Book: The Gauntlet Thrown (Book 1 of the Gauntlet Trilogy)
Authors: Cheryl Dyson and Xina Marie Uhl
Publisher: XC Publishing
I found this free, and apparently it still is available free as a way to promote the series, a practice that I’m not sure is that great an idea. That being said, I found this an enjoyable read in a pretty straightforward sword and sorcery milieu. The book also had quite a few humorous moments, and in general this is a light-hearted book suitable for young adults and up.
The book starts with a classic Enemy Mine scenario: Brydon captures Toryn as the man tries to ambush and kill him. As Brydon is on an important quest to earn the hand of his land’s princess, he decides to take his enemy with him. Thus starts a grand adventure.
I had a few nitpicks with the story–it seems like every female that Brydon and Toryn meet are attracted to them, which I found rather unrealistic and a little silly after a while. However the plot itself is engaging, and the world is very well done, with different alliances and politics for each country. This is one of those “simple quest becomes very complicated very quickly” stories, and each new twist kept me interested. By the end I was a little concerned about the size of the cast. I think the next book’s danger will be falling into Robert Jordon’s trap of a cast that is too large and complicated. It would also be nice to see some relationships solidify beyond the Brydon/Toryn bromance.
All in all I thought this was a decent read, well worth a look. I think the writers should charge something more than free for it, but that’s just me. Free works when it’s an incentive to read something to get into a series, but I think far too many people don’t even read the free novels they download, whereas if they paid for it, they’re more likely to take the time to read it.