I put out a self-promotion call for any author who had an audiobook that ticked a number of boxes I was looking for – this title happened to be among them. I read this a while ago… a few months back or more maybe… I’ve lost all track of time and space. I have no ebook to reference for spelling, so please forgive the weird and potentially very wrong spelling.
Lynx used to be a soldier, and the country he comes from is known for their brutality in the recent war. It doesn’t win him any points with the locals – anywhere he goes because everyone assumes he’s going to be a bloodthirsty, rapey, psychopath. He’s hard, for sure – but he doesn’t kill just for the sake of it, and generally doesn’t make it any more brutal than need be. He’s joined a group of mercs known as The Cards, and it’s just something to pass the time and put food on the table. There’s an interesting bit of world-building in that the Deck of mercs all have a card assigned to them, and Lynx gets Stranger of Tempest. They take on some odd jobs but eventually were offered a job to go rescue a young girl who had been kidnapped. One thing leads to another… and he ends up with a cult known as the Knights of Charnelle hunting him.
There was a fair bit of action in this once things got going, so the pacing was quick after the first third… however, the first third was slow going for me. There was a lot of timeline back-and-forth that made it difficult for me to follow the story. This may be one that’s better of being read first and listened to on audiobook later for a re-read.
It took me a long time to start to warm to the characters, and in the end I still didn’t enjoy them as much as I wanted to. Things were just a bit too cliche at points. I don’t mind familiar tropes, but there has to be some freshness breathed into it to keep it from seeming “the same as everything else”. Things were just a bit too predicatable at times, and that took the tension out of some of the scenes. It wasn’t a bad book by any means, but I didn’t get into it as much as I had hoped. The audiobook was good, I liked the narrator and I’d recommend it for a re-read.
TLDR: For people who enjoy merc stories, grey characters, rough worlds, audiobooks, familiar tropes, epic fantasy, black humor, outcast protags.
- Plot: 12.5/15
- Characters: 11/15
- World Building: 11/15
- Writing: 12/15
- Pacing: 9/15
- Originality: 9/15
- Personal Enjoyment: 6/10
Final Score: 70.5/100