Crosser’s Maze by Dorian Hart

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This is another book that took me a long time to get a review out for, sorry about that!

I read the first book in this series and enjoyed myself quite a bit, Ventifact Collosuss is a great book if you prefer to root for the team of heroes without qualms about some horrible deeds they’ve done. It’s a book that will appeal to people who enjoy multi pov epic fantasy, lots of magic, and endearing characters – and if you haven’t read the first one or the review for the first one maybe start there instead. However, I’ll try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible so new readers can get an idea of what to expect from the series.

The heroes are still on their quest to try and stop Naradawk from returning (evil dude who’s been imprisoned for a while). They have new goals this time around, they’ve learned of a magical object known as The Crosser’s Maze that may be able to be used to defeat Naradawk for good, but the problem is their only intel on this object is hundreds of years old and not very detailed. All they know is that they have to cross this newly formed Arch that allows passage over the Uncrossable Sea to the land of Kivia where this Crosser’s Maze supposedly lies. This is better known as mission impossible, the Arch they have to cross is currently occupied with enemy soldiers, even if they get past the Arch they don’t know where this city of Djaw lies, even if they find this city does it still have this statue has clues to where the Crosser’s Maze is? There are so many “if’s” in the plan that it’s weak at best, suicidal at worst.

What I really loved was the improvement on the writing, the characters, and the expansion of the world building. The first book focused on setting up the character’s backgrounds, personality types etc, and there were a lot of them so it took a bit to get into them. With this book, I got to see more growth, internal struggles they had to overcome, interesting relationships developing etc. I loooovveee bromances in stories, and Ernie and Tor were just adorable. I also really liked the outcast aspect for Dranko, always wanting to belong somewhere, he put so much effort into the team and was getting nothing in return. He was approached by members of the Black Circle and they tried to force him to join them. First they try and undermine his sense of self worth and belonging to Horn’s group – and they try and bribe him hard. Members of the Black Circle had followed him for some time and learned all they needed to know to try and get him to turn cloak. They know all about how no one in the group likes him, trusts him or respects him and that they merely tolerate him because he’s a “walking bandage” since he’s the healer of the group. Despite all that being kind of true, and despite the death threats he refuses to turn cloak, and even after that people like Grey Wolf were still pretty dickish to him. What they don’t know, because he doesn’t complain, is that each time he heals them he’s losing a part of his soul, he’s slowly dying to keep them alive and they’re treating him like an outsider within their own group.

With the last book there were a bunch of instances where I felt the dialogue was just slightly off, just a little forced. Although there were a few instances of that in this book there were far less and I saw it as a good improvement. At almost 500 pages long, this is a long book and I felt like maybe some of it could have been edited down a bit. There were a lot of action scenes and some of it went by very quickly, but other parts were a bit slower.

There were some personal enjoyment bonus points here too. There’s a telepathic fucking cat in this book. God yes. Give me all of the telepathic cats. Aravia had a pet cat named Pewter before she was summoned by Abernathy for their mission, she loved him but didn’t have a chance to take him with her when everything went down. When the Archway opened a change happened with Pewter and he went from normal housecat to super intelligent totally sapient telepathic fucking sassball. AND there’s a nonhuman pov from a rat, I love really original nonhuman povs. Definitely a +1 for personal enjoyment there.

There were some neat aspects to the worldbuilding added in this one too, Wolf is sort of broken in timespace, he kind of goes back and forth from one reality to the next and it’s pretty trippy. There’s a whole other set of gods that deal with the people on the other side of the Uncrossable Sea. When Morningstar learns of this her world is turned upside down and she immediately starts to rationalize it and condemn this secondary goddess of Dark, Della, as a false goddess.

Overall I really liked this book and will definitely continue on with the series, I’m interested in where it’s going for sure. Thanks so much Dorian for sending me the book! I’d also like to say I love how professional the physical copy is, many times indie books have wonky font or weird formatting but this one had nice font and looked professional.

Audience:

  • group of companions on a quest
  • mysterious magic with a cost
  • gods are real
  • multi pov epic fantasy
  • non human povs
  • lighter in tone
  • good guy characters

Ratings:

  • Plot: 12.5/15
  • Characters: 13/15
  • World Building: 13/15
  • Writing: 12.5/15
  • Pacing: 10/15
  • Originality: 12/15
  • Personal Enjoyment: 8.5/10

Final Score: 81.5/100 or 4.07/5 stars on GR – recommended!

 

 

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