Moeller, Jonathan: Demonsouled (The Demonsouled) (2011)

Demonsouled
Cover image copyright Nejron

As you can probably see from the section below called reviews I like to check out what other people have to say about an author. Demonsouled sure brought a lot of varied comments and some of what I read made me wonder if the other person and I had even read the same novel. The one I read was the updated and revised edition from 2011. Demonsouled is part of a series and therefore a stand-alone novel.

As the name of my blog indicates, I am fascinated by the darker side of humanity. Part of that translates into an interest in dark (but not horror) litterature. Our struggles to keep within the accepted mores of society are so much more interesting than all of our successes. Which is one (and probably the main) reason I liked Mazael Cravenlock. Like the quote from Schopenhauer at the beginning of Demonsouled says, I firmly believe in the beast that lies within the heart of every man (and woman) just waiting to be let out.

Every time Mazael looks at a person he sees how he could kill that person. For him its just something that happens and that he doesn’t act upon unless he is forced to. In the battles he has fought that ability has certainly come in handy.

Mazael’s older brother is Mitor, Lord of Cravenlock. Mazael is on his way home after an absence of 15 years. He has heard rumours of his brother beeing extremely foolish and he feels the need to find out if Mitor is indeed hiring mercenaries against their over-lord, Richard Mandragon. What do you know? He is.

What we have in Demonsouled is a novel that almost gets the best of Mazael. First of all he wants to get his sister out of her brother’s claws and keep her from Richard Mandragon. Then he feels obliged to figure out where all the disappearing people under the care of Lord Cravenlock have gone to. In addition to that he ends up with the ambassador from the wood-elves on his hands. Mazael’s last wish is for his family to fight Lord Mandragon and he tries to keep his brother from launching an attack. We all know that Mazael is not going to go unchallenged. There is no way Jonathan Moeller is going to make this easy for him. All he does is throw in another challenge in the form of disturbing visions. It makes a person glad she is not a hero in one of his novels.

Sir Gerald Roland is Mazael’s best friend and sticks with him through thick and thin. Along with them follows Gerald’s squire, the 11-year-old Wesson. They take part in most of what happens along Mazael’s journey through Demonsouled, but they do not have the three-dimensionality that Mazael has.

Mazael’s family is nuts – brother and sister both. Totally off their rockers. But Mazael is naive about their development in the fifteen years he has been off to fight. Like a lot of us he wants to see the best in them and defends them when it might have been more constructive to take another look at their behavior. But he, too, learns that families aren’t always what we want them to be.


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