Malice

John Gwynne. Orbit, $16 trade paper (628p) ISBN 978-0-316-39973-9
Gwynne’s ambitious and well-constructed high-fantasy debut accelerates past a sluggish beginning to provide ample intrigue and action. The Banished Lands , a loosely allied collection of kingdoms, is viewed through multiple perspectives, but while Gwynne goes to great effort to connect readers to his primary characters, at times they are difficult to tell apart because of similar traits and missions. A prophecy of a coming war converges story threads, hinting at who will be faithful and who will fall. Ambitions lead to treachery, throats begin to be slashed, and prominent players are not spared from the bloodletting. Although written in a workmanlike style with scant flourish, the book is clearly influenced by epic series such as A Song of Ice and Fire, the Wheel of Time, and the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Having established the world and characters, the novel concludes on firm footing, with the promise of a rousing and rewarding epic to come. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 04/13/2015
Release date: 12/01/2013
Open Ebook - 640 pages - 978-0-316-39971-5
Open Ebook - 513 pages - 978-0-316-37126-1
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