The Gallows Gem of Prallyn by Ian H. McKinley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The worldbuilding and depth of the characters in this novel gives me the epic sprawl I'm used to in the very best epic fantasies. Lots of unique characters broken well outside of the cages of cliche, with each on an arc of growth, discovery, and quickly into a tapestry of huge change across the world being built.
The city is full of corrupt clergy, and rather than being a light romp, the author gives every character a beating heart and a chance to say their peace. We're treated to a big sweep of change, cast along the turbulent waters of revolution, freedom, and a lot of attention to detail.
I'm quite impressed with the tight prose and energy. Nothing happens overnight and the build-up is rather explosive.
In the acknowledgments, I'm actually rather impressed. It might have begun out of a gaming session, but almost nothing about it resembles an actual gaming session. It's a lot more like a careful sprawling epic fantasy a-la Jordan or Erikson rather than Weis and Hickman.
I can very much vouch for some great quality fantasy here. No blowout magics. Rather, a choice and subtle magic that lies in the dreams, the mind, and deep inside the city. :) No spoilers, but I dug it. :)
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