When you are told that the book given to you, is an "old school" fantasy, you pretty much know what to expect. It's one thing for a writer to be able to pull off a tale that focuses on action and character development nowadays, it's another to have four - not one, but four - of said characters keeping you on your toes through more than a hundred pages!
The Forging is the story of Brehana Songsteel, Olan Stronghelm, Kod Hawklight and Smunt the half-orc, who meet under strange - yet oddly fated - circumstances, and begin a journey based on Olan's map. A journey that is sure to become an adventure the likes of which they've never had before...
Tim Rose's first book of the Four Companion series is strongly influenced by Tolkien and Salvatore, and, while it was not mentioned, I did notice a few Elaine Cunningham points here and there (particularly from her Elfsong and Silver Shadows books). I enjoy all of those writers, so the writing style did not faze me in the least - on the contrary, I loved it! The pace was similar to an RPG game, and there were more than enough details to show that the writer did some serious research before he wrote it all down.
What is a good and very stong point of this book was the introduction. It escalated in layers, showing us a little bit of every character just a little while before they all met, and it served as a perfect "hook" to get any reader interested. The characters are all unique, and I don't mean just their race, they all thought and even acted in different ways, while still maintaining their unity as a group. I personally found Smunt to be my favorite of them all - always a sucker for the sarcastic, blunt ones, I'm afraid. There is a little something for everyone in there. Readers will find at least one of the main adventurers to their liking, and that guarantees flipping through the pages as fast as you can to see what happens next. 200+ pages full of adventure, action, humor and fantasy, are sure to bring even the most hardcore readers of the genre on their knees, begging to have a taste!
The only problem in all this, was the fact that it might be hard for those who are not familiar with this writing style and genre to fully enjoy the story. Still, I encourage you to try, as it will leave you with a very sweet aftertaste once you've reached the end of this particular adventure - side by side with the adventurers themselves, what more could you ask for?
***I was given a review copy from a LibraryThing Member Giveaway in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***