Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Empire of Saviours by AJ Dalton

review by Maryom

In earlier times, past anyone's remembering, the Saviours rescued the People from the forces of Chaos, built fortified towns to protect them and stationed Heroes on the walls to keep out the pagan magick-users who would let Chaos loose on the world again .......  or so the Saviours would have the People believe.
Jillan has lived all his 13 years in such a walled town, Godsend, fearing the unleashing of magick, expecting to have the last elements of it 'drawn' from him as he reaches adulthood. Unfortunately for him, a fight with the school bully leads to him using magick, and the whole town turns against him.

Since I've been writing this review blog I don't seem to have read as much scifi/fantasy as I used to, but I do like it (after all I grew up with Star Trek)  so when I spotted this author give-away on Twitter, I put my hand up straight away.

Empire of the Saviours is a fantasy read on truly epic proportions as it involves everyone from mere humans, through Saints, to the omniscient Saviours who behave at times like a bunch of Greek Gods, directing human actions for their own ends - more of which I think will be revealed in further books.

Fantasy novels are generally long, and even then part of a trilogy or longer series, so although I found it a little slow to get going, with lots of characters being introduced one after the other, that's sort of to be expected. Once the story got going and it became apparent how the various threads interacted, I really enjoyed it. Jillan soon discovers that the world outside his town isn't quite as he's been led to believe, that magick isn't the evil he thought it was and that it can be used for good. Gathering supporters along the way, he realises that he can't just keep running away but must turn and face those seeking to destroy him. It all leads to an enormous battle in which the Saints take over the townspeople's minds - I'm really hoping it's not just me who thought of the final Winchester scene from Shaun of the Dead.

What stops it from getting a five star rating is that I didn't feel engaged with the main characters -  perhaps because Jillan fills that youngster-just-coming-into-his powers role that occurs so often in fantasy, and Aspin seems to fulfil the hero's side-kick role and little else;hopefully they'll both develop with the series. Oddly I found the supporting characters more interesting than the main protagonists - Torpeth a strange comic wise man; Freda, a woman suffering from a disease that has changed her almost into the rock which is her home; and the various bickering, position-jostling Saints and Saviours.

A great new fantasy find.

Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - Gollancz

Genre - Fantasy

Buy Empire of the Saviours (Chronicles of/Cosmic Warlord 1) from Amazon

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