Seeds of War by Joao F. Silva — SPFBO 9 REVIEW

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Alllllrighty!! I am over halfway done reviewing all these books and I think mayhaps this will be a more anticipated review as I’ve seen this cover thrown around the interwebs a bit.

So, this is a very ambitious book, there are a lot of POVs, a lot of plot points, a lot of world building, it’s just a lot of a lot. Not only that, but this book really does not follow the normal “character types” that I have gotten with many books in my batch this year. I can definitely enjoy familiar tropes and notes of the genre, but I also deeply enjoy it when I get something different. I don’t often get a character who’s pretending to be a god and succeeding.

My favorite character was definitely Orbessis because he had such a different kind of character build. He’s in chronic pain and he’s looking for a cure, and he’s doing that by pretending to be a god. He stumbled upon this magical item many years back and happened to be able to use it once. That one time was a really big deal in that he rose an entire continent from the ocean and stopped the Crimson Wars which are elduded to throughout the book. Another character is a veteran of those wars. So, Orbessis is trying to befriend the king so he can gain access to the royal healers, it’s his last ditch hope. He has seizures, severe migraines, and other ailments that are bringing him to his wits end, and it’s also twisting him from a plucky con man into more of a self-absorbed dickbag. He has a best friend, Tavener, who’s some-what in on the grift but doesn’t know that Orbessis has no idea how to use this magical item. His friend knows he isn’t a god but is going along with it, but is under the impression that Orbessis can use this item whenever he wants to bring about huge changes in the world.

I also think people will like Gimlore — particularly for those who enjoyed Cal Black’s No Land for Heroes in that we have a veteran soldier who just wants to raise her family and be left alone. She’s discovered an elixir, though, one that gives people incredible strength and it catches the attention of those who will take it if she doesn’t give it up willingly. As a surprise to no one, she doesn’t want to be robbed and starts to put up a fight — but she doesn’t want to put her kids in harms way. That will be difficult to do since she killed the Herald sent to take the elixir.

And then we have Rednow, a mercenary who really just wants to retire. He has the voice of his dead sister stuck in his head and he thinks he’s going a little insane. He’s a smokesmith and he’s able to use magic but it’s a difficult magic to use, a painful magic, and it’s wearing him down. I really liked his character too as I enjoy a grey-but likeable mercenary character. It’s a little more tropey than the other two characters but as I said, I enjoy those, too.

There is so much world building going on and I really liked all of it. There were a few infodumps here and there but nothing that really made it jarring or took me out of the moment. It does start off a bit slow and there’s a lot of foundation to build here, so it took a bit for me to get going with it. I would say my biggest quibble would be secondary character motivations and consistency/believability. As a for instance, there is a scene where nobles get mad at the king, they are in close quarters in a small gathering. You would think if someone had a problem with the king they would deal with it diplomatically through words, or through laws, or levies, or threats of war…but probably not that they are going to draw swords and have-at-you in the king’s palace surrounded by his guards. It was a very bar-brawl moment in a situation where it didn’t make sense. If you’ve made it to the top and you’re hanging out with the king one would expect more self-control, poise, and wisdom than to throw down in the palace. The main character POV’s motivations and behaviors all made sense, but it seemed like secondary characters would do things to further the plot along even if it didn’t always make sense.

That said, one of my more favorite aspects to this book are the three main POVs, I really felt like those characters were done very well in ways some books are lacking. A lot of times when people die in books the survivors get over it really fast and it feels like they forgot their bros, or no one dies at all and everyone has plot armor even if it doesn’t make sense. There are people who die, and the surviving characters reacted appropriately, I felt.

Overall this was a super ambitious book and although I had quibbles with it, it’s marked as safe at the time of this review and I encourage others to check it out if this review sounded interesting!