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An immersive and ambitious new series from the Aurealis Award winning author of A Crucible of Souls.

A corrupted power stirs from beyond the grave.
A sacred order of knights sworn to protect the world from evil.
The Necromancer Queen will rise again.

Seventeen years have passed since the Necromancer Queen Talia was overthrown and slain, and her capital city destroyed by the Knights of the Order of Eternal Vigilance.

Anskar DeVantte, raised in the sacred disciplines of the Order, is now ready to face the brutal initiation trials to become a consecrated knight-sorcerer.

But the further Anskar rises in the ranks the more his faith wavers, and he is beset by harrowing dreams and uncertainty. As troubling powers awaken within him, a schism grows between Anskar and his hallowed Order, and he draws the hungry gaze of the vanquished queen’s fanatical followers.

As Anskar pieces together the mysteries of his early life, and begins to understand the malevolent forces gathering in his path, he finds himself with a crucial choice to make:

Remain loyal to the Order’s righteous mission, or control the dark powers growing within him.

Either way, his destiny is steeped in war. The only question is, which side will he be on?

500 pages, Kindle Edition

First published August 1, 2020

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About the author

Mitchell Hogan

27 books910 followers
*** Signup to Mitchell's New Release mailing list to be the first to hear about new releases, and for bonus chapters of A Crucible of Souls! ***

When he was eleven, Mitchell Hogan was given the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to read, and a love of fantasy novels was born. He spent the next ten years reading, rolling dice, and playing computer games, with some school and university thrown in. Along the way he accumulated numerous bookcases' worth of fantasy and sci-fi novels and doesn’t look to stop anytime soon.

His first attempt at writing fantasy was an abysmal failure and abandoned after only one page. But ideas for characters and scenes continued to come to him and he kept detailed notes of his thoughts, on the off chance that one day he might have time to write a novel. For a decade he put off his dream of writing until he couldn’t stand it anymore. He knew he would regret not having tried to write the novel percolating inside his head for the rest of his life. Mitchell quit his job and lived off dwindling savings, and the support of his fiancé, until he finished the first draft of A Crucible of Souls.

He now writes full time and is eternally grateful to the readers who took a chance on an unknown author.

A Crucible of Souls won the 2013 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel.

Mitchell lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife, Angela, and daughters, Isabelle and Charlotte.

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5 stars
276 (41%)
4 stars
259 (39%)
3 stars
92 (13%)
2 stars
23 (3%)
1 star
11 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 80 reviews
August 8, 2020
I liked this book even though I didn't expect to. There is an element of mystery present around the death of necromancer queen and her daughter which keeps the reader engaged and gripped till the end. The premise of knights in training and a confused boy who when starts to experience weird insticts starts to question everything he has known and also there's an intriguing mystery around him. The romance wasn't the major focus yet it was well written and kept me vouching for the couple. There was a plot twist I could feel in my heart but mind wasn't accepting but good lord, my gut feeling was right!

I really thought that the book was very well written and I got some of the answers I needed, made it worth the read. I will definitely pick up the next book as this book actually made me crave more of this world and the mystery which tbh very few books have managed to make me feel. This book was provided to me by the publisher(s) in exchange for an honest review for free.
Profile Image for Laura.
1,019 reviews13 followers
May 17, 2021
4.5 dark stars

My first book by Mitchell Hogan and it will definitely not be the last.

Incursion is a sweeping dark fantasy with religious undertones and a chilling mysterious atmosphere that will have any reader in it's grip from the very first page.

At heart, it is the tale of Anskar DeVantte, a half-blood orphan raised in the sacred disciplines of the Order of Eternal Vigilance. At 16 years of age, he is about to face the brutal initiation trials to become a consecrated knight-sorcerer and join the ranks of the Order that cared for him. Becoming a Knight of the Order, sworn to protect the world from evil, has always been Anskar's dream and he would do his damnedest to prove he's the best.

'That was the difference between Anskar and the other novices: they wanted to be knights. He wanted to be the best.'

Lacking neither faith nor strength, he is determined to prove to the world, as well as himself, that a half-blood like him is worthy of the highest honour. But the further Anskar rises in the ranks, the more his faith wavers, and uncertainty starts plaguing him, alongside harrowing nightmares. As troubling powers awaken within him, a schism grows between Anskar and his hallowed Order, and he finds himself smack down in the middle of a terrifying battle for power in between forces he cannot fully understand.
The fanatical followers of a vanquished Necromancer Queen have set their sights on Anskar, while the Order may frown upon his unconventional use of sorcery and sets him duties increasingly harder to perform.

As Anskar slowly starts to realise his legacy and come to terms with the dark powers growing within him, he will be forced to make a choice. Follow the righteous path of the Order or embrace the darkness within himself.
Not an easy choice to make, especially since more than Anskar's life hang in the balance. A terrible war is coming, and Anskar will be forced to take a side.

Beautifully written and nicely flowing despite the larger page count, Incursion deftly entwines magic and necromancy, religion and politics, loyalty and betrayal, duty and feeling, mystery, friendship and even love into an epic dark tale that will appeal to any dark fantasy fan out there.

The plot is solid and sprinkled with little twists that you may or may not see coming, while the setting is vivid and the descriptions fabulous. From smithing to fighting, from magic to trials, everything is excellently described and perfectly flowing.
The gore is first-rate and at times a bit surprisingly weird, in a very cool kind of way. The edge of the seat horrific kind.
The necromancy aspect is delightfully creepy, the magic wonderfully intriguing, while the faith has a certain chilling mysterious atmosphere that reminded me somewhat of Bujold's World of the Five Gods. Gruesome, raw, dark and absolutely fascinating.
The characters are wonderfully fleshed out and, despite being a bit tropey, their development is superb. Secondary cast included.
But what made this book truly stand out for me were the themes embedded within, as well as the whole spectrum of feelings accompanying them.

'So what if her culture had been beaten out of her? It was an act of mercy. The Order was simply doing Mensela's will.'

Duty versus feeling and love, right versus wrong, good versus evil and so on. There is no simple right or wrong in this tale. No simple case of black and white, but a whole load of different shades of grey in between, that reek of half-truths and compromises. We get hope hanging on a thread, beliefs challenged or upended, lies within lies and achievements tainted with shame, rage and indignation. A whole spectrum of themes and emotions each one stronger than the other. And they were a delight to read about.

The only thing I've got to grumble about is that the pace felt a tad too slow at times. Due to the detailed descriptions of the trials for example, the reader will get the feeling full chapters fly by with no much action per se. And that is also the reason it didn't get a full 5 stars from me.

Apart from that however, Incursion is a fabulous read that I highly recommend to all dark fantasy fans out there. Especially those who, just like me, enjoy the different shades of grey in between.
Profile Image for Mitchell Hogan.
Author 27 books910 followers
June 24, 2020
Update 19th June 2020: Great news! Audible have selected the brilliant Michael Kramer as narrator for the audiobook. Although this means pushing the release date out two weeks until 7th July.

Update 16th May 2020: Audible have approached a narrator, and just quietly if he agrees I think you'll be very pleased! I received the IngramSpark print proof and it looks fantastic. Having a print book in your hand somehow makes everything more real.

Update 9th May 2020: Print and ebook files all uploaded and ready to go! Just waiting on final confirmation from Audible of their release date. It's getting exciting!

Update 29th April 2020: ARCs sent out yesterday!

Update 25th April 2020: Tentative release date of 23rd June! But this is subject to change as Audible insert Incursion into their production process. This day has been a long time coming, as I finished the first draft of Incursion in January 2018. It has been a long, hard (and interesting...) process to get to this stage, but I am extremely happy with the result. I have a cover reveal locked in, so next update I'll post a link. This book is in the home stretch, and it's getting exciting!
Profile Image for Kahlia.
540 reviews37 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
August 27, 2020
I read up to the 35% mark (the first twelve chapters) before I sadly decided not to continue with this book. I should note from the outset that this wasn't a badly written book and I'm sure many other readers will genuinely really enjoy it, but it wasn't for me.

My main issue was that I found the plot very predictable, and felt like it rehashed a lot of tropes from the genre without really adding anything new. This is literally a book about an orphaned boy working in the stables, who attends an academy to learn magic and dreams of becoming a knight. Note that I love stories about necromancy, so the series title was a big part of what drew me to this book, but it only played a very minor role in the third of the book that I read.

I also felt like the story was a little too bloated - I didn't think the multi-page scenes of combat lessons or forging techniques really added a lot, and would have preferred to see that space spent advancing other aspects of the story. With so many books out there to read (and so little time), the story needed to do more to keep my interest.

On the plus side, I thought Carred was an interesting character and enjoyed what I did read of her story - her backstory with Queen Talia was a particular point of curiousity for me. I also thought the magic system had the potential to be a unique selling point - particularly the way that characters formed connections with the magic source - though I would have liked to have seen more regarding the purpose of having said magic.

Note: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for a review.
Profile Image for Pamela .
534 reviews28 followers
June 1, 2020

I’m so excited to see the first of another series encompassing the same world as “Revenant Winds” and “Shadow of the Exile”. I actually have a handle on the sorcery system now, with the dawn,dusk, darktides used, along with some of the old gods, such as Menselas, and the nasty demon lords like Nysrog. Most of all, I can’t help myself, but I love that reoccurring wraithe.
The story begins with the defeat of Queen Talia of Niyas, “The Necromancer Queen”. Her second in command, Capt. Carred Selenas remains waiting for a prophesy of the queen’s return to be fulfilled. For 16 years (as instructed) she has been waging small quick strikes against the occupiers, but resources and warriors are running low. Her tireless efforts could be rewarded when spies deliver hopeful news.
The occupiers are the Knights of the Order of Eternal Vigilance, answering to the Church of Menselas, God of the five aspects; Healer, The Mother, Elders, Warrior, and Death (Hooded One). As the story progresses though, seems there should be another aspect placed in the forefront of all of these, but I’ll let you figure that one out.
Within the wall of Niyas’ Branil’s Burg, young novices are taken in from surrounding territories to enter the training and trials to become a knight.
Anskar Devantte, brought here as a baby, parents and heritage unknown (to him anyway) was raised with the beliefs of Menselas, and now it’s time for the true trials of his faith to begin. Tormented by other novices competing in the trials such as Sareya (the Niyandrian girl brought here when her parents died), along with Orix, Naul, Clenna and Rhett, Anskar must first prove he’s worthy of becoming a peer, as well as a knight. As the trials progress though, the contests themselves weed out the weak, as other inner tests present themselves to Anskar with questions of his heritage, faith in the religion of the order, and even of his superiors that raised him. When he finally ventures outside the walls of Branil’s Burg, a new world is presented to him, looking quite different from the one presented to him in his sheltered life. Now with realizations taking place, he must decide his own path. Finding that path is very difficult when no one is willing to give you any answers, sending him on a quest in search for those answers.
A truly magical part of the book was a journey led by a crow, that totally picked me up and swept me into another place, frightening, but pulling me in, non-the-less. Intricate details from the battles, sword fighting, attacking dead eyes, forging a sword, use of different tides of sorcery, right down to the love of a favorite horse, added so much to the depth of the story. I never found myself bored or at a lull. The main characters were intriguing and well developed, with little hidden secrets left for our inquiring minds. Deceptive characters abound, with the granddaddy of them all at the book’s end.
A five star book in my opinion, looking forward to the next.
Profile Image for Mark.
Author 2 books92 followers
May 29, 2020
I’ve been reading Mitchell Hogan’s work for several years now, and the first thing that struck me about this novel was how much he has upped his game. I loved this!

I’ve always found Hogan’s writing on point, his characterisation excellent, and the breadth of his imagination to be everything I look for in a fantasy author. But in Incursion, he takes it to a new level. I needed to double-check that it was a Mitchell Hogan novel I was reading. Stylistically, Hogan has pushed himself to the next level, and I applauded him. This book was brilliantly crafted.

Sweeping in scope and epic in feel, this is the perfect novel for fans of Robert Jordan, Peter V. Brett and Brian Staveley.

You can read my full review herehere.
Profile Image for Rachel.
172 reviews6 followers
February 23, 2021
This book had so much potential, unfortunately it did not come to fruition. DNF at 25%.

I was expecting there to actually be necromancy in the book, maybe it came later? I could not get myself to care about the main character.

I just went in with too high of expectations, I will try to reread in a month or so.
Profile Image for Eddie.
204 reviews13 followers
March 12, 2023
Incursion - Michael Hogan
4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️’s
Incursion is a world with fantastical works with spiritual overtones and a creepy, ambiance that will enthrall any audience.

The Main protagonist is set to go through the gruesome initiation tests to become a consecrated knight-sorcerer and join the ranks of the Order.
The plot is solid and creative.
I really enjoyed this book 📕
Profile Image for Aly.
2,529 reviews
March 30, 2021
3.5 stars

I'm glad I grabbed the audiobook of this because it's pretty long and has some slow parts. It went by much faster by listening than if I'd read the ebook. I did think the plot was interesting as a whole, but it could have been shorter and there's not much necromancy in this despite the series title.

We follow two main characters in this, Anskar and Carred. The former is an orphan who was taken in by the Order and trained to become a knight and sorcerer. He's very proficient and the subject of jealousy and bullying because of it. He begins sort of dating Saraya, another skilled sorcerer in his group as they go through trials. Carred is a rebel who believes the Necromancer Queen will rise again and fights against the Order.

I thought Anskar was an okay character. He was mostly likeable, but occasionally he did something hurtful that made me angry. I did like that he questioned the Order and stopped blindly following their edicts. Carred is more fun and I appreciated that she was a fighter and would do anything for her cause.

The magic wasn't in this enough in my opinion. There's almost no necromancy and I wanted to know more about how magic worked and the things it can do. I assume this will come in the subsequent books, but it would have been nice to see the dead raised in this one.

A lot of action is reserved for the ending and things you thought are upended. There is no resolution and the story leaves you wanting more.

I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. Thank you to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for the copy.
Profile Image for Hasini | bibliosini.
439 reviews54 followers
September 7, 2021
Many thanks to NetGalley and the author for providing me with an advanced copy of Incursion in exchange for my honest review.

Full review on my blog.

I went in expecting an action-packed high fantasy with some heavy world-building, and Incursion by Mitchell Hogan did not disappoint! Though I was a bit put off by the beginning’s slow pace, the confusing romance and the pesky details at times, I was still thoroughly entertained by the story overall. I am excited to see more of the intricate world-building, the daring adventures and action as well as get some answers to all the questions Incursion left me with, in its sequel, so I can’t wait to pick it up!
Profile Image for Cheryl Ruckel.
3 reviews
May 10, 2020
The book begins with a familiar sort of preface for the fantasy genre. The characters were well-developed and felt quickly like old friends. There were many plot threads, and I was sure they would all soon merge into the larger story and create some gripping action scenes. Then I was certain that I had the major characters figured out and was watching the clues point the way. Of course, I was fooled right up until the last two chapters and I was again totally engaged in the story. Now I must know what happens in book 2 and beyond.

The author had led us into a world where magic, knights and honor abound. He explains how the magic is used, replenished; has multiple power sources and limitations. I was enthralled with how the characters discovered these nuances, and worked through them. As Anskar begins to question his existence, his mentors, his lineage, and all the myriad magical creatures he encounters, you can only imagine his frustration. He has no one he can trust to guide him and that makes it the crux of book 1. Anskar must find his own answers or determine who is to be trusted and what information he can believe in. That’s a tall order for someone who has been sheltered and given no answers.

I look forward to see him approach all the possibilities in his future, decide who he can trust, and where he will place his allegiance. This story has many possibilities and plots that will make it an excellent read and a thrill ride.
Profile Image for Ben.
1,024 reviews
May 3, 2020
I received an Advanced Reader copy of the book “ Incursion” in return for my reading time and an honest review.
Mitchell Hogan has written a masterful new dark fantasy novel “ Incursion.” He created a world where sorcery and dark magic are in conflict with sorcery of the Light wrapped up in a wholly believable and fascinating landscape. It has very good characters, both primary and
supporting. One has no trouble becoming absorbed into the storyline.
The prelude opens in the capital city of Nephor of where Thalia the Necromancer Queen of the Dead, is under siege by invading armies led by the combined Knights of the Order of Eternal Viligemce, who are determined to rid the world of a Queen they regard as a demon and evil witch.As the city wall is breached , as the enemy swarms over the defenders, Queen Thalia tells her lover , her captain of the guard, Carred Selenas that even though the kingdom falls, she will never die. Carred is instructed flee to fight another day and reclaim the throne for her secret child. With that , Thalia , witch, Queen, sorcerer, and necromancer, unleashes a spell against the invading army killing many invaders and most of her own forces, while destroying her city.

The central part of the story begins then, nearly twenty years later, in the stronghold city of Branil’s Burg in what used to be the kingdom of Queen Thalia where a group of young men and women are training to enter the ranks of the Noble Knights. Among them is a young Nyandrian woman, Saraya, one of the many children swept up by the Knights who wanted to keep under their control any child who might be the Queen’s lost heir. Another Knight in training is Anskar , a man raised from a orphan boy by the knights ( he is not one who bears the racial characteristics of a Nyandrian.) The book becomes their story as they receive training to be accepted into the Order. Are who they appear to be, or much more?
These two main characters become more interesting as the book proceeds; the reader gains greater insight into them, as they gain insight into themselves. As in any good fantasy, dark ,as “Incursion” is, or a book not so grim and violent, the believability created by the author is all important. His medieval society of armored knights co-existing with corpse-eaters, wraiths, and necromancers is very believable. It is one thing to have a knight create a spell to ward off arrows, but another to have a sorceror’s recently severed head speak. But in this book, Mr.Hogan makes it all real.
I thought that ” Incursion” is an excellent entry into the field of fantasy literature. I found myself reading through meals and well into the night. The writing is taut and clear and well edited. I’d do not recall the use of any swearing.( Cursing is another story- in the sense of casting spells, that is.)
I thought early on that Incursion would be a multi-volume series. From what I saw on his Amazon pages, Mitchell Hogan usually tells his tales in two volumes, so a reader hooked on the story does not face multiple volumes of epic waiting for a conclusion.
Cautions to the faint of heart: there is some romance and lovemaking, but no graphic sex. There is warfare, and when combat occurs, it is violent, bloody and weird.
Fully a five- star of the fantasy of the fantasy.

Profile Image for Lara :).
10 reviews3 followers
May 28, 2020
INCURSION is an amazing fantasy novel with a range of different themes. The storyline follows a few characters that are neither truly good nor evil. Carred is an amazing female lead, and I like her dynamic personality as well as the love interests she has through the book. Anskar matured nicely as things developed in the book and I have high hopes that some of the latter knots get tied in the storyline. The plot has been a little unpredictable and keeps me guessing. It seems like the more information we find out about the history of the world and characters, the more questions we ask! I really love how you can empathize with the different parties on both sides. Like many coming of age stories, the delusion of the "victors" being infallible gets questioned and keeps things spicy. The magic system is lovely and I like how dark and gritty the death magic and other scenes are written. The romance and sparks between the various characters keep the book interesting with their character development. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one and find out what happens!
Profile Image for Julia Sarene.
1,231 reviews130 followers
February 5, 2021
I loved Hogans Sorcery Ascendant series, and also the SciFi Crime mystery Inquisitor, so I was very excited to see this new series!

It is a bit darker than the first series, but not fully grimdark.
This book has a great mix of mystery, plenty of magic, adventures, , politics, friendships and something I especially enjoy: we get to accompany the main characters on a series of tests that include sword smithing for example.

The characters in this one drew me right in and I was happy to spend my time with them. At times they can be a bit tropey, but overall they were unique enough and kept growing into themselves. I enjoyed the mix of different personalities, races and talents and was quite hooked by their fates!

Another big plus for me was how there is no clear good or bad side - there's two sides to an ongoing conflict, and somehow you root for both or neither of them. I always enjoy the shades of grey much more than pure black and white stories.

The prose was quick and fluent and kept itself in teh background so you could fully dive into this new world and story.

The plot has a really nice mystery and coming with that some twists along the way that kept me on my toes while reading, and I am happy to say I didn't see all of them coming!

I personally could have done with less sex, as those scenes simply bore me, but they were mercifully short and there was much less of it in the second half.

All in all this was a really enjoyable and entertaining read, and I will definitely pick up the sequel as soon as it is out!

Also - a full 5 stars for the audible narration for those of the audio inclination!
June 26, 2021
I wanted to like this more than I did, but I found this book difficult to get into, I felt there was a lot of character building which is important, but it still felt a bit too much at times. If you enjoy a slow traditional fantasy I think you will enjoy this book more than I did, but if you want something with a bit more of a pace and some action, I think like me this isn’t for you.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
Profile Image for BookRascal.
178 reviews1 follower
February 19, 2022
When the mainland invades the Niyandrians Queen Talia known as the Necromancer Queen died fighting for the capital. Carred Selenas expects the Queen to return and leads a rebellion whilelooking for the Queens daughter that has been hidden from everyone including her. Anskar DeVantte is in training to become a Knight of Eternal Vigilance. He believes everything he has been told while being raised by the Order of Eternal Vigilance. As he gets older his powers are getting stronger and becoming darker than those around him. He starts questioning all he's been told about the Niyandrians and the Orders purpose in conquering them.

I really liked this book. It did have a twist at the end that I had already guessed but it wasn't the point of the story.
458 reviews393 followers
April 17, 2021
I was in the mood for something about the undead… not something modern like zombies, but something more along the lines of necromancy fantasy. I already had this on my TBR and audible library and it sounded like it would fit in perfectly with what I was craving.

This book is mostly focused on the journey of the main character, Anskar, but there is a side POV that’s more of a plot B and the two don’t have a lot of interaction until the end.

Anskar is training to be a Knight of the Order of Eternal Vigilance. He’s been training in the order for as long as he can remember, he doesn’t know who his parents are and he ended up living with the trainees of the Knights. He’s seventeen now, and at the beginning of the book he’s gearing up to take a trial to see if he’s ready to join the order for real. The trial has a series of tests of different skills to see if the trainee is worthy of being a Knight.

Carred is the leader of the Niyandrian rebellion, she’s taken up her dead Queen and lover’s cause to free the Niyandrian’s and win back the land that was taken from them. Queeb Talia is thought to have taken sorcery down a dark path and created an army of the undead…and in the end she blew herself up with an incredible show of magic to try and save her people. The Niyandrians lost the war anyway, and are now either enslaved or treated as third-class citizens. They are considered dirty, barbaric, and beneath contempt. There is a sharp contrast between the two cultures… the Niyandrians take a lot of lovers and have sex out in the open… whereas the Knights are punished severely for transgressions and sex is considered a taboo subject. The Knights have a sort of Catholic-esque religion where they believe in confessions cleansing the soul, piety, being humble etc. Sex and sexuality play a supporting role throughout the book, it’s kind of always there whether it’s being disparaged or encouraged… honestly I wasn’t a huge fan of that. It was oftentimes awkward… and there was one scene where Anskar was asking a woman to stop, that he didn’t find it funny she had tied him up… and then they ended up having sex anyway? I felt like it was a setup for a rape scene, and then it turned consensual which was a bit jarring.


Anskar is a very religious person who takes his God and his promises to said God seriously but he’s found out through the trial that he has access to something known as the Dark Tide and Dusk Tide…. which are different channels of magic. The Knights naturally only want their Order to use the Dawn Tide. Anskar is also deeply racist, he’s totally bought into the idea that Niyandrians aren’t “people” and should be grateful for the mercy of his people and that they are saving the Niyandrians through conversion. It makes him a pretty unlikeable character through much of the book. He has to deal with the fact this his Order may not really be what they say they are, and maybe the Niyandrian’s don’t deserve to be enslaved.

Corred has been visited by a Wraith that tells her that Queen Talia has an heir, and she’s set out to save her. Meanwhile… all the Niyandrian girls who match the age of the heir are being rounded up and killed, enslaved, or sent to the Order to be brainwashed.

The first half of the book was pretty slow. I think a lot could have been cut from the trials because they didn’t end up being as important as you’d think for the page time it took up, but the back half of the book was super quick. A little bit of re-arranging or cutting/adding from certain spots could have evened that out a bit.

The prose/writing itself was easygoing and flowed naturally. I would say this is a kind of book where the prose gets out of the way of the story rather than being a highlight – which is just fine depending on your preference, I don’t always want something poetic and flowery. The dialogue was well done, I never felt like it was over the top or thought to myself “who says that?” like I do with choppier back-and-forth between characters. I think things got a little predictable sometimes, but I was surprised a couple times throughout the story when certain characters bit the dust.

Overall I liked this book, but maybe I wasn’t the perfect target audience. I feel like I’ve read many books very similar to this and because of that it didn’t quite pull me in. There were a few other things as far as personal taste as well. I was not a fan at all of how the love interest showed her interest and how that relationship worked out in general. I’m not known as someone who really loves romances, so take that as you will. I liked the back half of the book a lot more than the first half, there was more going on, more undead, and it took a darker tone than the beginning.

I think this will appeal to people who are into the classic tropes… and maybe not to people who are tired of them. Anskar is an orphan of war, living with an Order that adopted him, there are training sequences, magic learning, mentors, dead parents, bullies among his peers, a forbidden love interest, hidden heirs etc. There’s a lot of magic that kept things interesting for me, and although I wish the undead played a larger role, I think this book was a setup for a lot more to come.

Plot: 11/15
Characters: 11/15
World Building: 11.5/15
Writing: 12.5/15
Pacing: 10/15
Originality: 7/15
Personal Enjoyment 5/10
Final Score: 68/100 or 3.4/5 stars
Profile Image for Reece.
367 reviews4 followers
May 15, 2021
ARC from NetGalley

This book was way too long. The twist at the end was easy to see coming. It wasn't badly written, it just started to lose me time and again because it dragged on. I also found Anskar's behaviour to be a bit all over the place. If he was meant to be battling inner demons or coming around to a new way of thinking, I'm not sure, but it made him seem wishy washy and not fully developed. If this book was condensed, it would have been a much better read.
Profile Image for Noam Wajnman.
17 reviews1 follower
May 23, 2020
Very promising new series!
I've read all Mitchell Hogan's books and loved them all and this one is no exception.
Incursion is a sword and sorcery type fantasy book but what sets it apart from most other books in the genre is the careful buildup of the world coupled with a quick paced story that never bores you. I like the magic system which is different and limited.
The characters are also likable and genuine but in the end the important thing for me is that the story is engaging. I really wanted to learn more and keep reading.
I am already looking forward to the next book in the series!
Profile Image for Drew Osburn.
189 reviews1 follower
September 9, 2022
Excellent world building and decent characters. It was obvious though that this book was all set up and had several parts that dragged.
Profile Image for Sophie.
11 reviews4 followers
May 28, 2021
ARC received from Netgalley

4/5 stars

Mitchell Hogan is able to create a great setting in this dark fantasy novel and I was here for it. It was very emotional, didn't make me cry but I was close. The plot was very intriguing and was nicely written, however, a bit dragging in some parts. I like the way that the book was able to discuss racism and colonialism in a fantasy setting and you find yourself in the characters and start to question yourself, your own mindset, your own upbringing.
The book follows two perspectives, however, I would have wished to see more from the perspective of Carred Selenas and hope that the sequel will show more from her as she is a very intriguing character.

Trigger Warning: Animal death (still not over it), character death and gore.
Profile Image for Karolina Libront.
139 reviews5 followers
March 12, 2022
Frankly I can’t believe the good rating. The story was so repetitive: poor orphan in a magical school turns out to be actually powerful. I was able to predict the main plot twist at page 20, no kidding. The characters are so generic.. the main guy is plain but there is a secret behind him, the main girl is mean (of course!) but good, there is a strict teacher and the vile leader of the organization… there are good rebels and bad bankers. This is a collection of most used fantasy lit trophies done over and over to complete boredom.
Profile Image for Alba Mellark Castro.
Author 3 books24 followers
August 10, 2020
ARC provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

I decided to read this book because of the necromancy, it is a kind of magic that I had read just a couple of times before and I was really interested in exploring it more. My first problem with Incursion is that, from the most part of the book, there isn't any necromancy and it kind of promises that with the premise and with the title of the series so I was a little disappointed while reading it.

This is the first installement in a new fantasy series called The Necromancer’s Key that starts off with the dead of The Necromancer Queen and her kingdom is taken by the Knights of the Order of the Eternal Vigilance. The main character, Anskar, has been training to become a knight and has to face some trials in order to achieve his goal.

Overall, I just found this book boring. I think that the plot has a lot of elements for me to like it but I didn’t connect with the execution of it and with the pacing. It took me a while to get through it and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected to. The twists didn’t surprise me and, in general, I kept reading because I wanted to finish me.

It hurts me a lot to say all of this because I think that this story had a huge potential to become one of my favorites but it didn’t work out for me and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean that you are not going to enjoy Incursion, it is my personal opinion and my experience reading it. If you are into fantasy with dark elements, characters with depth and great personalities and some mystery vibes, I think you might enjoy this story and I recommend that you give it a chance.

14 reviews1 follower
May 23, 2021
I kept getting pushed out of this book by unbelievable characters and finally gave up about 20% of the way through. Apparently it's just fine that half the members of this paladin order openly oppose its goals (and none of them seem to actually believe in their gods?).
34 reviews1 follower
June 20, 2020
Mitchell Hogan makes reviewing his ARCs so incredibly easy. I’d feel terrible if I didn’t like a book I was sent to review. Luckily, this has never been the case with Mr Hogan. All his work is excellent. Incursion is absolutely his best work to date. Not one second of it was boring, the character development is incredible, and the suspense is painful! I’m ready for book 2!! The Tainted Cabal world Hogan has build is really getting fleshed out with these books. Keep them coming Mitch!
Profile Image for Jenn.
347 reviews5 followers
March 14, 2021
DNF at 44%. Here's what happened: I forgot my Kindle at home, so I wasn't able to read this book for a day or so... and when it came time to pick it back up, I literally groaned at the idea of having to do so. That's when I knew this was a DNF.

It's very slow, there's almost no action, and I can't make myself care about the characters. No bueno.
Profile Image for Jayna.
53 reviews12 followers
March 17, 2021
Review for Incursion – Book # 1 of The Necromancer’s Key by Mitchell Hogan

My rating: 3 stars.

Thanks to NetGalley, publisher and author for access to this book.

This book took me approx. 2 weeks to finish. I was really hoping it would be an exciting read however I found it dragged on a bit more than I would have preferred until about half-way through. If you like a slow-burn you will probably enjoy this one, however if you need an action-packed story right from the start you may struggle. I do believe its worth the read as the twist at the end was quite interesting and may lure me to try the next book just to see what happens.

Plot Overview: The Necromance Queen Tahlia is lost to her people by the mainlanders and Knights of the Order of Eternal Vigilance. Her most loyal companion and lover must struggle alone with a rebel group for 17 years trying to ensure the secret heir of the Queen survives and to allow Queen Tahlia’s return. Meanwhile the Order of Eternal Vigilance take in youth from all over the continent to train and grow their ranks of Knights of the Order and continue the fight to ‘civilise’ the indigenous peoples. A young man Anskar has been raised by the Order of Eternal Vigilance almost his entire life and has always dreamed of becoming a Knight however the closer he gets to accomplishing that goal the more he experiences that creates conflict within himself about the righteousness of the order and its purpose, particularly its hypocritical stance on magic use.

If you are triggered by oppression of indigenous people there may be a few moments that are uncomfortable for you, but it is not focussed on for a large part of the story, rather bubbling away in the background.

As discussed above, I found this book difficult to get my teeth into until about chapter 25. Prior to that there was a lot of character building which is important, particularly in the first book of a series, but at times it did feel a bit arduous, and I found myself wondering when something exciting was going to happen. I did find the characters themselves enjoyable and having now finished the book believe that the next instalment in the series will be a bit more interesting.

For those readers who enjoy a slow burn or traditional fantasy I suspect you will enjoy this book, however if you are like myself who likes a lot of action and tend to read more urban fantasies it might be a struggle to get through the first half of the book. I do recommend pushing through as it has potential and as I said, picks up in the second half.

Overall, has potential and I hope the next book in the series will be even better.
Profile Image for Chris Grant.
3 reviews
July 2, 2020
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This book was a pleasant surprise for me. I adore another series by this author, the Exile trilogy, in which the third and final book has not yet come out. So I was naturally saddened by seeing another new series crop up, I knew I would have enjoyed it, but not be engrossed by it. I was wrong.

The prologue gripped me by the neck and forced me to read carefully, it was an effective setting of the story. It would be very wise to read carefully as the main story has beautifully effective twists and herrings of all shapes and sizes.

Anskar is training to be a Knight of the Order of Eternal Vigilance, he and his fellow trainees are the main spirit of the book. It is a coming-of-age story done right. The usual tropes and jokes are refreshingly not here, making it a solid read. All the characters are developed very well. Many fantasy books are heavily burdened by a large character count, whilst this one has quite a few they are all distinguishable.

If you have read Mitchells work before, you will be familiar with the world and the magic systems. But for first-time readers, everything is presented in a natural and understanding way to no disadvantage. There are no info-dumps on magic, politics and religion to be turned off on. Everything is handled brilliantly and meshes naturally with the story.

There are many secrets and mysteries set straight from the prologue that will keep you convinced that you have sussed out who is who. Only to be questioning yourself a few chapters later. I could not stop for the night in the final third of the book, I had to go to the end, wishing it wouldn’t end without answers. ( We thankfully get some, alongside more interesting questions for the next outing! )

As I mentioned above, I have read some of Mitchells work before, and I am a big fan. This has to be his best book yet, it is written marvelously well and did not find myself bored once. I am now eagerly awaiting the second book of this series with equal impatience, if not more.
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,112 reviews215 followers
March 30, 2021
I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Incursion was a long book. Long but definitely entertaining. I will admit that things did start off pretty slowly after the prologue for me. Which is weird because that's what initially sucked me in. I wanted to know more about this Queen and the Necromancers.

After that, we meet Anskar. He is currently living with the Order and is excited to go into their trials to become a consecrated knight-sorcerer. What a mouthful. Anskar was kind of naïve for most of this book. Which is understandable because he was abused a little bit by the Order and was put into this mindset of pleasing them.

Then you meet Sareya. She is also competing in the trials but she was a hot mess in the beginning. Then randomly her and Anskar were hooking up and I just kind of went with it. So it's safe to say that this book had romance but it wasn't the main focus. No, the training and fighting the rebels were. With a dash of finding the lost heir and the protector- which had my guessing two people throughout most of the book. The same two people too.

I feel like everyone has a secret within this book. Then there's a ton of Shady people and a bunch of manipulation that it was hard to keep track of who was using who. It was interesting to see what Anskar, Sareya and their little crew were going to do while on their own adventure because of what they are seeing with their own eyes. I about cried (and cringed) with a certain killing scene because the horses deserved better in my opinion.

In the end, the ending left me intrigued to see where the next book will take me. Especially since I know now who is who and why they are so important.
110 reviews1 follower
July 16, 2020
Interesting read.
The basic setup is that of a boy on the brink of maturity who is coming to the end of his Paladin training, with the protagonist going from having a very simple idea of what the rest of his life will entail to a state of turmoil as he discovers that he has a disquieting power.

Although that's a fairly standard setup Hogan manages to make his book stand out from the pack initially by focusing on the psychosexual. Our protagonist struggles between an earnest desire to keep his holy vows and his burgeoning sexuality whilst the book's primary female character is presented as someone who can only exert individual agency through sexual acts.
The second half of the book puts this into the background and instead focuses on holding the reader's attention through careful plotting where the twists and reveals are logical and yet well concealed enough to stop readers from guessing them ahead of time.

Thematically the book is somewhat of an anti-colonialist text as it tells the tale of a conquered people and how their way of life is gradually being erased in a cultural genocide conducted by their oppressors. There are clear parallels to real life colonialism here however the effect is somewhat diminished by the book's attempt to present a conflicted protagonist, for this approach lends to creating many members of the conquering faction who are treated in a sympathetic manner.
The most egregious of these is the protagonist's home fortress whose sincere nobility clashes horrendously with the outright evil of every other group of conquerors in the story.

The one big drawback is that this is an obvious book 1, serving to set up the journey the rest of the series will take rather than truly embarking on it itself. However the book is an easy and enjoyable enough of a read for this to not be a major detraction.
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