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A primeval fiend is loose in the ancient metropolis of Malkandrah, intent on burning it to a wasteland. The city's leaders stand idly by and the sorcerers that once protected the people are long gone.
Maldren, a young necromancer, is the only person brave enough to stand against the creature. Instead of help from the Masters of his Guild, he is given a new apprentice. Why now, and why a girl? As they unravel the clues to defeating the fiend, they discover a secret society holding the future of the city in its grip. After betrayals and attempts on his life, Maldren has reason to suspect everyone he thought a friend, even the girl.
His last hope lies in an alliance with a depraved and murderous ghost, but how can he trust it? Its sinister past is intertwined in the lives of everyone he holds dear.
Can only evil defeat evil
Okay, so I might be a bit more into this because I just came off a really heavy read—you know, the kind that follows you around for days—and I was in need of something light. I saw an advertisement for this book and decided to pick it up. It was short, and hey, who doesn’t love a little magic and dead things? I honestly had no expectations. Matter of fact, I already had it in my head that I wasn’t going to love it. After all, the world didn’t seem (based on the cover) to be set in a truly medieval type setting. And while I did not end up loving it, I found myself really enjoying it.
I read somewhere that it was a darker book, but I’d have to disagree a bit. I’ve read Prince of Thorns, and let me tell you, that was a dark book. This did have a lot of deaths, but it wasn’t so horrible that you had to put it down and a take a breather. There was a light humor to the book that made those scenes less dark. That’s not to say some stuff wasn’t messed up. For me, the deaths weren’t… intimate enough to be dark, if that makes any sense.
I’ve been wanting a book that was focused on necromancy, which is why I picked this up in the first place. In the beginning, I really thought I had found it. Some of the spells were wickedly fun—calling forth all the bugs of the dead so they rise up, inhabiting a skeleton—but others fell terribly short. I wish the main battle at the end had more spells and elaborated on the ability of necromancers. I wish our main character’s talents had grown, maybe branched out to new spells. Simply said, I just wanted more necromancy stuff.
Another fun thing about the book was the sheer number of things that happened and that our main character had to battle. It boiled down to be just a fun read—fast and entertaining.
The world wasn’t completely mundane, or I should say the city. They never left it, but it had so many places that it sure felt like they did. Graveyards, sewers, weird tunnel systems, gondola type devices, and the guilds. Political or religious factions were barely touched upon and the story was more focused on our main character (this is a 1st person PoV) and his struggles. So while the city was great, there wasn’t enough of an overall world picture for me to comment.
Now, the characters were just fine. Nothing that captivated, but nothing that turned me completely away. I will say that our main character, Maldren, is slightly sexist. He kinda teeter-totters on that character flaw throughout the book—and it is something that Maldren calls to attention himself, albeit in a round about way. However, if he would have come around a bit more, I would have liked him better. Comments like the following soured the read for me: “Promise a woman a proper bed and take her shopping for new clothes, and life becomes easier all around.” Not only is this an annoying statement, but the girl in reference is painted as one who doesn’t care if she gets dirty and seems uninterested in stuff like shopping or fancy meals. So it kinda undermined the female character. If the story wasn’t moving so quickly, I probably would have been completely put off. Or if I hadn’t been coming off a heavy read where my mind needed a break, I might have noticed more that I surely missed.
As you might have guessed from the previous paragraph, the female character starts off rather strong. She doesn’t mind getting dirty and seems quite adventurous. Though I think her independence did wane a bit towards the end, she never stopped fighting. If she could, she helped.
So overall, for me, this was simply fun. Nothing moving, sage, or thought provoking about it. Just fun.