Sievers turned his lapel out so Denton could see him reaching for a small, slender tin. He crouched and opened the tin on the floorboards, then stepped back. Inside, a large stainless steel and glass syringe. The liquid inside the syringe burned with the colors of molten lava.
“You already know what this is,” Sievers said. “And you’ll need it, if you intend to live long enough to find what you’re really looking for.”
Denton took a step toward him. “You’re using my people to get what you want.”
For the first time, Sievers smiled. White teeth flashed between his black beard. “And you are doing precisely the same.”
Colonel Wolfram Sievers and Lieutenant Denton have lived a long time. Both are willing to go to extreme lengths to achieve what they want. For Denton that seems to be world domination through Project Gate. Sievers appears to be playing another game. That game could be called chaos. Peace would probably be boring business for his superiors. Obvious suspects for such superiors might be arms manufacturers who may or may not work with biological/genetic research firms like Intero. As far as I can tell, the various countries (certainly many politicians) in the Helix world (and real) are simply pawns in the hands of these entities.
As I have said in previous reviews, one of the major appeals of Farrugia‘s stories is that they could happen. Reactions of the general populace would probably (and do) fit his description of the election of the Purity party’s leadership into Poland’s government. Fear of people with genetic mutations is increasing among the population, thereby legitimizing the Purists going after our “heroes” with the aim of targeting/turning off their mutations.
In Exile, Sophia met an operative from the Fifth Column who self-destructed when Sophia attempted to de-program her. This time around, she meets a completely different type of agent. Who or what these new operatives belong to becomes a pressing question. So does the question of DC’s loyalties. Will Jay, Nasira, Damien and Aviary be able to infiltrate Intero’s data system and what about finding Val. How is that going for Olesya and her team? And who the hell are the Benefactors?
From the various links, you would be correct in presuming I had fun with Interceptor. There is so much going on, I cannot help but dig. At the same time, I do have to stop digging and write a review. Once again, definitely recommended.
Farrugia provided me with a reviewer’s copy of Interceptor.
Yes, I went looking for ratpaths and the history of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra. There really was no choice after reading what Ms. Rust had to say about her inspiration for the story.
Poverty is something I think about a lot. Not because I am poor, but because I have escaped it. My dad could have been Nivvo. When his father was arrested for underground work during WWII, my grandmother slowly but surely went mad with paranoia. My dad would have been six at the time his father was arrested and his little sister four. They went from getting by to being hungry a lot. But things never became as dire as they did for Nivvo and his mom (and soon after his sister).
I suppose this is one reason why I like Nivvo so much. There is no doubt in my mind that given the right/wrong people in his life, my dad could have become a Nivvo. Whether his sister would have been a Reka I do not know. Both characters are survivors and very likeable. Both love each other and do their best to take care of each other – and others in need. Again this is very much like my father and his sister.
Reka has grown up without her mother and was taken care of by a poor fire priest. At the beginning of the story, Bappo Andori had died not many months previously. At this point Reka is thirteen years old. In many places today being thirteen and poor grows you up awfully fast. With the help of Nivvo’s contractor, she gains control of the estate and keeps up the good work for the homeless.
Nivvo is a thief and a good one. The underworld’s boss, Vicco Cambrosi, wants Nivvo as part of his organization, but that would mean loss of freedom to choose assignments. Nivvo does not want this, but fears a point may be reached when he no longer has a choice.
Ratpaths is for the most part about Nivvo stealing a person, and the mess that makes of life in Istonnia and Nivvo’s life. Ratpaths also gives us a look at Nivvo’s past and gently prods us toward realizing a vital thing about him. Ratpaths was a fun and flowing story.
Garrisonis a military fantasy in novella format. It is set in another time and place with pre-industrial technology and strange creatures. Whether these people are human, I do not know. That is just a presumption on my part.
Von was the most interesting person of this story. His exact role within the company wasn’t completely clear to me. While regular soldier seems to have been his official title, his role was more likely as some kind of troubleshooter. New soldiers saw him as a father-figure. Being just another soldier seems to have given him an in that was not open to the officers. The two newbies were highly visible in Garrison, but their role seemed to be as supporting characters to Von.
I liked Von and I enjoyed reading Garrison and Nigel Edwards’ writing.
I admit it. The whole Magnificent Devices serial sent me off on tangents of exploration causing me to spend about as much time exploring as I did reading the novels. I become overwhelmed by curiosity when I sit down to write some reviews and find that I “just have to” see what I can dig up about whatever it is that sets me off. Below are some more links.
Did you know that there was actually a Dunsmuir that was the richest man in Canada at the time Adina Shelley placed the Earl of Dunsmuir there? You didn’t? I’m shocked. Well now you do. That Dunsmuir (James) was machinist, entrepreneur, industrialist, politician, and lieutenant governor. I’m thinking someone must have looked into the area before she wrote her novel. Not mentioning any names or anything.
Not only the US was a place of “Wild West” during the European invasion. People had to be killed and one-sided treaties signed. I am reworking my review on Zane Grey, going into more detail, and man is it ever depressing. Canada’s Wild West mirrors the US Wild-West in many ways. Humans are the same wherever we invade.
In Brilliant Devices Queen Victoria and her spy Isobell Churchill work for the protection of the Equimoux. In our history, Queen Victoria did no such thing. She probably would have put you in Bedlam for even suggesting such a thing. That Davinia and John Dunsmuir are on their side is something Isobell Churchill does not know. I wonder why the Queen did not tell her.
I like the beginning of Brilliant Devices when Lady Claire Trevalyan, Mr. Andrew Malvern, Ms. Alice Chalmers, the Mopsies, Tigg and Jake pull off a miracle using the invention of Andrew, Claire, Tigg and Dr. Craig. It is fun the way Shelley Adina throws in little technical challenges along the way for the gang.
Claire and her little flock are as always ingenious and independent. The Mopsies are as obedient as always, spying for Claire whether she wants them to or not. I wonder at Claire’s reticence, considering how often the Mopsies have come in handy. I guess Claire struggles with her own prejudices and her own fears, constantly forgetting that her charges have been exposed to dangers long before Claire entered their lives. All four charges prove their abilities several times.
Alice Chalmers is another character I like. She turns up in Magnificent Devices saving Claire three times and Andrew once. Alice continues her life-saving in Brilliant Devices. Both the Dunsmuirs and Graf von Zeppelin are impressed by her inventiveness. Her role is not limited to one of invention and rescue but also functions as an addition to the personality of Brilliant Devices.
As with the other three novels in the Magnificent Devices serial Brilliant Devices is a fun and adventurous addition giving me a few hours of fun.
You know, Ailric is a douchebag. He is about as power-starved as you can possibly get and Tanith is his way to the throne. Talk about being willing to do and say anything to get his way. Humans are less than dirt to him and his jealousy knows no bounds. As if he has anything to be jealous about. Tanith tells him over and over and over again that she is not interested and could he please stop touching her. Being the third in line for the throne of the “elves”, Tanith feels pressured by many of the folks at home to bind herself to Ailric as the joining of their two families is seen as a good match.
According to Psychology Today a person with a narcissistic personality disorder is one who is arrogant, lacks empathy for other people, needs a lot of admiration. Narcissists are cocky, self-centered, manipulative and demanding. They are focused on unlikely outcomes (I don’t know – like becoming consort to Tanith) and feel they deserve special treatment. For some reason they have a high self-esteem – which goes along with their arrogance. If their self-esteem is threatened they may become aggressive (like Ailric’s threats and actions toward both Gair and Tanith) even though their self-esteem is rooted in the bedrock of who they are.
Holy cow, this is soooo Ailric. He manages to match all of the qualities. Like I said: a complete and total douchebag.
Gair is your basic good guy. He’s not perfect, not by a long shot. In fact he is feeling pretty murderous when it comes to Savin. I get this need for vengeance. Not that anyone has ever effected the killing of one of my loved ones, but there have been people I would have liked to, at the very least, beat up. People who hurt my children in any way come to mind – even if mine are adult now. In real life I prefer the good guys (and women). I happen to be married to one of the most decent men on earth. Like Gair they are all flawed in some manner, but something shines through. This strange quality is what Ms. Cooper manages to catch in her writing. Someone like Gair is often presented in a manner that makes me wriggle uncomfortably due to their unbelievability. But Ms. Cooper stays far, far, far away from that trap. Gair is a guy I would like to hug just because he is huggable. I guess he could be good-looking but that is not what I am remembering – and I finished The Raven’s Shadowat 6 am this morning.
I kid you not. I am 49 years old in a few days and I read through the night. What’s an old woman doing with an all-night-read? Shame on you Ms. Cooper for keeping me up all night. That seldom happens any longer, but I just had to finish. Now I have to wait another year or two for the next installment. What I have just done is a basic case of hurry up and wait. Oh, well. Old age is no guarantee for learning from experience. I choose to blame it all on Ms. Cooper. No personal responsibility at all – oh no!
Teia is the other extremely interesting main character. Poor girl. Once it was discovered she had the talent, she has had to be extremely careful about letting on how strong she was/is. Not only has she needed to watch out for the clan speaker, but she has also had a less than ideal relationship with the clan chief. Well, relationship is a bit strong. Before she was 16 he abused and raped Teia until he had impregnated her. Good thing she ran away even if it did lead to her becoming banfaith of the Lost Ones. A banfaith is a prophetess or oracle. Understandably, Teia feels awfully young for the kind of responsibility she holds. In a sense she is considered next to Baer (their chief) in authority. The Lost Ones ask for her guidance on where to travel which is kind of natural as Teia sees where they need to go. Where the Lost Ones need to go is to the enemy to warn them of the pending invasion.
Ytha is Teia’s old teacher. She is the one who should have made certain that Teia received proper training for a Speaker. But Ytha is afraid of what would happen if someone has more power than she. Anything (including murdering people perceived as obstacles) is acceptable to achieve her goals. Ytha’s goal is to lead all of the Nimrothi clans into the old home-land – together with her chief Drwyn as chief of chiefs. I would not like to get into her way.
Elspeth Cooper’s writing has appealed to me from the beginning. She is one of those rare people who has a gift. In all likelihood Ms. Cooper works hard to provide us with a novel of this quality. But, you know, there is that extra indefinable something that gifted people have.
My son and I recently finished reading The Black Magician trilogy together. What he discovered is that sometimes favourite characters die. He felt that was kind of cruel of Canavan. It is one thing when the bad guys die, but good guys (especially ones you really like)? Oh, well. It is unlikely this is the last time he experiences this. Despite that, he really enjoyed himself during our adventure. As did I.
The High Lordanswers all our questions about why Akkarin uses black magic. It also shows us that the powers that be sometimes make long-term decisions that are seemingly wise at the time but turn out to be bad for future generations. Accidental deaths can cause a lot of trouble down the road.
I’m still impressed with Sonea. I think that growing up rich and powerful blinds you to the reality that most people live under. Peggy McIntosh discusses this phenomenon in her White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack. Sonea growing up in the slums has made her aware of the harsher sides of life and made her more open to the possibility that status quo must change. Even Rothen and Dannyl, who are open-minded for wizards, fail to understand exactly how privileged they are.
My dad grew up under extremely difficult conditions. His mom was a paranoid schizophrenic and his dad disappeared after he had enjoyed German hospitality in prison camp. Torture got the better of him and alcohol was used to self-medicate. That left my dad as the responsible person at home from a very young age. His mom did her best, but, you know, being a paranoid schizophrenic without access to medication does not help in creating stability for your children. My mom’s childhood sucked as well. Her dad was an alcoholic and her mom worked her tail off to provide for them. When my mom has told me what it was like to drag a drunk dad up three stairs to get him inside the apartment – after he had pretty much spent his earnings on booze – well, I wonder how she made it????
But that childhood made them into pretty awesome people who have always been concerned with the greater good. They turned what could have made them bitter into something that helps others each and every day (even when they are now ancient =) ). Like Sonea, not all of their decisions have been wise. But like Sonea, what they have done is try to be true to the motto of “not doing unto others what you would not like to have them do unto you”.
Sonea grew up without her parents but was fortunate enough to get to live with her aunt and uncle. This is probably what saved her (and the rest of the city). Her hunger, poverty, the Purge, being bullied by the other novices and being suspected of everything “bad” by the adult wizards did not stop her from being true to her own values. Sonea’s situation is in no way unique in the world (except for the magic that is). Poverty, war, captivity, orphanhood and homelessness are all part of the lives of a huge amount of children and adults. That people are actually able to rise above their experiences and make the world a better place is amazing. Yet people do it all the time – just like my parents have. Which is why I find Sonea utterly believable. Her decisions regarding Akkarin seem inevitable and sensible considering the kind of person she is.
Tayend is my other favorite person of this story. He is our lad from Elyne. While homosexuality was not accepted in Elyne, homosexuals were not persecuted. Unlike Dannyl’s experience in Kyralia. Being a fan of the underdog, I would have thought that Dannyl would be the one to appeal the most to me. But Tayend has an innocence about himself that seems true. When that innocence is challenged, as it is in The Novice, Tayend rises to the occasion. He is loyal to Dannyl, in love with Dannyl and willing to avoid meeting with Dannyl if that is what it takes to protect him from the wrath of the magician’s guild. I wish I could have gotten to know him better.
Cery is back and this time he finds himself with a mysterious customer who seems willing to help him find whatever Sachakans arrive at Imardin. She turns out to be different from what he had originally thought, and that causes friction. But Savara still manages to be of assistance to Cery when he needs her help most. Who to trust or who not to trust when you are a Thief, that is the question.
Reading The Black Magician trilogy with my son was my third time through the series and I still had fun and learned new things about myself and the world.
In The High Lord Trudy Canavan gifted me with really fun words to read. During part of the book she had used the words Sachaka, Akkarin and Takan a lot. My mouth was having so much fun saying those sounds. Sometimes it is really awesome to be an autist (aspergian).
I started reading Hellfireand was immediately engrossed in the world of Ia and her Damned. Annoying really when a novel is this good. I believe I actually stayed up until 3 in the morning just because I did not want to go to bed until I knew how Hellfire ended. The ending was a sort of cliff-hanger – in the sense that the story did not end with Hellfire – yet not – in the sense that Hellfire had a conclusion.
…What if you could see the future? What if you foresaw that, three hundred years from your time, your entire galaxy would be destroyed in an overwhelming invasion? What would you do to stop it, when it would all happen long after you were dead and gone? (Jean Johnson)
Me? I don’t know if I would care enough to do anything about it. But what if the experience had been as if I, myself, had experienced the extinction of life? Sad to say, I’m not a particularly noble person. I doubt I could go to the lengths that Ia does in trying to protect the future of her galaxy. I doubt I would stay sane (well, as sane as I will ever be).
Does she see her life as the sacrifice it is? Oh, yes. What she had wanted for herself was to be a singer. Instead she became a soldier on her journey to ready the different breeds of people for the future. A future she would never experience herself. Her motivation? That was what being a pre-cognitive did. Especially being one as strong as she was.
People being the way we are, means we tend to disbelieve anything we have not experienced ourselves. Which is why Ia has let various creatures across the galaxy received snippets of her visions with information on how to avoid the potential future she wishes for them to avoid. This is where Ia’s type of pre-cognition varies from the type of clairvoyance that could be more paradoxical. Ia’s type shows a potential future based on a potential number of choices. By building on her reputation, prophecy by bloody prophecy, Ia has now arrived at Hellfire.
Upon reaching Hellfire Ia has gotten far enough on her journey that she has managed to convince the human authorities of her claims of pre-cognition. All it took was being right a certain number of times and they were more or less on her side. But three hundred years is a long time for most people to keep their minds on. It is the political games here and now that seem to matter, not what some great-, great- … grandchild of ours will be going through. Keeping the military leaders’ minds on what lays ahead is a challenge Ia has to win again and again throughout Hellfire.
With her ship, she and her crew travels around the galaxy recruiting more believers and fighting a whole bunch of battles.
For those of you who like technical details, you will get those. I haven’t a clue as to how likely any of them are, but they are nevertheless interesting.
For those of you who are fans of action and thrills, there are plenty of those as well. The above battles are only part of it. Ia gets herself and her crew out of various tight situations. While we already know that she, herself, has to survive until she has amassed a certain following, we don’t know who else gets to live along with her.
For those of you who like humour, don’t worry. We get plenty of that along with the bleaker moments. Jean Johnson has managed to lighten the story with some witty dialogue.
Finally, for those of you who like romance, there is that as well.
Add to all of this the writing of Jean Johnson and we have a novel that carries its middlehood well. I am certainly looking forward to Damnation.
I first discovered Seanan McGuire through her pseudonym Mira Grant. I enjoyed her Newsfleshcharacters so much that I wanted to give October (Toby) Daye a chance. Here I am seven novels later still reading about the adventures of changeling / knight / hero / granddaughter of Oberon: Toby Daye.
Why is it I like the October Daye series so much? My main reason has to do with the development of Toby’s character. Growth (whether for light or dark) in a character is what keeps me reading certain authors. If that development stops I move on. Thus far, I have had every reason to remain with October Daye and her faery world.
By now there have been so many losses and changes in Toby’s life that it is a wonder she is still up and about. McGuire has not given Toby the easiest life to live. Simple lives can be fun to read about but in the long run complexity is so much more fun. McGuire doesn’t slow down Toby’s challenges in Chimes at Midnight.
Once again, Toby discovers that just because something is bad for the changelings and for humans does not mean that the pure-bloods care. Some do, but faery who care about the lives of changelings and humans are definitely in the minority. So it has been throughout history. Many are the tales of faery interacting with people with devastating results for the person. Perhaps being immortal has something to do with that. At least that is an excuse we hear in Chimes at Midnight.
There is romance going on between Toby and Tybalt, but romance is not a major part of Chimes at Midnight. Action is. As with the other Daye novels, McGuire keeps her novels free from explicitness.
I liked Chimes at Midnight. When The Winter Long comes out I am going to buy it.
The Dragon of Despair is about messed up families, people who get a kick out of manipulating others, the struggle of a people to be recognized as a nation, divided loyalties and about Firekeeper trying to learn patience.
In terms of messed up families we are talking about poor little Citrine and her mother Melina. When Citrine got her finger cut off it did something to her head. It wasn’t the fact of her finger alone but the finger added to her mother’s seeming abandonment. Melina must be a prime example of a psychopath/sociopath.
Melina has established her position as the wife to the ruler of New Kelvin, Toriovico. She managed to marry him through her usual machinations and has him and most of his Primes completely in her power. Her reasons for this marriage does, of course, have to do with magic although it would probably be more correct to say that she wants all the power she can get and will use any means to get it.
What does this have to do with Citrine? For her own good King Tedric sends her along with the gang on their jaunt to New Kelvin. This time they are allegedly looking into setting up a silk-line from New Kelvin to Hawk Haven through the Kestrel and Archer families. This is the excuse for the presence of Edlin, Firekeeper, Blind Seer, Derian, Elise, Doc, Wendy, Grateful Peace (in disguise) and Citrine (also in disguise). Their real mission is to see if they can stop whatever it is Melina is up to.
To get Firekeeper and Blind Seer to go to New Kelvin, King Tedric has promised her that he will take care of the problem that has risen west of the Iron Mountains. Otherwise Firekeeper and Blind Seer would probably have gone to aid their family back there. But King Tedric feels this would only damage Firekeeper’s case with the nobles and even more importantly to him, he needs Firekeeper and Blind Seers abilities in New Kelvin.
West of the Iron Mountains a group of settlers has tried to get Bardenville up and running again. The Royal Beasts do not like this and are discussing what to do with the settlers. Only Firekeeper’s reassurance that King Tedric means to keep his promises keeps them from taking terminal action.
Firekeeper’s introduction to the human world and her struggles to understand the distinctions we make between different qualities gives us a better look at how weird human societies truly are. She still remains my favorite character (along with her companion Blind Seer). Derian follows with poor little Citrine in third place. Citrine is a person I have no trouble at all identifying with.
I am still reading to my son and he is still enjoying the tales in the Firekeeper saga. In fact, he grows impatient if I have to wait for the next book to arrive. I rather enjoy having been able to pass on the joy of reading to my sons. Stories have always been such an important teaching tool in society and the Firekeeper saga does a great job in that respect. Not only is Firekeeper an interesting and fun example to follow but Lindskold also manages to convey her respect for nature to me as a reader.
As you can tell I had a difficult time choosing between hardcover and paperback cover art, so I added them both.
Having begun reading to my son about Firekeeper we kept on going. Believe it or not, but quite a bit of snuggle time goes into around 600 pages worth of story. 600 pages is a lot of words. Sometimes I think the two of us get so caught up in how words and sentences connect that we forget to pay as much attention as we ought to. In my world that is only possible when the writing is tight and attention is paid to how writing is similar to music. Sometimes we have to laugh when I have trouble figuring out how to pronounce a name or two. What we do then is have a discussion on pronunciation and come to an agreement.
On to content. The Firekeeper Saga is about politics and relationships and coming of age if it is about anything. Sure there is action and fighting, but this is not what the series is about. I love action fantasy and science fiction and I love stories like the Firekeeper saga.
Wolf’s Head, Wolf’s Heart is still about Firekeeper and Blind Seer’s emerging role as ambassadors between humans and Royal kind. On that journey some of Firekeeper’s illusions about the superiority of the Royal kind are torn down. Blind Seer seems more of the adult than Firekeeper in this regard and is in fact one of the people who challenges Firekeeper’s previous beliefs.
Derian is another favorite of this tale. I imagine Lindskold has made certain that I be aware of him. Derian is Carter made Counselor, a role he had never imagined and feels overwhelmed by. He is easily Firekeeper’s favorite human friend and a very faithful one.
Waln Endbrook is a really good bad guy. He is the ultimate bully – afraid of letting go of power and ready to step on anyone who gets in his way – especially if they are weaker than he is. One of the more fascinating parts of Waln’s character was the mental acrobatics he was willing employ in order to avoid blaming himself for anything. It was always something the other person had done or said that brought about trouble. I hate meeting these people in real life because they scare the shit out of me. But I have also learned, the hard way, the necessity of seeming strong around them.
Elise and Doc are the “hopeless romance” carriers of the series. Poor guys. So in love and yet bound by the strictures of society from having any kind of romantic attachment. Politics sure do stink at times.
We are also introduced to Firekeeper’s adorable adopted brother Edlin Norwood. Hugh Laurie in Bertie Wooster exemplifies just how I imagine Edlin speaks.
Requiemis by far the best of the Blood War trilogy. It seems as if Marquitz is finding his fantasy feet (although I doubt he ever lost them since feet are usually stuck on).
What I like about Tim is that we have little romance and lots of action. Tons of it in fact. The Blood War trilogy is after all about a war fought on all possible sides against overwhelming odds. Which is why I add my warning: Beware of blood and gore. War is ugly and so is this. There is no attempt at sugar-coating the brutality of warring parties in Requiem nor is there a glorification of the violence.
I retain my favorites from before: Arrin / Uthul and Zaree and this time I am adding Ellara (this is one resilient girl). Ellara is an orphan from Lathah who ends up helping orphan friends and the royal family in their escape attempts. She showed the kind of grit she had in Embers of an Age and has the same kind of gumption in Requiem. A girl to admire.
While Blood War is considered dark fantasy it is still full of hope. Maybe it is this hope that makes intelligent beings fight for their lives. My brain finds it mysterious to see the lengths of suffering people are willing to endure just so they will not die. But in Requiem we also see that for some people there comes a point when dying is an expression of hope.
I think a fair criticism of Embers of an Age comes from Sylvain Martel (below). Sylvain comments on the way the various nations must be squashed together as the time from one to the other takes such a short while. I had the same thought while reading but had forgotten that disturbance as I was paying more attention to the characters themselves. It is true. The pace at which these characters must travel is immense.
My favorite character continues to be Arrin. He is so obviously a tragic hero who happens to be part of a story that seems to have very few happy endings. With all of the blood and gore Marquitz places us in it is difficult to imagine any of the characters having a Disney ending to their story – Arrin least of all.
Next to Arrin come Zalee and Uthul (the Sha’ree). Zalee and Uthul are daughter and father. Both are subject to the strange illness that comes with using magic contained in the O’hra but still choose to do so. Coming out from their homeland has brought home to them exactly what the Sha’ree have missed by absenting themselves for so long. I sometimes see that in my own life. Because I am fortunate in so many aspects of my life it is sometimes tempting to stick my head in the sand and become blind to the lives of other people. Maybe that is why I like Uthul and Zalee so much. They have chosen to raise their heads and see.
Sultae is my final favorite. She is obviously out to get revenge for how she has been wronged and she has become insane with that need and her understandable hatred. I get that feeling as well. Sometimes I have felt it myself and sometimes I have had friends and acquaintances who have wanted to destroy those who have wronged them so badly. While she does not take up much space in Embers of an Age, Sultae is an essential part of the story. Without her it would not have happened.
There is tons of fighting of one type or another. People are running from place to place chased by various creatures. Action is present from beginning to end and Marquitz ends this story on a cliff-hanger. There are still hiccups but the Blood War trilogy is getting better.
The Bastard Cadre serial just gets better and better. I think I am a sucker for the traditional Hero. I have to admit that I am a sucker for just about any type of character as long as they are well written.
One example of a well written character in The Dead God’s Shadow is the Death priest Avril has his gentle encounter with. Crazy or what? That is one dedicated priest. I don’t know if it is more fun to write about the “bad guys”, but in my head it must be. I cannot even say that the Death priest was a well-rounded character because he was utterly and completely boinkers. No more than some people out there, but still …
Obduron’s dad isn’t exactly a sweetheart either. I guess that in a world left as harsh as the one Avril lives in the term “survival of the strongest” does not necessarily mean that the strong are going to be nice. Probably quite the opposite in fact. Maybe it comes from holding power for as long as Valan has.
You must know by now that The Bastard Cadre is a post-apocalyptic tale. The land is decimated and people struggle to hold on to life. Desertification seems to be huge in the area Avril travels through. Avril is one tough dude. He is like the Energizer bunny – just keeps on going and going and going. He retains a certain kind of innocence about him in spite of the many opportunities to turn into a cynic. I think he is the kind of person I would like to be.
I keep on wondering about those gods. Who exactly are they? They aren’t immortal and they certainly do not agree on matters. In fact they war against each other using humans to fight many of their battles. Right there we can tell that they aren’t very nice nor do they care about people. I feel like throwing a hissy-fit demanding to know right now what the rest of the story is. But authors are cruel people who like to keep their fans waiting and it seems Lee Carlon is no exception to that rule.
The Dead God’s Shadow is definitely dark and so is the humor. There is something so refreshing about dark humor that cannot be found anywhere else. Carlon is subtle about his points as well. They sort of sneak up on you (well, me).
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 297 KB
Print Length: 146 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Clockwork Samurai; 1 edition (30 July 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
I was given a reviewer’s copy by Carlon. The only preferential treatment I am aware of giving is to read the novel ahead of others on my general to-read list.
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. Demonsouledsure 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.