The Forbidden List Trilogy
G.R. Matthews has taken two of the best things ever created: fantasy novels & Kung Fu movies, thrown them together into a blender and left us with something wonderful.
Marc Aplin (Fantasy-Faction.com)
"This is very unique and incredibly brave."
4/5 Stars, Most Unique World
Reviews of 'The Stone Road'
Set in a world with a very Far East feel, The Stone Road is an interesting personal journey, as well as a rather surprising political one. War is coming, and no one seems to know what they need to know to prepare for it. Matthews does a great job really delving into the psychology of his characters. He keeps the cast small enough for them to be memorable and intimate, yet large enough to allow readers to really explore this world he’s created, as well as the intricacies of it. There are a lot of surprising twists and turns, and is left open enough for Matthews to really get down and dirty with the world and characters in the next book.
... what I enjoyed the most. It’s not a western setting. There aren’t kings and queens and lots of floofy dresses. This is very unique, and incredibly brave. There’s a lot of exploration that Matthews can do.
Award: Most Unique World
In this cleverly crafted book you'll come across moments both funny and heart wrenching but beware nothing is what it seems either. There's no obvious good guy/bad guy and you'll find yourself sympathising with all the characters through their good and bad actions.
This is fantasy in a very different setting - as traditional sword and sorcery meets the House of Flying Daggers. Eschewing the dominant medieval European backdrop to so much fantasy fiction, GR Matthews takes us further East to a world where two men are transformed by their experience of peace and war, life and death, love and loneliness.
The characters become richer, fuller people and as with real people, they learn from some mistakes and not from others. By the end of the book, Huang, Zhou et al are different people and yet very recognisably the same characters we were introduced to... the pieces of the puzzle had all been there all along. That's a craftsman's touch that.
I would recommend this book to everyone that enjoys SF. It is not off the path but a new look at the path to be taken in its story telling and plot. There is a lot to be explored and some unanswered questions that hopefully will be forthcoming in the future installments by Mr. Matthews.
The Stone Road is pacey and an infectious page turner. The story develops effortlessly and you find yourself carried along with the characters. The characterisation and the layered relationships of the characters is the strength of the novel for me. Woven around a story of cultural conflict, set against an oriental back drop, emotions and relationships are very cleverly explored; sometimes explicitly, but most impressively, with great subtext and subtlety that evolves throughout and allows space to imagine, consider and engage. Love, hate, friendship, suspicion, tension, parenthood, and much more, are dealt with by an author with great sensitivity and a talent for a precisely aimed turn of phrase.