The Legacy of Ogma

Reviewer: Carissa Skye

Author: E. A. Rappaport

Published:

Reviewed: 2016-12-27

Publisher: Owl King Publishing, LLC


The Legacy of Ogma and its related books - collectively referred to as ‘Legends
of the Four Races’ - take place in a fairly standard high fantasy setting, with
a few twists to keep things interesting. The titular ‘Four Races’ appear to be
the humans, Arboreals (a sort of elf/ent combination), Teruns (a standard
dwarfish race), and Ferfolk (nature currently unclear). Other creatures, like
giants and dragons, also make their appearances. While many of the racial tropes
will be familiar to fantasy readers, and especially to tabletop RPG gamers, they
are unique enough to make the book a Tolkien descendant rather than a Tolkien
clone.

Rappaport’s style of writing is largely unremarkable in the best way - the words
are a vehicle for the story, and they do not distract from it. No purple prose
or long and drawn-out metaphors for Rappaport; I found the straightforwardness
refreshing. My only complaint would be the occasional attempt to use
‘old-fashioned’ language; it’s as if, once in a while, Rappaport decides that
they need to remind the reader that this is a medieval sort of setting, and a
‘Get to!’ or ‘Yonder!’ suddenly appears. Surrounded as they are by more modern
language, these interjections bring to mind a Monty Python movie more than
anything else.

The characters may be the strongest selling point for this novel. On first
meeting they often seem caricatural - the greedy thief, the noble warrior, the
aged wizard with his bumbling apprentices, and so forth - but they reveal both
an engrossing complexity and a surprisingly important consistency. Their flaws
aren’t tacked onto their character, nor do they have roots in a Tragic Past;
instead they are part and parcel of the character’s archetype. A strength in one
part of life is a weakness in another. This keeps both the characters and the
book interesting when it might otherwise have devolved into a novelization of a
D&D campaign, and I’m looking forward to meeting more of Rappaport’s characters
throughout the rest of the series.

The plot, unfortunately, can’t be said to be quite as strong as the
characterization; it’s a fairly standard quest to unite the mysterious magical
items and unlock the long-hidden treasure. Nevertheless, the various methods by
which the characters go about their quests, and the unexpected results, are in
keeping with the overarching theme of this review; familiar tropes used in
unfamiliar ways keep the novel fresh and exciting.

Finally, a little information about the series; the Legacy of Ogma is part of a
somewhat confusing organization which the author refers to as an ‘Interlocking
Matrix.’ The plan calls for nine books; at the time of this writing eight have
been published. In their publishing order, the books form three complete
trilogies; mixing up the orders a bit, they form three different trilogies. The
information on the publisher’s website (https://www.owlking.com) seems to
suggest that the first order will follow connected events over long periods of
time, while the second order will follow small sets of characters through the
events which occur in their lifetime. I could be wrong, but regardless I
certainly look forward to reading the other books in the series to find out
more!

All told, this was a very solid book which I would certainly recommend to lovers
of high fantasy. Like any book that has bypassed mainstream publishing houses,
it has some flaws which could have been fixed by a more rigorous editing
process, but the core writing and story are as good as or better than many of
the bigger-name books I’ve read. I greatly enjoyed reading the Legacy of Ogma,
and I look forward to getting my hands on its sequels!