Peacebreaker. Umhra is the leader of a mercenary clan called Bloodbound. Umhra is half-orc.

An interesting protagonist just by his heritage since orcs are generally considered evil in a lot of fantasy media and I liked the fact that he was different and not stereotyped – Umhra is not half-orc and angry but smart, patient, passionate and caring. If this is starting to sound like a Dungeons & Dragons character you made once then hold on.

The book is actually perfect for those of you who enjoy D&D. I have played a game of it myself and enjoyed what I played. I’m not sure if Jeffrey wrote this based off of his own experiences with D&D but it’s as much fun as the actual game.

Paladin Unbound is the kind of racy fantasy action story where every chapter has a danger to encounter, characters are mysterious and the lore wild with imagination. Jeffrey has nothing to worry about with his worldbuilding or creativity. Both are really good and he has created a really cool world in Evelium. One that any fantasy fan will enjoy.

I liked the magic that is in the book, the enchanted weapons are a really cool idea and the battles, gore and action all really well put together in a way that makes you want to turn the page to find out what happens next.

My issue with the book is possibly a minor one but the characters felt wooden at times, too nice even and rigid. There was also a little ‘tell and not show’ that caught my eye. Now, these two issues would perhaps slip by other readers if they don’t write books themselves but these are the same two issues people had with my first draft and so I see them easily because I’m still staring at my own draft, three months after finishing it, trying to work out what I can do to fix it!

I think if Jeffrey can alter the characters dialogue then book two will be even better because there were unfortunately times were the characters spoke to each other too nice, too regimented (for example a peasant talking to a stranger was “yes sir, of course sir, if it please you my Lord” and this pulled me away from the story) or just not believable. The tell and not show wasn’t as highlighted as the dialogue but it’s a work in progress as a skill and Jeffrey has done a better job on his story than me on mine.

Rating 3/5 – If you liked D&D you will devour this story in 1-2 sittings. It has great action scenes which are brutal and bloody, cool lore you will be interested about, fantastic settings that could have come directly from games like Skyrim and a great protagonist who is hiding a secret. If you read a lot of fantasy by well-known authors then potentially go into this with a forgiving eye to a debut author who has done a great job on his first book and needs the same time those well-known authors had to get to your own 5 star level.

If you like science fiction and fantasy books then consider joining The Oasis Discord here – it’s free and has a great community, buddy reads, community reads and much more!

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