Esmes Indie Highlights/SPFBO: Zeroth Law by Guerric Hache

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This book is part of Fantasy Factions grouping and it hasn’t had any feedback yet. It was a really interesting book with a sci fi twist to it.


Bingo: Self Published, dragons, debut


Plot:

Isavel wakes up after being murdered and finds that she has been reborn with new gifts, with her entire town slaughtered including her family she has to find a new place to go. Soon she ends up being Gifted twice, and then a third time which is unheard of and considered a perversion. A mentor figure she ran into while trying to find a place to go thinks she has been dabbling in dark magic, and that she’s perverted the Gifts. She doesn’t understand what’s going on and she’s searching for answers and acceptance from her new group.

Isavel becomes friends with a group of scouts searching to stop the raiders who have been pillaging small towns and killing everyone in the villages. They’ve noticed a big increase in the amount and intensity of raider attacks, an amount of which hasn’t been seen in decades.

Ada has been exiled, and is trying to find where she can go, she has a serious sense of self worth and is pretty arrogant. She thinks that most people are idiots and that she’s smarter than everyone around her. She’s been recruited by someone to try and open an old ruin that other Coders haven’t been able to figure out yet – she makes discovery after discovery about the ancient world and why the ancients died off. Super interesting twist with something called the Technophage.

 


Characters:

  • Isavel – an innocent sounding girl who was previously ungifted before her death. She seems like a nice person who’s gone through some terrible things, and just trying to find her way. She gets tasked with some enormous responsibility by the end.
  • Ada – I’m not sure if I like this character, or if you’re supposed to. She has an interesting plot/character arc but she’s not the most enjoyable person. Thinking herself superior to almost everyone she meets reading her inner thoughts can be grating at times but her thoughts of superiority got fewer as the book went along and she grew a bit and grew on me.

World Building:

Some people in this world are Gifted and have certain ‘magic’ abilities, there are different types of Gifts that allow you to do different things, but before Isavel it was unheard of for someone to have multiple gifts.

Hunting Gift allows you to pool bright blue hexagons and hurl them from your finger tips burning anything you target.

Pathfinder Gift allows you to camouflage in with your surroundings.

There are multiple gods which are believed to reside on the rings of this alternate Earth, (which have a neat backstory) there’s also familiar “ancient technology” that gives the world a post apocalyptic feel to it.

“Coding” seems to be a mix of ‘magic’ and tech, whenever someone refers to Ada’s coding as magic she gets irritated and calls people ignorant, referring to it more as a science.

Through Ada’s POV we get a ton of really interesting world building on the ‘ancient’ culture that has immensely complex coding that people haven’t been able to decipher. She’s found a lost treasure trove of knowledge but it’s in the ancients tongue and she needs to decipher it. She sees pictures of huge cities with hundreds of thousands of people living in them, while the largest cities in her current world have thousands at best.

“Outers” are an isolated race that live in the south in a city called the Campus, it’s a city of ancient tech that’s still working and it’s a wonder to the world. Ada gets there and discovers she has even more unique abilities than she thought.

There’s a neat tie in with the title around 85% that’s linked to the gods.

 


Writing/Tone/Pacing:

Pretty straight forward prose with mild cursing, 10 fucks were given in this book.

The two POV’s don’t merge until 54% and even then it’s only fleeting, you really get two sides to the world building through two different POV’s. You get culture and magic and war problems through Isavels POV and ancient tech, coding, and lore through Ada’s pov. Alternating between the two kept things fresh and quickly paced.

This is a pretty short book being around 230 pages on ebook so I got through it in a day.


Audience:

  • For people who like unique magic systems
  • For people who like a lot of magic in their books
  • For people who like limited multi pov
  • For people who are looking for female protags
  • For people who like sci fi twists to fantasy
  • For people who like books focusing on discovering lost ancient tech

 

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