cover image Child of a Mad God

Child of a Mad God

R.A. Salvatore. Tor, $25.99 (496p) ISBN 978-0-7653-9527-6

Lackluster worldbuilding, characters, and prose are major minuses in the first volume of Salvatore’s latest fantasy series set in the DemonWars Saga universe. No knowledge of prior books is necessary to follow the story, but only readers who already have some emotional investment in the world of Corona are likely to care about yet another magical character’s coming-of-age. The lead is Aoleyn, an orphan who is first introduced as a three-year-old and gradually learns that she has special powers, including levitation. This leads to a predictable confrontation with a powerful force of evil. There is no real depth to her development, and Salvatore’s attempt to amp things up with gore and sexual violence is gratuitous. Excessive use of exclamation points and odd name choices are also distractions. There’s nothing here that hasn’t been done better elsewhere. (Feb.)