cover image Vengeance: 
The Tainted Realm, Book 1

Vengeance: The Tainted Realm, Book 1

Ian Irvine. Orbit, $14.99 trade paper (688p) ISBN 978-0-316-07284-7

Some 100 noble children from Hightspall were taken hostage in underground Cython, and they and their descendants were enslaved. A thousand years later, one of these descendants, Tali vi Torgist, is born with the same magical powers that got her mother killed, and is determined not to suffer the same fate. When Tali escapes to Hightspall, she finds her life endangered by both magical prophecies and brutal commercial interests. Although Irvine tells a satisfying story, the pacing is uneven, detailing Tali’s ordeals in slavery and her friends’ bickering at exhaustive length while spending little time on the book’s climactic scenes. The epic fantasy jarringly switches gears for a fight with a naked shape-shifter, used as an excuse for out-of-place juvenile sexual humor. Despite these flaws and clichés such as Tali being referred to as the One, this solidly readable work will appeal to less discerning fantasy fans. (Apr.)