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Review: The Written by Ben Galley

Ben Galley is a fantasy author and staunch defender of independent publishing. The Written is his first book, and the first in The Emaneska trilogy.

I have to say I was expecting some fairly standard sword and sorcery tale here, a bit of magic, a few fabulous beasts slain, the usual wise grey beards and prophecies. As a first book that would have definitely been the safe option, and would still have been a good read.

Needless to say this isn't what you get. You get a slew of mythical creatures - dragons (I suspect on the Pern novels exceed the sheer number in this book), werewolves and more besides. You get heroes and villains. You get magic. You get sword fights. But all of these are put together in a way that's different from the norm. Rather than trying to subvert all the fantasy tropes it is as if Galley dropped them and they smashed and in putting them back together they aren't quite the same as they were before.

The basic story concerns the theft of a spell book which, in the wrong hands, can be used to summon a mighty and powerful evil. Farden, one of the Written (a sort of magic user that has spells tattooed onto his back) has to try to prevent this happening. I won't give any more details as there are many twists and turns as the story unfolds.

Farden is a powerful mage and a tough fighter and although he is heoric he also has personal demons that could cause his mission to fail. He is a loner with little patience for others. He doubts his own abilities and judgement. As the reader you feel you want to give him a good shaking sometimes to get him to act. This makes him a very complex character, realistic and interesting to follow. The other main characters are also fully realised with their own mannerisms and momentum.

Believe

On Imported Blog

[caption id="attachment_1011" align="aligncenter" width="550"] 17-year-old Melanie Oudin made headlines by reaching the Quarterfinals of the US Open in 2009. She inspired fans throughout the world with her personalized "Believe" shoes.[/caption]

I was recently sent this video on Flotrack, and needless to say I wanted to tear up.

The interview is of Matt Elliott after getting 4th in the 1500m. This result made it possible to potentially run for the United States in the World Championships in Moscow (he ended up not doing so). In his interview, he ends up telling the media of his 4:42 mile time (slow for USA Track & Field standards) in high school. He follows that by completely breaking down and saying, "I want kids out there to see...that it doesn't matter who you are or where you're from or who's your sponsor."

I have never seen that much emotion before, especially in an interview. It was inspirational to say the least.

Now I'm not much for sentimental posts, but this video deserves one. It may be the fact that it's a new year or that I just watched two sports drama films. Regardless, Matt Elliott's words are definitely something to not take lightheartedly.

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