I just finished reading The Fall of Ossard, by Colin Taber. The book itself I saw in a post over at the sffworld forums. It was posted by someone whom I have been on parallel reading paths with in the past, and found his preferences and reviews similar to my own (Gilgamesh, this one's for you).
First, let's get criticisms out of the way. I prefer things that way, because I'd really rather focus on the positive, because...well...it's supposed to be fun. Anyway, there was a serious lack of editing. Words were misused, mispelled, lack of punctuation and even missing spaces between words. As an example, there was dialogue missing parantheses and the words thankyou consistently missing a space in beween throughout the book. Also, an editor could have kept the author far more accountable on the storyline. There was a bit too much repetition of certain items. For instance, a great deal of time saw the main character's constant and, largely, fruitless forays into a city beset with turmoil and violence in an effort to find and rescue her in-laws, husband and daughter.
That out of the way, I am big on the upside of the story and, thus, author. I see great potential for it. The characterization isn't great, but shows glimpses of promise. The main character's POV dominates the story, and is vaguely reminiscient of Parksenarrion (Elizabeth Moon). The magic involved, while not elaborated upon enough for this reader, has multiple disciplines. At it's core, the magic system is understandable and plausible. Like Erikson and Esslemont's Malazan Book of the Fallen, there is a developing cast of characters possessed of metaphysical/divine properties and characteristics. While there is a map included, the story clearly takes place in a single city-state. In referencing the map, it is quite clear that there is a vast world beyond the pages of this initial installment. Taber has left a great deal of room, geographically speaking, to further develop the story, races, culture and histories.
The title page states, "Book One, The Ossard Trilogy." Given the ingredients thus far, I'm not sure I would've limited it to a trilogy. Then again, there is always a great deal of carping about long, seemingly never ending series. Yeah, yeah, some of the people, some of the time.....whatever. With the refinement that a serious editing job could do, this book would have been a great surprise, instead of a good one. I will keep an eye out for future additions to this trilogy and am interested to see what becomes of this series and Colin Taber.