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Book Review: The Sorcerer's Ring Series
The Sorcerer's Ring Series is a seventeen book series written by Morgan Rice. She also wrote the Vampire Journals and the Survival Trilogy, among others.
Book #1 - A Quest of Heroes
Plot: Thorgrin, a young boy of fourteen, sets out to make his mark in the land called the Ring. The Ring is a land within the Empire that is protected by a powerful magic shield. Outside the shield, the Empire rules with an iron fist. Inside, the Ring is divided into two realms - one noble and honorable; the other not-so-much.
Thorgrin, on the advice of the powerful magician Argon, leaves home and aims to join the Legion at King's Court. The Legion are skilled warriors that protect his side of the Ring. On his way, he discovers powers he never knew he had and meets all manner of characters that he will adventure with.
His side of the Ring is ruled by the MacGil clan. They have much of the internal power struggles you would expect of medieval times, including power-hungry siblings.
The series begins by taking you on a wild ride as you follow Thor's adventures. The battle scenes are fairly predictable - everyone always gets stabbed in the arm only and none of the main characters tend to die off very often.
If you liked Eragon, The Lord of the Rings, or Game of Thrones, you should enjoy this series. The writing in all three of those is much more complex however, but if you accept that going in, you can certainly get into it much easier.
Some pros of this series are the main character, Thor. He has a very interesting storyline. Another pro is that Morgan Rice cranks out a book about every two months. No waiting three to five years like you would have to with Paolini or Martin.
Book #2 - A March of Kings
An assassination and power struggles for the throne. Thor falls in love and must also learn how to be a great warrior, along with his brothers in arms - Reese, O'Connor, Convel, Conven, and Elden.
With the MacGil side of the Ring in turmoil, the McCloud's sense an opportunity to take power for themselves.
Apparently, after many reader complaints, the book is now professionally edited and fixed in terms of grammatical errors when it was originally written.
Book #3 - A Feast/Fate of Dragons
Apparently, the title of the book was changed upon editing, which is fine. It works either way.
In the third installment of the series, Thor is still off training while the McClouds attack deeper into the MacGil side of the Ring. Kendrick, the head of the army and half-brother to Gareth - the oldest full-blood heir to the throne, is imprisoned.
As Gareth's paranoia grows about not being selected to rule and his part in the assassination of his Father, King MacGil, he rules with absolutism. He hatches plots to undermine and eliminate all his siblings to clear the way in his paranoid state, making more enemies as he goes.
Book #4 - A Clash of Honor
In the fourth book, Thor returns to the Ring after The Hundred and finds that the McClouds have invaded further than ever before. It falls to him and his brethren to defend the Ring all while Gareth plots to eliminate him as well.
Godfrey, another sibling is poisoned by Gareth and Gwen races to save him. Thor hopes to marry Gwen, but is preoccupied not only by the McCloud invasion but by the leader of the Empire, Andronicus. Andronicus also hopes to invade the Ring, but the shield provided by the Destiny Sword prevents him from crossing the Canyon.
Thor returns to his small hometown and has an epic confrontation with his Father and discovers who he really is and more about his family.
Book #5 - A Vow of Glory
The fifth book, Gareth goes off the deep end and puts the entire kingdom at risk. Why? He thinks it's only a matter of time until he himself is assassinated, so why not take the whole Ring down with him.
Gwen and many of the nobles decide it is time to go their own way and head off to Silesia, another noble city within the MacGil side of the Ring.
Thor and his merry band of brothers go off in search of the stolen Destiny Sword to try to maintain the shield and prevent Andronicus from being able to invade.
Meanwhile, Erec, the greatest knight in the Ring, has found the woman he wishes to marry, but has to fight to free her.
Book #6 - A Charge of Valor
In a Charge of Valor, Thor and company travel deep into the Empire in search of the Destiny Sword. Argon mentors Thor to develop his sorcerer side and increase his power.
Back in the Ring, Andronicus humiliates Gwen then destroys Silesia. On the other side of the Ring, Erec fights the invading forces with Alistair, his love.
Godfrey goes behind enemy lines and learns how to help without being a fighter.
In the end though, Rice goes all Star Wars on us to reveal that Andronicus is really Thor's father.
Book #7 - A Rite of Swords
Thor makes friends with a dragon, is able to wield the Destiny Sword, and comes back to the Ring and unleashes Hell on Andronicus' army, forcing them to retreat to the McCloud side of the Ring.
Gwen struggles with her older sister and uncle for power while Andronicus lays a trap for Thor. Reese gets into a love triangle and others also find mates.
Book #8 - A Grant of Arms
Book eight takes some twists and turns as Thor struggles until the spell of a dark magician. Gwen takes a small group on a quest to the Netherworld to try and save Argon.
Reese leads Thor's brothers down into the Canyon to recover the Destiny Sword. Meanwhile, Andronicus' second in command, Romulus, plots to take power for himself.
Oh, and Alistair, Erec's love, has a major secret that gets revealed.
Book #9 - A Sky of Spells
In A Sky of Spells, Thor confronts Dad. More dragons. Gwen confronts everyone who ever wronged her, and it's a long, long list. Reese has relationships issues to deal with.
Erec and Alistair must go the the Southern Isles, where Erec's father is King and has taken ill.
In the end, Thor is off to find his Mother and learn more about himself and the powers he possesses.
Book #10 - A Sea of Shields
In the tenth book, Thor is off on his quest to find his Mother. Gwen struggles with the loss of her Mother and with Thor's departure. Thor and Gwen's son Guwayne is born.
Reese, Selese, and Stara (Reese's cousin) continue their complicated issues. Stara's brothers get involved and it ends in tragedy which sets the Ring on the brink of civil war.
Romulus discovers a power that could destroy the Ring once and for all.
Erec and Alistair spend time in the Southern Isles, meeting family and planning their wedding.
Book #11 - A Reign of Steel
Thor, Gwen, Reese, and Erec all fight separate battles in different parts of the realm. All four characters are featured quite prominently in the book and each has a pretty interesting situation before them.
Book #12 - A Land of Fire
Having fled the Ring, Gwen joins Reese on the Upper Isles, hoping to take shelter from Romulus. Civil war is over now and there aren't very many people left from the Ring for Gwen to rule.
Thor hangs out with Mom a bit and she gives him some family history. Thor's got an uncle, who knew?
Erec and Alistair encounter difficulty on the Southern Isles as Erec is named King and then challenged.
Book #13 - A Rule of Queens
Gwen and what's left of the people of the Ring flee to the Empire to shelter with Sandara's people. Sandara and Kendrick hit it off way back in book six and their love has been growing.
Thor goes on a quest to look for Guwayne who went off sailing.
Sandara's people have a leader of their own who gets featured prominently.
Erec and Alistair overcome the coup attempt.
Book #14 - An Oath of Brothers
Thor and friends journey to dark places and becoming very powerful, while also releasing very powerful darkness upon the world which tricks them into just missing Guwayne.
Darius becomes a leader and a warrior, all while falling in love. As expected, he gets stabbed in the arm along the way.
Gwen's people and Darius' people win a a battle.
Erec and Alistair sense danger for Gwen and her people and sail for the Empire to assist.
Book #15 - A Dream of Mortals
Thor and his Party are captured at sea by pirates. Darius and his army are crushed and become gladiators. Gwendolyn and her party make it to the Second Ring and discover a whole new people once related to themselves. Eric and Alistair struggle with the Empire at sea. Godfrey and his band of misfits continue their struggle in the city of Volusia. While the Goddess Volusia has the Empire capital and fights to keep it. Many different story lines in this one.
Book #16 - A Joust of Knights
In this book, Thor finally realizes he has been duped and realizes Guwayne is back on the Isle of Light. Once they get there, they discover that he has been taken by a greater power. Gwendolyn delves deeper into the politics of the Second Ring while Kendrick rides to cover the tracks of their trek through the Great Waste. Erec and Alistair keep working their way towards Volusia and Darius fights his way to the capitol and meets his father.
Morgan Rice announces that Book 17 will be the finale and that it will be epically longer than the rest.
Book #17 - A Gift of Battle (The Finale)
In the final episode of the series, Thor finds and rescues his child. Gwendolyn leads another evacuation across the Great Waste for the people of the Ridge on a return trip home to the Ring. Many of the disjointed character paths reunite. Eric and Alistair meet up with Godfrey and his party. Then they all meet up with Gwendolyn.
Thor goes on a new quest to get yet another piece of big magic in order to beat the Blood Lord, who ends up being a reincarnation of his Father. Must have been when he was in the Land of the Dead and when the evil spirits were released. One must have been his long dead Father, Andronicus. This new piece of magic also has the power to restore the Shield to the Ring. So they will be able to rebuild and protect their homeland again.
In the end, everyone lives happily ever after, and Rice leaves it open for a whole new series based off of Guwayne called the Sorcerer's Son. She alludes to his destiny in a few of the last books, so she left that string alive.
A Breakdown of the Characters
Thorgrin (Thor) - The son of a farmer (or so he thinks) from a small village within the Ring.
Argon - The mysterious sorcerer that encourages Thor to go off and join the Legion.
King MacGil - Ruler of one side of the Ring. Honorable and Kind.
Queen MacGil - Not a fan of Thorgrin.
Reece - The youngest son of King MacGil.
Gwendolyn - The youngest daughter of King MacGil.
Kendrick - The oldest son of King MacGil, but a bastard.
Godfrey - The drunkard third son of King MacGil.
King Mcloud - Ruler of the other half of the Ring. Devious and Treacherous.
Gareth - The oldest son of King MacGil.
Erec - The greatest fighter on the MacGil side of the Ring. Member of the Silver, one step up from the Legion.
Khron - A white jaguar-type animal that befriends Thor.
Conven, Conval, Elden and O'Connor - Legion recruits.
Kolk - Lead instructor of the Legion.
Brom - Member of the Silver.
Estopheles - Thor's falcon.
Firth - Gareth's lacky.
Luanda - Oldest daughter of King MacGil.
Steffen - Protector of Gwendolyn.
Brandt and Atme - Members of the Silver.
Alistair - A Servant girl with a Huge secret.
Andronicus - Leader of the Empire.
Romulus - Second in command of the Empire.
Alton - Cousin to the MacGil siblings.
Akorth and Fulton - Godfrey's drunken friends.
Illepra - A healer from a small village.
Bronson - Son of King McCloud.
Selese - Reece's love interest.
Mycoples - Thor's dragon.
Indra - A female warrior and Elden's love interest.
Sandara - A slave from the Empire and Godrey's love interest.
Srog - A warrior.
Stara - Reece's cousin.
Drake, Dross, and Durs - Thor's brothers from the farm.
Ralibar - Gwen's dragon.
Tirus - Gwen's Uncle.
Falus - One of Tirus' sons.
Bowyer - Leader of clans on the Southern Isles.
Strom - Erec's Brother.
Matus - Youngest of Tirus' sons.
Darius - Leader of the rebellion
Volusia - Goddess of the city of Volusia
Loti - Darius' love interest.
Guwayne - Thor's son.
Merek - A thief.
Ario - An Empire citizen who assists Thor.