As I mentioned previously, I skipped this book during my recent reread of the series because the library didn’t have it in any format. However, since I finally convinced Lisa to try the series she immediately purchased the entire series as eBooks so she wouldn’t need to stop or even slow down. (It only took her a week, btw.) So now the book is at my very fingertips. *insert evil cackle*
Title: Albrek’s Tomb
Series: Adventurers Wanted; Book 3
Author: M. L. Forman
ROTS Setting: EU/AU, Medieval, Higher Magic, Dragons
Synopsis: Two thousand years ago, the dwarf Albrek went looking for new mines in the land of Thraxon in the hopes of becoming rich — and vanished. Now the dwarves must find Albrek’s magical Ring of Searching before their mines run dry, a possibility which threatens the livelihood of the entire dwarf realm. Alexander Taylor joins a familiar company of adventurers on a quest to discover what happened to Albrek, find his mythical tomb, and locate the lost talisman. But finding the ring may be the least of the adventurers’ problems once they cross paths with an ancient, wandering paladin, Bane, who warns of a great evil working in all of the known lands. Following in Albrek’s footsteps, Alex and his friends travel to the haunted Isle of Bones, where a mysterious creature lurks in a deserted village, to the cursed city of Neplee, where the dwarfs are hunted by the undead hellerash, and through the shadow of an empty oracle’s tower, where a whispered legend is about to come true.
Recommendation: I recommend this series. Great for younger and older readers alike.
I find my thoughts on this book are more closely related to the series as a whole and less about the book itself. Which might be a bit unfair to this book, but the implications are hard to ignore. So please forgive a bit of ranting.
This is now the middle book of the series, and that might not have been the original intention it does mark a shift in the style and feel of the series. The world is the same, but the MC, Alex, starts to take on a different role in plots and those plots themselves also begin to change.
Albrek’s Tomb is Alex’s first book as a “true wizard” and all that comes with it. It is also the last book in which Alex is takes part in a formal adventure. The latter two books in the series are based on the premise of Alex helping his friends and not of him being a member of a company with a specific quest they need to accomplish.
Alex has always been a point of contention for me when it came to this series. It wasn’t until I reread the series recently and looked into character archetypes that I realized why it is that he rubs me the wrong way. The first two books Alex is an “Every Man” type character. He’s relatable and makes mistakes and in general it’s not too difficult for the reader to take his place in the story. It’s easy to see why those are my favorite books in the series. Once we get to the third book, Alex has become a “Mary Sue” type character. He’s incapable of making mistakes, even missteps turn out to his advantage. Alex learns an entire language within 3 months, 2 of which were all self study, he also becomes a master sailor in 3 days, self-taught metal smith, and a few other things that would be spoilery if mentioned here. But basically, he’s probably in the top 5 most powerful being in the Known Lands at this point and he would be tied for second place with two others. When it comes to plots involving Alex he’s no longer the inexperienced youth we related to in the beginning, but the 18-20 year old enigmatic wizard of staggering power who teaches and “helps” even the most experienced of individuals. He also goes out of his way to rebuke and humiliate 8 different people on 4 different occasions, just in this book alone. I firmly believe that Alex is now more wish-fulfillment than an actual person, and while that can be entertaining, it’s distinctly unsatisfying.
One could even make the argument that Alex may be the villain of the series at this point in story.
Now the plot for this book as whole was mostly just a series of points in which Alex could show how awesome and powerful he is. There were at least two points of contradiction I found, though both were minor, but both were key points to the premise of the confrontations that resulted. There is again the problem of, “convenient plot points are convenient.” There’s a distinct lack of conflict throughout the story and I never felt afraid for the characters. They weren’t confronting things so much as walking up to them so Alex could vaporize them. There’s really no point in having anyone else along, and sadly that comes true for the rest of the series. It stops being “Adventures Wanted” and becomes “The Alex Show.”
So, do I like the series or don’t I? The problem with looking back is that you’ve got 20/20 vision. All the problems are readily apparent. I love the world (time paradoxes and all), and I love the idea of kids going on adventures. There’s a magic to that formula that really speaks to me. I do not like the main character, not surprising though, and I don’t like how the author has used that character, not in the slightest. However, I’m still drawn to this series even though I don’t think anyone else will enjoy it like I do.
In summary, this book marks a distinct change between the two halves of the series. The youthful adventures and the wizardly meddling of the supreme being known as Alexander Taylor.