Esmes Indie Highlights/SPFBO: The Devil’s Library by Watson Davis

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This book was part of pornokitsch’s grouping and has been eliminated. This is a book that will appeal to people who like raiding pirates, mysterious mage magic, and dragons/monsters.


Bingo: Self published, dragons, sea faring


Plot:

There are multiple sets of POVs and their stories intertwine along the way.

Gartan is the leader of the Skybears, which is one of many raiding clans that use ships to loot seashore towns.  He’s planning a massive raid that will leave him to song and legend, but other clans get wind of it and they bully their way into his plans to get in on the riches.  Even after he’s sacked the city of Shria and could go home with all the money in the world, Gartan wants to stick to the original plan and sail across the city for untold treasure and glory, he has more ambition than is wise.

Kalo is a shipping trader who’s carried a load of mirrors to a new port, only to be told the buyer is no longer interested and she’s stuck with a boat full of mirrors and a lot of debt. She’s accompanied by a weird mage, Yaj Yath, who uses bones for his magic casting, he’s creepy as shit and people tend to die around him. Her plot becomes entangled with the Skybears because the port she brought her mirrors to is the same city they’re sacking.

One of the characters is masquerading under a false name because he’s hiding from a dark sorcerer with black eyes, Gal-nya. He’s been known as “The Librarian” in a past life, and is trying to keep their lead low and stay under cover. It doesn’t work well.


Characters:

  • Gartan is the leader of the Skybears and is a ruthless raider who doesn’t show any remorse for the pillaging and murder he bestows on towns wherever he goes. It never seems to be enough for him, even with all the loot anyone could want he always strives for more. He’s a dick and a pretty unlikeable person, he’s not above hitting his own son when he disagrees with him.
  • Tethan is another POV in the Skybear grouping, he’s way more level headed than his father, Gartan, with more reasonable goals and expectations for looting, but be still feels the need to live up to Gartans expectations.
  • General Agidius is a general for the King and is working against the Skybears and their sacking of the city Shria.
  • Kalo is a female shipping merchant who’s found herself entangled with pirates who want use of her ship. She’s trapped in Shria which was first under attack by the raiding clans, and then the Kings General shows up to try and root out and secure the city.

There were other smaller POVs like Hanno who was introduced during an orc battle, and Simthil, but the main characters are listed above. There were so many frequently used side characters it took a little bit to keep everyone straight. Yanira lead the Ironcutters, Mitta was the clan leader of the Brightfoxes, Simon was the leader of the Icefangs etc etc. Once the names were used more than a few times everything settled down and I was able to figure out who was who.


World Building:

There are wind mages who can be recruited to serve on ships and are extremely useful in naval battles.

There’s blood/bone magic that can be used to kill people in unexpected and strange ways. Yaj Yath was one of the strangest mages I’ve read about recently and I really enjoyed his character.

On top of wind and bone magic there are mages that can throw fireballs, and fireballs are never good for ships.

There are giant krakens that can take down ships, and there are a few dragon battles – so if monster battles are your thing this book could be for you.


Pacing/Tone/Prose:

I wouldn’t call this book “dark” but there wasn’t a lot of humor or levity in it, (there are a few scattered moments of well done comedy) but mostly it was fairly serious and bloody with dark magic and sorcerers hunting down different characters.

It’s a fairly short book with a lot of action packed into it, so I wouldn’t have cut anything and nothing felt like a slog although learning the names of people slowed me down a bit.

The writing felt like it had a decent editor, I didn’t catch many grammar or spelling mistakes.

There was a moderate amount of cursing, 16 fucks were given in this book.


Audience

  • two sides of a war
  • raiding
  • female pov
  • mages and mysterious magic
  • plotting for riches
  • multi pov
  • dragon battles/ monster battles
  • orc battles
  • action filled
  • villian pov

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