REVIEW : Capricious Deities -The Medford Family Chronicles Book #2- John Paul Ried

Capricious Deities Book Cover Capricious Deities
The Medford Family Chronicles Book #2
John Paul Ried
Historical Fantasy, Fantasy Adventure, sword and Sorcery
AZ Publishing Services LLC
Jan 14, 2016

The Imperial Palamaran Grand Army is set to march south to crush the Crusader Army for the Liberation of Palamar led by Arch Cleric Simon Samelek and Prince Philip Canalon. Both armies will soon converge for a climactic battle to decide the fate of the Palamaran Empire.

Emperor Thomas IV, suspecting the romance between his daughter, Lady Christina Medford and Colonel Nick Armand, decides to ensure his dynasty. General Paul Tenisal is confronted with an intimate and life changing moral dilemma and has to choose between family loyalty and treason against his country, best friend and Emperor.

Professor Oliver Wendell Enalan, still overwhelmed by grief and lost love, is confronted with the realities of true power and responsibilities while his psionic abilities place him in situations he never dreamt possible.

Adding to all of this chaos and mayhem, three major deities from the Palamaran Pantheon, Horse Goddess Epona Twilight, Fire God Mercatio Zemelon and Love Goddess Celeste Clearwater, all cannot resist meddling in mortal affairs. Each deity has their own agenda and their actions raise the stakes considerably. When capricious deities interfere with mortal conflicts, you KNOW that more people will die until someone intervenes with fate making sacrifices and commitments.

Review By Sherry Perkins

Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

“Relying on Gladiators is a chancy business.” — Capricious Deities

Capricious Deities is the second book in the four-book Medford Family Chronicles serial. The series is John Paul Ried’s homage to the Dungeons & Dragon game playing, fictionalized realms. If you’re not into this sort of open-ended, gamer campaigning life, with its myriad moving parts and storylines, the story could be a bit overwhelming. Or anachronistic.

But there is something entertaining in the endless intrigue and the cartoonish caricatures of the Palamar Empire and its peoples. Between the ridiculous character names and the over-the-top book covers, I was often stunned—laughing, offended, and interested all at once. That said, Ried refers to the historic practices of kingdoms long ago including childhood marriage and the quite stereotypical characterizations of women in a world where they were often marginalized. However, within the context of the genre it could be considered no different than the bodice ripping behavior of many a paranormal romance story. Just be aware you will encounter it and deal with it or not.

So, in Capricious Deities, we’re back to what’s going on in the Palamaran Kingdom since the death of the emperor. Basically, no one is up to any good except for our beleaguered main characters from Reckless Ambition, Book 1, Nick and Christina, and their friends. The Civil War rages on. Toss in the local pantheon that is firmly entrenched in the characters’ destinies, much as you would expect from any capricious, omnipresent, and meddlesome gods. Then there are the gladiators… All of this makes for a formidable adventure.

The issue I have with Book 2 is the same as in Book 1. Although I can understand why he did it, Ried relies on a lot of italicization, capitalization, and introductory quotations for the chapters. While I appreciated the quotations (and map and glossary), I did not appreciate the other storytelling devices. For me, that was truly distracting. Nonetheless, the book cover artwork was wonderful. At a glance, it lets you know what chaotic drama Ried is getting us into. But perhaps more than anything, Capricious Deities has the feel of many a second book in its series – it’s a bridge book and a little less engaging than the debut novel but necessary exposition.

A three-star review of a role-player’s realm filled with the familiar quests, campaigns, and outcomes of high fantasy.

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