The Broken Well Trilogy by Sam Bowring

August 30, 2011 Reviews 1 ★★★★½

Sam Bowring is a writer and comedian living in Sydney, Australia. He published his first book, Sir Joshua and the Unprofessional Dragon, at 19, and since then he has written several other books and stage plays. He has also written for television shows such as Rove (Ten Network) and The Mansion (The Comedy Channel). The Broken Well Trilogy is his first foray into writing adult fantasy.

An uneasy stalemate has existed between the lands of Kainordas and Fenvarrow, the lands of light and shadow respectively, for a thousand years. A prophesy foretells the coming of a blue-haired man who will finally break the balance. Many years later, deep inside a forest, a blue haired child is born. Emissaries from each land race to find the child, and the resulting battle between powerful mages has an unexpected result: the boy’s soul is torn apart, creating two children. Each side claims one child – uncertain whether they now possess the child of prophesy who will lead them to victory. 

The first book in the series, Prophesy’s Ruin, tells the story of the two boys as they grow into manhood. Bel, the child taken by the people of light, grows into a great warrior, and Losara, the child taken by shadow, becomes a powerful mage. But both are incomplete, struggling to discover their place in a divided world. The story is continued in Destiny’s Rift, as each man discovers more about his character, and wonders what he has lost to his counterpart. Both fall in love, and wonder what impact the reunification of their soul will have on their lovers. The final novel, Soul’s Reckoning, depicts a stunning culmination to a millennium of war between the two lands at the hands of the prophesied champion.

The fantastical world of the trilogy is rich in detail and the characters are very well written. The story of Bel and Lorasa is told seamlessly by the author – the reader never experiences disorientation as they realise they have forgotten what a character was doing when they last read about them. The choice between light and dark is also a difficult one: Bel frequently lapses into an uncontrollable blood lust, lacks compassion and is very self-centred. On the other hand, Losara is always aware of the consequences of his actions to others, but seems to lack passion for his cause. The good and evil characteristics in the human soul are thus examined.

As the trilogy began with a splitting of souls you might think that it will follow a predictable story line. Bowring keeps the reader guessing right until the very end, and one of the best written scenes in the series is the final clash between Bel and Losara for dominance of their reunited soul. This is a great series which questions the nature of good and evil and how they are determined, and examines the interplay between the ego and id. I think it is a fresh look on some over-used themes in Fantasy and would be a great read for lovers of the genre. Story-telling of this calibre is rarely seen and is especially exciting in a young, developing author. 

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