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Welcome to my blog! This is my journey, my first steps into the world of fictional writing. This blog is an online journal of sorts, where I share the progress of my work as well as what I have learned along the way. I hope you enjoy your time with me and that my experience may be of some use to you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

By the Book: Kaz the Minotaur

Welcome to this months book review!
Continuing to raid my old book stash, i came across this novel I had read back in highschool. In this installment of By the Book, I will be reviewing “Kaz the Minotaur”, written by Bestselling Fantasy Author, Richard A. Knaak.
Like many of the other books in my collection, this novel was purchased when it came out in the early 90’s. Back then, the large majority of the books I purchased were Fantasy Fiction. Stories of Knights, Wizards and Dragons was the norm for me. So when I came across “Kaz the Minotaur”, I was intrigued. In my mind, Minotaur’s were more commonly seen as villains (I blame this on growing up watching old “Sinbad the Sailor” movies), so seeing one playing the role of a hero was a new concept for me. The approach worked well, as the character had a strong barbarian/warrior feel to him.
Obviously enough, this book follows the story of a Minotaur named Kaz and his faithful companion, a kendre named Delbin. The story takes place after the battle between the Dark Queen and Huma Dragonbane. This battle does not happen in this book, but is heavily referred to throughout, as the events that transpired in that book affect the storyline in this novel. We find Kaz wandering the land of Ansalon, on the run from a group of Minotaurs tasked to arrest him for murder. The protagonist is accused of killing his former superior officer, which, though it may be true, the conditions under which the event happened were falsified. Furthermore, for reasons at first unknown, the warrior is proclaimed as a traitor by former comrade, the leader of the Knights of Solamnia, Lord Oswald. The story follows Kaz's adventure as he tries to uncover why are the honorable Knights of Solamnia acting so strangely, the mystery behind Vingaard Keep, the appearance of a stone dragon, all while trying to avoid capture.



Book Cover
Audio Book Cover
Back of the Book:
 
"But, the beast-man, scorned and hunted, knows,
Without honor there is nothing, not even death.
So, driven by the only ghosts that matter, Huma and himself, Kaz alone faces the scourge.
After the death of the legendary knight Huma, Kaz, a renegade minotaur, wanders the land of Ansalon, hunted by his own kin for escaping the servitude of the Dark Queen and by the Knights of Solamnia, his former comrades, who have declared him an outlaw."
What I learned from this Book:
  • Linking Story Elements: The author did a good job of giving a life to the setting by having it reflect off the characters. Knaak accomplished this by having his characters often refer to their beliefs, past events or lineage in a way which nicely links both together, giving both a richness and depth.
  • Playing opposites: I loved how the author used contrasting characters in this story. This is especially apparent between the big, hard headed, warrior Kaz and the little, mischievous explorer Delbin. Their different personalities played well off of each other.
  • New way of revealing information: Something that popped out at me was one passage where Ky finding a clue, not be revealing information, but by having the protagonist making an assumption. This may not seem big, but the play of words was effective in giving the reader information on events that transpired outside the readers scope of vision, as well as give an important piece of character development: that Kaz, though he was a brutish minotaur, was a smart enough guy to piece together information.
  • Different form of madness: In my past book reviews, I had discussed how the author had described madness among their characters. In Kaz the Minotaur, we see a different way the characters perceive insanity. I found it interesting to compare both, and see how they were differently interpreted.
Richard A. Knaak is a New York Times bestselling author, having written nearly four dozen novels. Among his works, Knaak has written novels for Dragonlance, Dragonrealm and Blizzard Entertainment (which were based off Diablo series, and ten works in the Warcraft universe). His novels and short stories have been published worldwide, if you wish to learn more, you can visit the following websites:
For those interested, here is the cover art of the original publication of the book, without the writing. It was created by the artist Jeff Easly.
I'm glad for having had the opportunity to read this book again, since I had completely forgotten about it from when I read it back in the 90's. Will be looking forward to reading more of Mr Knaak's work in the future.
 
Until next time!
 
Cheers,
 
Patrick Osborne