This one is indie published, but it’s not part of the SPFBO contest, just a book I read 🙂
This book will appeal to people who like action, darker content, demons, spirits, and tons of magic.
Overall I liked it, darker books tend to be hit and miss for me depending on how they’re done. I don’t like it when it feels like a book is being dark just for the sake of being dark and relying a lot on shock value. This world didn’t feel that way, the ‘darkness’ felt like a natural part of the worldbuilding.
There are a few plots going on, depending on which POV you’re reading.
The main plot is a prison break out, the book opens with one of the main characters, Rayph, who was a prison warden learns that his prison has been attacked. An armed group of around 30 lead by The Black Cowl broke out many violent prisoners and is building an army.
This wasn’t a normal prison, it has a guardian spirit of sorts called the Maiden, and she’s in charge of the configuration and functions of the prison. Each day the prison re-arranges itself into a new configuration for extra security. The people who were imprisoned are considered unkillable, and the only option was to keep them in captivity and away from people, having a break out is a big deal.
Konnan, the other POV character is a father to a dying daughter. She’s having trouble feeling her legs, and the paralysis is working its way up her body and it will eventually kill her. He’s working as a bounty hunter trying to make enough money for her medicine, the only thing keeping her alive. He’s also suffered the loss of his wife, she was the love of his life and he has no desire to start dating again, despite his friends’ efforts to get him back seeing people again.
He’s an extremely dangerous person but keeps that under wraps, mostly. There’s a pretty interesting backstory to how he and his wife got together, and what it means for their daughter, Bree.
Final Score: 8/10
- Konnan – a bounty hunter that would rather be spending time with his daughter, he’s sort of a split personality. He can be kind and endearing and gentle, but also slice peoples faces off. I liked him overall, he was an interesting character and his love for his daughter made him pretty endearing.
- Rayph – Also known as Ivoryfist, he’s an ancient wizard, I mean really ancient. He received a cursed dagger ten thousand years before the story started. He’s in touch with gods, demons, and witches and was a fascinating character. Even though he’s one of the worlds greatest fighters, his enemies make him terrified which really builds the hype for how bad they can be – if a ten thousand-year-old wizard is scared they must be terrible.
- Julius Kriss – what a wack job, this guy lives for pain and cruelty. He almost gets off by torturing Rayph with a choice to save himself from hell, or a child. He’s the main antagonist and a serious asshole.
Final Score: 7/10
There was so much world building I won’t be able to get to it all. It’s less about House rivalries and economy kind of world building, and more about the environment and the demons/monsters that live in this world.
- There are ethereal beings that you can’t see unless they are draping clothing around their forms, Rapyh has a friend named Dova who is an ethereal spirit like being.
- Rayph can talk to Gods and Goddess’s – when he learns about the deaths of his guards at his prison, he calls upon The Pale who is the Goddess of Death, she allows him to talk to his dead friend to figure out what had happened at the prison.
- The Maiden of Mending Keep is the guardian that controlled the prison Rayph designed – she is in the form of a statue but can talk and emotes almost like a person.
- Bat skulls can be enchanted and used to speak over long distances instantly.
- Rayph can speak the language of the immortals which even he rarely uses, it leaves him stunned and reeling when he uses it.
- Dragons can mate with humans and create half human half dragon hybrids, there’s a ling of Kings descendent from one of those lineages.
Final Score: 9/10
The pacing was quick, there was a lot going on with the plot and there was a ton of action and fighting scenes. On top of that, the world building was so ‘otherworldly’ even when not much was going on, it was still interesting because it’s so different from our own world.
The tone was pretty dark, I hesitate to call things ‘grimdark’ because the definition of grimdark varies from person to person, but this is one of the darker books I’ve read so far. There are lots of demons, people get hurt in horrible ways – even children. There was a scene with a villain called Julius Kriss and a little girl that was difficult to read.
Pacing Final Score: 8/10
Writing Final Score: 8/10
Most people have read a lot of books with demi gods, gods, witches, demons, poisoned land, and all that…. but I’ve never seen so much put into one book. It’s also not common to get the POV of the demi god – I like unique POV’s.
Final Score: 8/10
- For people who like darker books
- For people who like a moderate amount of POV’s – not a ton but not single pov
- For people who like non human pov’s
- For people who like a ton of magic
- For people who like monsters, demons, and spirits
- For people who like a lot of action, blood, and violence
- For people who like when the lines between light and dark are blurred, grey characters and situations
- Not for people who don’t like sex, violence, and cursing.