How can I describe this book?
I’d say it’s a sexier The Name of the Rose – with less monks – and with some cool fantasy magic.
The narrator of the book is Helena, an apprentice to Konrad Vonvalt. Through her eyes, we see how important events unfold. However, despite Helena, being the main point of view, Vonvalt is the character around which the story revolves.
Vonvalt is a well respected and feared Justice, charged with upholding the law and judging those who break it. The fantasy elements feature fairly soon – and we are introduced to ‘The Kings Voice’, a power held only by a Justice. This is a cool power, but as the book progresses we see that Vonvalt has other powers too.
The world is interesting. We start off in a newly conquered empire, where old kingdoms have now accepted the rule of the Emperor. We also have a religious order that seems to have grown by absorbing various pagan religions.
However, as with any newly conquered empire, those who have been conquered are not all happy with their lot – and religious zealots may not be happy that their religion is being applied liberally to entice new members. With such discontent, laws are sure to be broken.
Here enters, Vonvalt, the Kings Justice, charged with solving the mystery of who murdered a noble lady from a wealthy town. But murder isn’t the only crime here – a much bigger game is at play.
Helena, our narrator, is an intriguing character. Young but not naive, she is being trained by Vonvalt, who is an enigma, even to her. As events unfold, she is able to discover the truth behind the crime, but also the effect that life as a Justice is having on her mentor. This, for me, was the most interesting part of the book. The psychological toll of having such sought after powers is delved into, as is who deserves to have such mighty gifts.
I finished this book very quickly, and even at 414 pages, I feel the story has barely started. I’m very excited to see what happens in book 2 – and to see how Vonvalt plays his next move.
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I’d definitely recommend this book to fans of The Pariah by Anthony Ryan and for fans of thought-provoking epic fantasy.
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