“Ten years. Ten wretched years spent fleeing daemons and debt, reduced to a vagabond with little more than the clothes on my back and a set of loaded dice…It was a price I was more than willing to pay.”
Author: Cameron Johnston
Category: High Fantasy
Publication Date: June 5th, 2018
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Edrin Walker’s mind is loosely linked to that of his childhood friend, Lynas, although he has not seen Lynas in a decade. When Walker experiences the violent death of his friend through their link, this sets off a story of revenge and mystery as Walker uncovers the truths behind Lynas’s murder and what his killers hoped to conceal.
This book is absolutely one that drops you into the middle of a world and doesn’t stop everything to get some exposition in to explain the world to the reader. Normally, this is something that I look for in a book. And I think as far as world-building, Johnston was pretty successful. I got a fantastic feel of the world as the story went along.
However, I think his characters suffered in this approach.
I never really felt connected to any of them. I liked Charra and Layla well enough but in a distant sort of way. Edrin has been close to Lynas and Charra since they were children so there is a long-standing relationship there but jumping in later in their lives after they’ve been separated for so long and trying to establish this relationship for the reader just didn’t work for me in this book. I never felt the bonds of their friendship very strongly which only added to my disconnect from the characters.
Edrin himself I was a little annoyed by at times. Honestly, he is the same MC from every fantasy book ever. In his 30s, ruggedly handsome, scarred, charming and incredibly gifted magically and totally freaking full of himself.
I just…I dunno, where’s the new? I felt like I had seen the exact same character over and over again.
But the thing that really bothered me was that the only limitation on his super awesome magic power is that a)if he uses it, people he doesn’t want to know he is around could detect him and b)using too much at one time could open his mind to manipulation by another being. But that is some hardcore magic he has to do to get to that point and naturally, it does come into play later on in the book.
But as for the first, it seemed like this limitation was set up and then a hundred exceptions were found throughout the course of the story to get around it. Running water apparently hides it, he got lucky, apparently touching the person he is using the magic on can hide it. I am one that loves to see characters challenged. But the main challenge put on our main character here was rendered pointless very quickly.
I will say that I found the mystery itself intriguing but without being able to connect to the characters, this book just was not for me.