Compelling story, artfully delivered

In `The Whispering Walls,’ J. E. Hunt delivers a story packed with intricately winding paths and mysterious twists. It is a story that left this reader rapidly turning to the next page and chapter. This artfully detailed world is peopled with characters that are wonderfully familiar, yet complex and refreshingly flawed. Some of these people achieve great heights, others are unwittingly undone by their own pursuit of valor, and still more earn your affection as they doggedly, sometimes tragically, pursue justice and redemption. Throughout the story there are relationships that run the gamut, interactions that pull you in, break your heart, make you roll your eyes in wonder and even make your skin crawl. No small feat, that.

All of these people move within a city and countryside that are visible on the page. I found myself walking beside the characters, feeling the cold, tasting the breeze, thankful for the dark, gazing hopefully into the distance and fearing what was waiting around the corner.

Upon I reaching the end, I went straight to the author’s notes in search of the expected arrival of the next installment in the series. Then I made plans to read `The Whispering Walls’ a second time, this time to linger over my favorite passages, to appreciate the delivery of a well-told story and to satisfy my desire to learn more about this compelling world. I am hopeful that this is just the first in a long series of stories. I’ll be on the lookout for their arrival. review

Immerse yourself in a good story

…The characters are varied and richly portrayed, some earning my loyalty, some my distaste, and some a tangle of feelings. The story pokes and prods at human nature, especially at conscience and its underpinnings. The ending is a cliffhanger, and has left me fidgeting with impatience for book two.

If you’re in search of a good read (and aren’t we all), get yourself a copy of this book. You will not be disappointed. review

Epic and Personal. True consequence, danger means great fun.

You find out what kind of person you are when you’re faced with the worst of disasters, the same can be said with the people around you. To the reader’s delight, Mr. Hunt has found those points for each of his characters and within the first several chapters has given them something to care so passionately about that when they each are put through the ringer, Hunt lets them ever so naturally dig their own holes. But that’s just the beginning. Hunt isn’t concerned with the quick and easy life lessons here, the contrived fixes that so many fictional characters and their authors find themselves slipping on these days. He understands that for the Princesses and Knights and Guards and Friends to change they have to journey inwardly, the fun is that he’s also sending them on an outward journey as well.

The characters jump at you and claw. You feel their sweat and their burdens. And you hope for the best as they each create their own twists and turns. How will they get out of this mess they’ve each created for themselves? Is there redemption at the end of it all?

As with much gothic fantasy, Hunt’s characters are concerned with love and honor. But not the teenage, fantastical kind, instead it’s the kind that really digs in and relates to the reader. There are true consequences and lives at stake, and each character is so well drawn, even the minor ones allow the reader to feel the peril. This is mature stuff. This is epic and personal. It’s treacherous and great fun. I could go on, but in short I can’t think of a better way to spend a week and looking forward to the 2nd volume. review

A house of mirrors of human motives and self-deception

How well do we know ourselves? How far are we capable of going to hide our deepest thoughts from ourselves? These questions kept running through my mind as I read The Whispering Walls from first-time author J.E. Hunt. The central question in this tautly wound tale of intrigue, betrayal, and swordplay is whether hiding our deeds from others is tantamount to hiding our deeds from ourselves. At first the answer is obviously no: the story’s antihero, Tergiver, is whipsawed by anguish over his guilty deeds. Try as he might, he can no more hide his deeds from himself than Lady Macbeth can hide from the blood she sees on her hands. But life is more complicated than that, and by the end of the story we’re not at all certain Tergiver hasn’t succeeded in separating himself from his deeds. What’s more, we’re not convinced that that’s a bad thing because we’ve been given a window into the morality that lies at his core. Or have we? We have to wonder, because Hunt takes us through a house of mirrors that leaves us uncertain when it comes to knowing what evil lurks in the heart of man.

[Abridged due to spoilers] … A similar question hangs over the actions of Tergiver’s nemesis, Baelin. Is Baelin’s protector real or is it a projection of Baelin himself? Perhaps we’ll find out in the second book of what Hunt says is a four-part series called The Wanderers. Given Hunt’s achievement in mixing complex ideas about human motives and self-deception with flat-out good story telling, I’m anticipating a satisfying deep dive when the next book comes out. review

Surprises at every turn

What I found most refreshing about this book was that it completely defied my expectations, and the usual stereotypes affiliated with medieval Europe-inspired settings, in every chapter. If I have any criticism at all, it’s that I felt a little cheated at not seeing what happened to some of the key (and immensely enjoyable) characters during the intervals when they disappeared from the story and reappeared later. I’m assuming those gaps will be filled in the next or later novels of the series, which is one more reason why I can’t wait to read the second one. Overall this was a very impressive start to what promises to be an epic and intriguing tale. review

Medieval intrigue, violence and romance

This is a medieval story of power, mystery and conscience. It’s the tale of how a poor farmer’s son rises to a powerful position in the King’s Guard as a result of a mysterious series of events–and how he begins to see the world and those close to him in ways he has never seen before. He must grow up very quickly and manage the secrets and guilt within his heart. The writing is superb–consistent in its descriptiveness and has characters who really come alive on the pages. (I couldn’t help but obsess over which celebrities would play parts in the feature film version!) I enjoyed all the characters–even the ones who were not so nice, such as Princess Agatha. ” review