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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Malice (The Vagrant, #2)The Malice by Peter Newman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't know what it was about this book, but it really hit all the right spots for me. What really blew me away the most was the absolutely gorgeous and disturbing descriptions of hoards of demons both friendly, neutral, and evil that roam the world. Truly mind-blowing.

This is an epic fantasy without hoards of heroes. This is a quest novel featuring a girl, her baby goat, and a couple of broken knights that guard her and the one sword that is anathema to all demons. Whereas the first novel with the Vagrant had an interesting "who is this guy" vibe, we know exactly who the baby grows up to be, and this is her journey. And what a journey.

I think I liked this about two times more than the first. Maybe the author is hitting his stride and maybe I've just fallen completely under his spell, but everything about this novel speaks to me of quality, from nearly lyrical and fabulous phrases that crystallize the horrors all around them to the depths of the characters' troubles to the reveals about the real history of the sword.

I loved the history something fierce. It's totally hard SF and it's truly fascinating to try to piece together how that world became this demon-infested wasteland of the present.

You know what this reminds me of? The best end scenes in all of the epic fantasies going up against horrid hoards and devilish demons, but rather than setting it up for a final climax, we get all that delicious goodness throughout the book, like a lot of icing in a LOT of layers in a cake. :) Yummy. And the fact that the real climax is one of PEACE is just as deliciously jarring and delightful, like spears of light and life through the darkest pits of hell. :)

This is really good stuff and I was reminded heavily of Jemisin's The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate for the feel and the hints and the need to piece together a truly awesome world. :)

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