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Book Review: Forging of a Knight, Prison Planet of the Mah-Lahkt

Forging of a Knight, Prison Planet of the Mah-Lahkt by Hugo V. Negron, Forging of a Knight #3

They have been hinted at – heroes of glorious legend, villains of infamous fable – some have made their presence known, while others only by name: Aurelus, Amali, Termenon, Qualtan, Jesepha, Darksiege, and Shaz.

Now, heroes of the past and present will unite against Those That Stand in Shadow. From the steaming jungles of the Third Continent to a Prison Planet forged by angels, the Arch-Mages and their champions will find themselves in a race against time to prevent Shaz and his agents from finding the Dark Ones’ demonic fathers and releasing them from bondage. Enemies will become allies, and allies will become foes in the ultimate confrontation with evil that will span two continents, new lands, and new terrors!

I don't know where the time has gone but it feels like only yesterday when I picked up my first Forging of a Knight book but actually it has already been two years since. In amongst the many indie authors that I read Hugo Negron entry was definitely one of the best that I had come across in a long time. A solid return to classic Epic Sword and Sorcery Fantasy and above all producing a highly enjoyable read for both older and younger readers. Last year Hugo Negron published his second book in the series, Rise of the Slavekeepers, which completely turned the tables and readily showed that Hugo Negron is an author with a lot of creativity and that dares to show it! Those extra dimensions were very cool to read and what first seemed as a rather bold move, paid off fully in the end. but now we have reached the conclusion of the first Forging of a Knight story arc, in personal communication Hugo Negron said that it's an ongoing series but each three books is an story arc of its own.  

 Let me just say upfront that you wont be disappointed. In the first book we got introduced to our knight in the making Qualtan and and orcne Glaive, they had some adventures and here also a dark and nefarious organization that had plans to take over the world came to light, Those That Stand in Shadow. In the second book our hero Qualtan was steadily growing up becoming the knight he always had dreamed to be, what Hugo Negron also did very nicely was to broadened world of the Forging of a Knight series, introducing, yes quite boldly extra dimensions, though this is a bit science fiction, it did work wonders in the Epic Fantasy backdrop. Now for the conclusion of the first story arc. 
The introduction as always in the Forging of a Knight stories are very remarkable and will get you readily fired up. You are directly offered a cool perspective not that of Qualtan or any guys of the good side but that of the evil side, Shaz and Darksiege and their plans, as I already said this readily got me in the mood of reading as with these kind of questing books Epic Fantasy book I always enjoy to read about what the other side think and plans. ANd you are in for quite a surprise by on of the important characters of Those That Stand in Shadow. After this you are transported to the perspectives of the good guys and see how they are recapturing events of the second book and are looking forward. Right until the interference of said person of Those That Stand in Shadow, now I wont tread into details as to who this is because that would spoil the surprise way to much. Now a race is on to stop Those That Stand in Shadow from freeing their demonic father, to help them take over the world and everything in between. In this quest Qualtan is once again not alone he is aided by the kingdom's most bravest knights, some who we have read about in earlier stories and others that are brand new. In their quest to stop Those That Stand in Shadow, Qualtan and many other a knight has to rediscover things for themselves, learning and growing up even how veteran they might be. This all leading up to an unavoidable and quite cataclysmic ending. But don't think the trek of Qualtan and his friends is solely walking they have to fend of otherworldly threats and other challenges as they go, this is perhaps the most eventful journey that Qualtan will have undertaken, getting out alive will proof to be quite a challenge... Even though you are strong and fast, there is always someone better than you, but the most important thing is never to give in what you believe. (another message that I think Hugo Negron wanted to show via Qualtan's character).

I really liked the story that Hugo Negron showed in Prison Planet of the Mah-Lahkt and especially the build up of the story. It starts of, if you don't take the prologue into consideration, quite harmless but soon picks up with a nice pacing. The story is in the lines of undertaking a journey typically accompanied with Epic Fantasy but it doesn't only focus on departing from town A and getting to destination B. A lot of things happen in between and not only action and fighting scenes but Hugo Negron nicely also addresses other aspects such as enlarging his world once again by delving into untold history of several old and new characters. I liked the parts of the White Knight and how he got to be but also more of the history of Those That Stand in Shadow, their plans and why some would go rogue. You could clearly feel the tension between the Arch Mages and Those That Stand in Shadow. It seems for me that Hugo Negron gets better with each new book. I made some comments about the hard writing style and words that were I think hard to understand for a younger audience, in Prison Planet he nicely changed this and wrote from start to finish a great story. 

From the cover of the book you can already glimpse that the Qualtan shows isn't the Qualtan from the first books, he looks grown up and from the first page that once again read about Qualtan he acts mature, not to say that he acted childish in the first book but he considers his actions and it seems that by all the earlier events he has come to understand that if you want to be a good knight, you have to act virtuous and live and keep to your standards, treat people how you want to be treated. I enjoy reading about Qualtan, it is not that his actions are over exaggerated to be a good knight they are natural and does play into how you want to see a knight to be shown. Fighting for the good side doesn't make Qualtan ignorant for other things that happen besides him, instead he takes in everything from his surrounding and processes it. Quite the transformation but I guess this is the true forging part. Next to Qualtan's character there are plenty of more good guys and bad guys that you follow. Two of the other characters of the good side that stood out for me were Jesepha and the White Knight. The introduction as Jesepha as a determined female knight does break some nice standard rules, you not often see a female knight in Epic Fantasy stories I know that a lot of young female readers will cheer her on. The White Knight is a new addition and even though you only learn about him in this story, Hugo Negron takes enough time to nestle him into the story, I liked the backstory of him and did add something of an emotional current to the story. He is very cool but once you learn what he actually did does make you rethink. 

Now for the bad guys. I have to stress this part once again. From the first book till Prison Planet, the chapters that focus on Those That Stand in Shadow have been a treat to read. In this Epic Fantasy backdrop and two faction fighting against each other the elaboration given over their actions give a better grasp on the story and does fully create a well rounded story. Plus it is just really cool to read about what they can and plan to do, it is not something over the top but Hugo Negron writes their actions in a dooming threat kind of way, Those That Stand in Shadow are dangerous and not to be trifled with... This all combined with the introduction of Prison Planet really topped it all off, Hugo Negron introduces a nice and for me totally unexpected plot twist! very nicely done. 

Prison Planet of the Mah-Lahkt is a terrific ending to the first Forging of a Knight series. Hugo Negron has gotten better at writing with every single book. As I already said from the first book he was on my radar and he kept on it with his second book. Writing a series as a self published author is difficult but his second book didn't falter and with this third book Prison Planet of the Mah-Lahkt Hugo Negron pulled all the stops to create one spectacular ending. I already mentioned a big plot twist and I will keep on saying it, this really transformed the story thusfar and will propose and interesting start for continuation. The characters all over the series never stop developing and this is something that helps to get the story further. It seems that you have never learned everything just yet about the characters and the world. Though the premise of the story of Prison Planet of the Mah-Lahkt might sound like a simple journey, your wrong, it's far from it. Hugo Negron keeps on building his world and characters and keeps on revealing more backstory, there is never a dull moment in this book. Hugo Negron has already written three very strong books, he has already let know that he is a few pages in the fourth book, I am eager to find out the direction of that story. Recommended!


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