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Vi’Gosh the Wanderer was a good and entertaining story, full of action, an almost extinct race, and an evil man who wants to conquer all. It reminded me a lot of the Shannara series by Terry Brooks, both in the type of story and the writing style. While Vi’Gosh is the title character, there are also many chapters from other viewpoints, and the style overall is the Godlike 3rd person narrative, like in the Shannara series (and a lot of other fantasy stories).
Sheri Brown was born in Canada and a proud indie author, who can crochet some pretty awesome stuff and makes beautiful pictures of the places she goes to (check out her Instagram at @tsimshianwomanauthor). I can see where her world-building inspiration comes from.
Genre: Action-Adventure Fantasy, Adult | Publisher: Self-published
Vi’gosh is the last Sasharian to wander the earth. His home was a village kept hidden away for a long time, his people’s magic growing too weak to defend themselves against the humans. But then the humans come, trying to eradicate them all, and Vi’gosh barely escapes with his life. Now he wanders the lands seeking vengeance for the death of his clan, longing for the death of the Commander responsible for it all, and of the man who killed his mother.
“Once we grow rich with wisdom. It is then when we realize it is also we who put expectations and limits on ourselves. We cannot wait for time to give us what we want or need. It’s up to us and only us… to create our own time.”
So, the story follows two timelines, the now and 5 years earlier. In the now, Vi’gosh is wandering the desert and the cities, close to gaining on his enemies, and in the past, we follow the Commander and the army, who are preparing to attack the Shasharian village. It’s a nice addition to see how the Sasharians used to live, and also how they came to an end. The perspective from the villain gives it a unique viewpoint, though you sympathize in no way with Commander Dohrian. He’s totally evil. The whole 5-year thread does take you out of the main story, so perhaps it would’ve worked a bit better if it was weaved more throughout, or tell the story chronologically. I don’t quite get the reason for the two time-threads, as it didn’t lead to any revelations to heighten the stakes for the present timeline.
Then there’s also a bit of four separate stories going on within the 5-years ago thread: there is Vi’Gosh, the army with Commander Dohrian, Saeria and a small group of Shasharians, and a small thread for Tahri. Still, it’s not too complex to follow the threads, as it’s more of multiple things happening at once kind of thing. I did wonder about the point of the Saeria and the Tahri thread. I suppose Saeria would appear again in a sequel, but it would’ve been nice to know what happened and get some resolution for that. For Tahri I kinda get what her role in the story is, but it seems quite minor compared to the time she got on the page. But perhaps that would also increase in the sequel.
Vi’Gosh reminded me of Allanon, the Druid from the Shannara series. Vi’Gosh is described as a tall, and dark stranger, who oozes danger and strength, even though his heart is in the right place. As a Shasharian, he has better senses than humans, can jump further, and he has the magic from his ancestors for his revenge. He’s bitter from the death of his people and quick to anger. He doesn’t shy away from violence or death of those he thinks deserve to die. He changes somewhat over the course of the book, but not much.
“I read. I educate myself on history. It’s kind of important, not to mention, information is knowledge, and knowledge equals power.”
Commander Dohrian is the kind of ‘born evil’ villain. Sure, there are some things in his childhood that weren’t great, but he was already on the path, I believe. He does horrible things to women, and also men. A bit like Ramsey, from A song of fire and ice. Just a real nasty bastard.
Saeria was an interesting character, and I love her side-kick squirrel Shadow. She really keeps her head quite cool amidst all the chaos, which I didn’t always think was realistic, considering she was just a child. I do hope she reappears in the sequel. There’s also Tahri and Tohrti, but again, I’m not entirely sure what their story-line truly added to the whole. It could’ve probably been less extensive.
The world had a lot of detail to it, especially when it came to the Shasharians. We learn about their village in the Volstonian mountains, about the importance of their tree of souls, about their customs, and about their magic. It’s all very detailed and well though-out. The rest of the world has a bit less detail, though still more than enough to imagine it. There were small cities, the desert landscape, the enemy camp, and the mountains. Not to mention the beasts that Sheri Brown created in vivid and frightening detail. It’s definitely one of the highlights of the book.
But then the writing… the prose was good, and there were some very lovely sentences throughout the book, but there were just too many mistakes. I’m not that focused on details, nor do I care much about some typos in the text, but they were just too present here. Too often did I see ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’, or even a ‘through’ instead of ‘threw’. It really took me out of the story at times, unfortunately. There was also a scene where I’m pretty sure some names were switched because it didn’t make sense. It was quite confusing.
“Time is my teacher. Eventually time teaches us all, at least that’s what I’ve come to believe.”
Other than that, I also wasn’t a fan of the ‘info dump’ chapter, where a whole chapter was dedicated to explaining the Sasharian way of life. Don’t get me wrong, these were interesting details, but it took me out of the story completely, and nothing interesting happened in the scene itself either. I would’ve liked it better if these details were sprinkled out over the chapters that feature the Shasharians.
There was also a bit too much mind hopping going on for my taste. I like a bit more centered viewpoint or just a view of them. Now, there were many chapters introducing new characters, such as other Shasharians, or soldiers from the camp, which to me was often confusing. It also didn’t give me much chance to attack to attach to Vi’gosh or Saeria. I was also a bit disappointed with the ending; it felt somewhat anti-climactic.
So, Vi’gosh is a decent and entertaining story, with some good action scenes and great world-building. Unfortunately, for me, the writing let down due to too many grammatical errors. It would be good if the author would have a copyeditor or proofreader look over it because it is a shame that this brings the story down. In any case, if you love the Shannara books, I reckon you would enjoy this book a lot too.
Have you read this book? Or do you want to read it? Let me know in the comments!