"It was all going so nicely, right up until the massacre."
Twenty years ago feared general Cobalt Zosia led her five villainous captains and mercenary army into battle, wrestling monsters and toppling an empire. When there were no more titles to win and no more worlds to conquer, she retired and gave up her legend to history.
Now the peace she carved for herself has been shattered by the unprovoked slaughter of her village. Seeking bloody vengeance, Zosia heads for battle once more, but to find justice she must confront grudge-bearing enemies, once-loyal allies, and an unknown army that marches under a familiar banner.
Five villains. One legendary general. A final quest for vengeance.
©2015 Alex Marshall (P)2015 Hachette Audio
"Exceptional writing, middle-aged warrior heroine, and organically infused gender nonconformity make this fantasy epic a first-rate trailblazer...splendid storytelling, wry humor, and unresolved intrigue." (Publishers Weekly)
"Brimming with imagination and invention.... Fabulous!" (John Gwynne)
"An epic fantasy that will surprise you. When was the last time you read one of those? Marshall deftly sets up and subverts expectations at every turn. If you think you know what's coming, think again." (Kameron Hurley)
A shameless facsimile of Abercrombie's Best Served Cold, the plot centers on an bitter mercenary heroine left for dead out to for revenge on those who wronged her. She starts off as a sympathetic character but evolves into more of a villain as events unfold. Sound familiar? There are several other glaring parallels to Best Served Cold, but mentioning them would be spoilers.
Despite the glaring similarities, the setting, tone and writing style keep the plot interesting enough that I want to know what happens next. There are unique facets to the magic system (ie "devils" providing wishes/power) that diverge enough from BSC to allow the series room to build and/or diverge from Abercrombie's work. The book is written as the first in a series, instead of more stand alone novel so there's definitely room to grow.
One thing I did find annoying was the author's obsession with his characters' fixation on repeatedly smoking weed and detailed descriptions of the pipes they use and strains they smoke. I don't mind having a little of that in there to add some color, but it's definitely overdone in this book and gets tiresome after reading yet another description of a different custom pipe and how it affects the flavor of whatever obscure fictional strain of weed they're smoking now.
So some good, some bad, but with room to improve in future books.
Obsessive book hoarder, and intense audible lover.
I was feeling a little bit let down as I tried all varieties of fantasy books this past month. This novel makes me so very happy!! The characters were well fleshed out, and had qualities that made them feel like real people dealing with real crappy situations. From the get-go, it was sarcastic, interesting, and so fun to listen to that I finished it in 2 (!!!) days! Broken up by sleeping of course :)
Highly recommended; I'll even listen again!
I kept thinking of Joe Abercrombie as I read this book as there is something about the characters and storyline that is reminiscent of his work. Yet, it is no where near that gritty.
I enjoyed the characters and the storyline. I will definitely read the next book.
I love this book. Stick with it. May seem like a slow start, but I didn't want to turn it off. It's funny, dark and wonderful. It's different and it kept me guessing. Not the typical fantasy. Original characters and world. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
If you like grimdark fantasy at all, you will likely love these books. The characters are flawed, well-rounded, and brought to life by one of the best narrators I've ever heard. It's got a touch of the Weird in it's world building, a deliciously evil twist on the Catholic Church in it's Burnished Chain religion, revenge, battle, double-crossing villainy, etc. What's not to love?
Overall not a very engaging listen. Maybe it is because i just came off of the second book of the Cycle of Galand, which is dynamite. But i don't find the characters to be at all compelling. I was expecting to based on most of the reviews. I gave it 4 hours but had to return it.
The narrator was actually pretty good. She kept me into the story maybe an hour or two longer than i would have otherwise.
Loved the narrator, really brings life to the characters. Lots of flawed characters,good dark fantasy for adults.
Great start to new trilogy! Lots of great characters, plenty action and mystery, and just enough betrayal to make this book well with the time and money spent!
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