by John Gwynne (TOR) ISBN 9798230758452
It’s hard to say whether this book is something to make a fuss about. I feel it really should be.
Malice is an epic in a high fantasy setting. It has swords, sorcery, daemons and destiny. So all the elements that make a good old adventure. The history is well put together and the characters believable, however they do feel like the common stock in this sort of book. The setting is a bit vague. You never quite feel you could quite place where things are.
The thing that stops me saying this is a bad book is that the story is novel. It’s not one the Lord of the Rings clones or the Game of Thrones tedium. If anything it resembles the excitement of The Magician. It brings the scale that these stories deserve. While Game of Thrones is a soap opera, Malice is a true epic where you really feel the world is at stake not just some sodding noble men with petty grudges.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not a masterpiece but it’s so much better than any other fantasy that has come out lately. It breaks with the fad of portraying a magic story in a realistic way and I’m so grateful for that. Read this book if for no other reason than this is John Gwynne’s first novel and it works. If we can get more of his kind we can sooner forget the ramblings of Martin and Paolini’s elf fan-fiction.
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