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380 pages, Paperback
First published March 29, 2020
“Every day we do the things we think we have to do. So rarely do we stop to question our choices. We don’t even see deciding that we ‘have to do something’ is itself a choice. We blunder through life, writing our failures and excuses as we go, defending every choice with justifications made up after the fact. The truth is, we never really consider the consequences.”
“Hating all wizards for the actions of one or two is madness. If a woman breaks your heart, do you hate all women?”
“The past, I decided, was like that. Even the most cherished moments faded, became memories of memories, as we focused on the parts we liked, and forgot the rest. But where individual moments lacked clarity, knowledge was something different.
“There are gods and demons.
There are heavens and hells.
But there is no fate,
there is no force of destiny.
Only you can decide who you are.
Your actions will define you.”
"We fight to the end,” said the man. “To the death.”Phenomenal and highly immersive world-building, top notch characterisation, beautiful, poignant and macabre prose while at the same time self reflective due to the POV, and lastly, a solid magic system that fuses elements of speculative science all interwoven in a highly addictive plotline that keeps you wanting more after every single word uttered from my most beloved anti-hero.
The demon beside him nodded, wizened face sad.
Commands were sent out and the demonic host, bound in servitude to the demonologists, had no choice but to obey.
That night the Empire fell, and the world sank into a thousand years of darkness."
"Something was wrong with the old man; he wasn’t quite the right shape. His skull, a little too oblong, his limbs a little too long. He looked stretched. Eyes, too large, oddly oval, glowed violet as he studied me. He blinked wrong, liquid, one eye at a time."I would highly recommend this to readers of GrimDark Fantasy. Here are some beautiful quotes...
"The demon, in robes of ink, looked like a gaunt old man, bald, bent and near skeletal. “If we break that circle, it might crack the earth to its core. Lava. Ash in the sky for years.”
"Creatures called from a hundred different realities stood waiting. Massive beasts, some dwarfing even the Deredi giants, held formation beside winged nightmares from some distant hell. Many, hailing from closer realities looked human, differing only in some small detail. Purple skin, horns, claws, too many or two few fingers. With this army, he had bound the world under a single rule: His. And now, with this army, he would lose the world."
"You. Will. Obey!The explicit humor involved was a highly refreshing counter point to the deep existential dread, violence, gore, etc which the plot hinges on; The somewhat slow and fast pacing (towards the ending) was surprisingly helpful.
The water elemental cowered. It remembered me. It remembered how I brought it here, how I bent it to my will.
“Fill the bowl,” I commanded. “If I ask for water, you give it.”
I opened my eyes to find the bowl filled with cool, clear water. I drank until I puked.
Then I drank more.
“Better?” asked Nhil.
“Yes,” I answered, voice still raw.
“Good,” he said. “Because we have another problem.”
I lay back, belly distended. “What’s that?”
“You’re still going to starve to death before long.”
“Oh.” I released a long belch. “Fuck.”
"Evil.Another thing I found interesting was how the POV kept recovering his memory through dreams as visions of events millennia in the past as he continued recovering his shattered stone heart through walking the Obsidian Path.
I didn’t like that word. So judgemental. One man’s evil was another’s righteous. The world wasn’t black and white, right and wrong. That was what the wizard’s preached. Evil, like beauty, was in the eye of the beholder.
I was not evil.
Sure, but was there a way to sacrifice a soul that wasn’t evil?
There must be."
Who was I? The kind of person who thought only of themselves? The kind of person who abandoned those in need?
I realized I’d asked the wrong question. Why let my unknown past define me?
It wasn’t, ‘Who was I?’ but rather, ‘Who am I?’
And still, I hesitated.