Top positive review
Sneaks up on you
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 4, 2013
This is a story about a group of people who don't really want to be a group struggling against a common enemy: a tyrannical, god-killing magelord. Or that's sort of what it's about, but I'll get to that later.
The city of Dorminia is not a pleasant place to live. Crime is rampant and often perpetrated by the Red Watch who are supposed to keep the citizens safe. In the bowels of the city, a small resistance group is trying to make a difference. In a tower not far away, a good man with a horrible job is trying to do as little harm as he can while serving his lord, whom he knows is not on the side of justice but is better than the alternative.
Then the tyrannical mage lord goes and dumps a billion gallons of ocean onto an enemy city, killing everyone, all because the rival city beat his navy in a war for control of some magical islands. Now it's a free for all as the tyrant scrambles to gather more raw magic before another magelord can strike him while he's weakened. The rebels are scrambling to shut off the tyrant's only supply of raw magic. Agents for the White Lady, a somewhat benevolent mage lord, are trying to kill the tyrant and in the north, a barbarian sorceress is trying to come to grips with her own limitations as her people are being slaughtered by demons and famin. In a volatile mix like that, god only knows what might happen. Or not. All the gods are dead.
Let me start off by saying this book is not for everyone. It's very liberally sprinkled with foul language and uncomfortably detailed descriptions of things like an old man struggling to piss in an alley past his bladder stones. I found it very hard at first to care about these characters at first. The entire first chapter seemed to serve no purpose other than introducing a few plot ideas because I found myself actually cheering for "the bad guy" when the city was destroyed the same way I might have cheered on God when he smote Sodom and Gomorra. But for all the gratuitous vulgarity, the story did start getting interesting in a train-wreck kind of way, so I kept reading.
I have no blooming clue when, where, why or how I started to care about the fate of the main characters, but I found myself at four in the morning gasping and wailing "NO!" because I had no more pages to turn and I was not ready for the story to be done. Holy cow. If you are a fan of Steven King's "Dark Tower" series, you are going to really like this book. If you like dark fantasy, you are going to like this book.
Four stars, because I really could have done without some of the descriptive details of pissing past bladder stones, but yeah. Give this book a try. On a weekend, when it won't matter that you read all night because you couldn't put it down. I'm off to nurse my book hang-over with copious amounts of coffee now.