Blood of Ambrose

It’s been a while since my last post, and when it takes me this long to read a book there are usually a couple of possible reasons.  The first reason is if I’m reading a really long book, which this book wasn’t.  The second reason is if I get distracted by something else that takes up a lot of my time for a while (Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for PS3, I’m really getting into it).  The last reason is if I’m just not enjoying the book.  This book took a long time for reasons two and three.  Anyway, on with the review.

Book Stats

390 pages


Stand alone


There are three main characters in this book, Lathmar, who is the king of Ontil, is a young man who has been somewhat trained to be a king, but has almost no confidence in anything he does.  The other two main characters are Morlock Ambrosius and Ambrosia Viviana, who are the children of Merlin.  Morlock is described in the book summary on the back of the book as a “stateless person, master of all magical makers, deadly swordsman, and hopeless drunk.”  Unfortunately, the last part (being a hopeless drunk) which could have really separated him from from any other character in fantasy, really didn’t matter in the book.  There were about two scenes where it came up in the book, and they really didn’t matter much overall.  Similarly, Ambrosia also came across as a stock character to me.  At different points in the book she seemed to be trying to both force Lathmar to become a king and keep him from asserting any leadership at the same time.  None of the characters in this book were really distinctive to me.


Ontil is a fairly standard pseudo medieval fantasy world.  There is a fair amount of magic used in the book, and it’s decently explained, but nothing groundbreaking.


The plot in this book didn’t really work for me.  The overall story dealt with Lathmar becoming a king and trying to grow as a person, but it was told in an episodic nature that didn’t work well.  The book is split into 5 segments, which each deal with a separate episode.  Each individual episode is separated by several months.  My main problem came from the fact that even as Lathmar spent months at a time he didn’t really grow until the end of the book.  His growth arc which could have been very effective if it was spread out across the entire book was crammed into the last several chapters, and it didn’t work very well at all.


I couldn’t get into this book.  The dialogue was horribly cliched for most of the book and irritated me throughout the entire book.  The book at different times focused on Lathmar, Morlock, and Ambrosia, and it tried to make all of them the central character of the book at different times.  I’ve read several books where there were several main characters and all of them received good arcs, in this book it came across as a jumbled mess.  The characters were all flat, and I really didn’t care about any of them.  On a note that is just a pet peeve of mine, James Enge also used a lot of parenthesis (like this) and footnotes (which  I don’t want to try and add to wordpress) to fill in more information about the world.  In non-fiction footnotes are just fine, in a humor book they can work well if they aren’t overdone, but in what is supposed to be a serious book they just break up the overall flow of the novel.  I really didn’t enjoy them in the novel.

Overall Grade

I couldn’t get into this book, and I can’t recommend it very highly.


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  1. hannahrose42

     /  November 22, 2011

    First note: I am also playing Oblivion. It is excellent and I am enjoying it quite a lot.
    Second note: I love parentheses, I use them waaaaay too much. But footnotes? In a fantasy book, really? The only way I would buy that is in a book by someone like Tolkien where they have created such a ridiculously complex and well-thought world that footnotes could actually be interesting and helpful.

  2. Ouch a 3/10. I think I will pass on this one. Thanks!

    • I was really upset with this because the pitch I heard for the book sounded really interesting, but it just didn’t work out for me.

  3. I hate when that happens. It usually happens more with movies for me. Everyone will rave about a movie and then I’ll go see it and after I wonder what the big deal was.

  4. Just the title of the book sounds cool!


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