Review of dark fantasy Deathless by Evan S Sullivan
The throne is bloodied. The city is empty. The kingdom beyond is dead and quiet.
A peasant thief creeps forth from where she has been hiding, bitter and determined to survive.
A young nobleman sets out, with plots and secrets as his armor, to save what is left of his family.
A holy knight burdened by failure descends from the mountains to defend the realm.
And all across this land so dark and full of nightmares, monstrous things watch from the shadows.
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THE FORTUNATE ONES (AND ALL THE DEVILS START TO FALL)
The day was bright and cold as it broke over Santyr.
The city was still and silent beneath the dawn, breathless where only months before the streets would have been loud with clamor at first light. Whispers of snow carried down the empty streets and nestled among the broken clay and shattered glass, to await the day to come that would surely melt it all away. Where the streets were clean of broken things, blood long dry colored the cobblestones.
Odenica crept cautiously forth from the Underway, hesitating with ears strained at every scrape of the stone slab that she pushed aside. Not a sound awaited her, as she climbed out of the narrow passage and emerged into the back alley of a neighborhood that until recently had been the Penny-Smithery. She took her bearings, breathed deeply of the clean air, and gestured to her sister below. She watched the area tensely as Talrien climbed, and kept her grip tight all the while on the leather-bound shard of iron that served as her only weapon. “Cover it back up,” she whispered, as Talrien pulled herself up above the stones. Her sister moved the slab more quietly than Odenica had done, despite her smaller stature. Odenica raised a dirtied finger to her lips once the passage was covered anew, and silence fell once again.
Well, I enjoyed this quite a bit, despite it being about war and undead things and lots of sad/angry people. Just goes to show that enjoyment can stem from sorrow. Seriously, though, this was written well, evoked a lot of emotion, and kept me turning pages. It was very much my kind of big fantasy with a world that feels expansive beyond the page, characters who grow and change while staying true to themselves, and a magic system that seems like it could be more than it is but doesn’t have to be.
It took me a bit to really get into the story, but once I did, I was off and running. I think my initial hesitation had to do with seeing a lot of angry characters but not the events that made them so angry. I heard a lot about the abuse that went on toward the lower classes before the book started, but I never saw any of it. So I spent some time wondering if it really was as bad as the characters made it out to be or if it was one of those “it was so terrible…except now is way worse, so maybe we overreacted” things. By the end, I definitely saw where the anger came from, but it would have been nice to get more of a sense for that earlier on.
Despite this one thing, I was hooked. The ending left room for a sequel, so if there’s more, I’m game. If not, I’m interested to see what else the author cooks up.
About Evan S Sullivan
Evan S. Sullivan is the author of a whole bunch of unfinished books that he hopes you will get to read some day. He lives in Ontario, Canada, with his (finally) fiancé, their very good dog, and their very just fine cat. Evan teaches university writing courses, and in his free time he plays the piano, replays his favorite videogames, and continues his 10-year wait for the next installment in his favorite book series to come out. He looks forward to traveling again soon and deciding which project to stress over for the next many years now that this one is finished.
CONNECT WITH EVAN
Evan S Sullivan will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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