I hang my head in shame. I bumped this book up on my to-read list. I’ve had just the most amazing streak of incredible books lately that I wasn’t ready to test the waters this weekend. I wanted an author I trusted; one I felt confident could take me someplace full of adventure with a group of characters I could enjoy. Of course, White did not disappoint. I’ve said it in every review I’ve done for one of his books: I love his writing. It’s easy to follow, but not dumbed down, and there’s guaranteed to be at least one character to entertain me. In this book it was Thaddeus and Lynette. Now, to keep confusion down, I will refer to the author as White since there is a character in the book named Thaddeus, which happens to be my favorite.
Unlike Bane of Souls, this book takes us on a journey (ha... fits the title nicely) to the lost city of Altmortis. The group of characters we go on our adventure with are entertaining and diverse. I have quite a few I liked in this book, but Thaddeus was by far my favorite, for me anyways. He has a likable quality without being overly “good.” An odd thing to say, I know, but it’s the truth. I’ve never been so fond of a thief before, and he has no intention of cleaning up his act. Again, a realistic character that is likable and one you could imagine yourself sitting at a bar with while drinking and laughing away the hours. I also enjoyed the character of Fritigern quite a bit. Pretty Pierre was another great one. And Anja. Oh hell, I enjoyed them all!
The story itself was just fine in the beginning and I found myself entertained rather quickly. That said, I wasn’t thoroughly engrossed until I hit about 50%. Then I was lost. I cared not the hour nor who was around nor did I bother to answer my phone. It was a wild ride and I just couldn’t tear myself away. I. LOVED. IT. The ending was a rush of exciting fights and creatures. I never realized how subtly White was building the tension until I had bitten off a fingernail (a nasty habit I’ve broken for over 3 months... that is, until this book. Shame on you, Mr. White). Even more so, the little tastes of humor were my favorite. First few lines that got a smile from me? Well that would be:
“Did you have to headbutt her?” Athanaric complained, pointing at the woman. “She was such a pretty thing.”
“Kicking her in the groin would have been ungallant.” [Fritigern]
That was in the first chapter. Love it.
The places we traveled to were described wonderfully and immersed me in the scene with all my senses firing away. It was different from Bane of Souls but, for me, in a good way. This moved along with much less history and kept my attention throughout.
To conclude my ramblings, I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy. You don’t have to read Bane of Souls first, though I do recommend it. And if you haven’t done so, pick up Sir Edric’s Temple. It’s still my favorite of White’s work, though this gave it a run for its money. I’m anxiously awaiting his next book, regardless of the world it is set in.