Book Review: The Seven Markets by David Hoffman

The Seven Markets back cover blurb sets up a very basic premise and leaves you to the discover the rest. Within those lines you will find the hint of things to come, the promise of a marvelous adventure and that matches the book perfectly. Mr. Hoffman has created a world that is at once detailed enough that the words dance off the page and through your imagination, yet vague enough that it leaves you with a sense of wonder through nearly the entire experience.

I am extremely hesitant to divulge much more information about the plot of the book than the blurb does itself, as I feel that the discovery of what The Seven Markets is about is one of the greatest wonders of the book. However, I shall extol enough so that the average reader, not intrigued by the description fashioned on the back of the book, will be sure to pick up the novel. We start our story with a female protagonist named Ellie MacReady as she stumbles upon a flier for something that she has only heard of in stories from her Papa, and is considered by most to be legend. Once every hundred years, for three days only, the Market will appear. It is said The Market holds all sorts of wonders to be sampled, from exotic food to equally exotic items and it’s streets are walked by fantastical creatures of all shape and size.

The Market then is the perfect place for adventure and danger to ensue and ensue it does. Like I previously stated I hesitate to describe much more in plot than that, however I shall endeavor to further entice those not interested thus far. If you might like princes, princesses, dragons, brave swordsman, warriors in mechanical suits, stellar pacing and great character development than this book is surely for you. The Seven Markets has so much to do and see and is filled with a sense of wonder I haven’t experienced since I read the Harry Potter novels (not that there is much in common here beyond that sense of wonder.) It seems there is always something new to see around every corner and it’s experienced at such a pace that it’s hard to put down the book when you pick it up. The author does a phenomenal job of having very little to no filler in the book, with every paragraph seeking to further develop characters or leading you through the book at a thrilling pace.

There are times within the novel though you’ll find it feels a bit disjointed due to abrupt jumps in the time frame within the novel. Usually these spaces of time are substantial and we are left with much to discover and learn about what might have happened to our protagonists in the time between. At first I felt a bit put off by these transitions, wonderful characters would appear and disappear within the same chapters made to seemingly not be seen from again. As a wonderful compliment to Mr. Hoffman though I will say that he has a knack for creating instantly likeable characters that simply breathe life through their every word, some of which could carry a novel all their own. You could see my distress when such characters would disappear and be replaced within the chapter by yet another likeable disappearing character.

Fear not though, these jumps while initially confusing, are a fantastic way of making sure that the plot never stales. There is always something new to learn about our characters and a desire to learn where they’ve been drives every page turn. Just when you think that the author has slipped up and discarded random plot points or forgot about characters he draws it all together in the last few chapters, and while he may not answer all our questions, confronts enough of them that you put the book down feeling satisfied yet wanting more. It’s difficult to belabor or complain of this point because it’s kind of like saying that meal was fantastic I just wish that I had more of it.

David Hoffman accomplishes something grand with his first novel that some seasoned writers never do; he’s created a world and a fiction that is instantly intriguing and with depth that practically begs for hundreds of stories to be told within its setting. Though sometimes the book can feel disjointed overall it serves a higher purpose of creating a book that is filled to the brim with so much that you would be hard pressed to find a person who enjoys Sci Fi or Fantasy that can’t find something to like about this novel. Indeed there are times where it feels that perhaps there is too much going on in the book, but it all ends with an explosive last hundred pages that leaves you utterly satiated, but hungry for more; just like that delicious meal we talked about earlier.

Simply put, The Seven Markets is a very well told story and one of the finest books I’ve read this year. When my year’s reading log contains books like Wise Man’s Fear from Patrick Rothfuss and Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson than you know that Seven Markets is something truly special and not to be missed. Buy it, you won’t be disappointed.

Score: 5 out of 5

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review purposes.

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