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Heirs of the Demon King: Uprising Review

March 13, 2015

A repost of the review for a very good Fantasy novel by Sarah Cawkwell. Worth a read for the second half changing up of events as outlined below. Some editing has been done to remove the hocking of the book via a sponsored link (though I’m sure the author may have preferred it remain!), but otherwise it’s intact.

I’d heard of Sarah Caheirs-of-a-demon-king-uprisingwkwell from her work before with the Black Library and the very good short story from Fox Spirit Publishing, but until this point I had never read one of her full length novels. Her first non franchise published book, I was eager to read it as I had heard very good things. I wasn’t disappointed.

Heirs of the Demon King: Uprising imagines a history where at the Battle of Bosworth, Richard III sold his and his descendants’ souls to the Devil in order to win. We catch up with one of them, Richard V, as he tries to squeeze the last traces of magic from England. It’s his puritanical desire to do this that sets off the events of the book and how we meet our protagonists Mathias and Tagan, two lovers who suddenly have the fate of England thrust upon them. Together they are sent on an ill defined quest to reunite the elemental powers of Europe to try and stop the rise of the Devil himself.

Let’s get the preliminaries out of the way first; Uprising is a wonderful book. If you want to avoid any accidental spoilers just buy it already. For the rest of you who need more convincing, read on.

As Mathias and Tagan travel through Europe the novel begins to unfold its various layers, it becomes more than just your typical swords and sorcery book. The characters met along the way, from a swashbuckling water god to a grouchy earth elemental, are characters that bounce well off one another and make the journey a very enjoyable one, even if by the end it feels the need to have a pyrotechnic finale that, to me at least, seemed a little unnecessary and not really in keeping with the rest of the book.

It’s in Mathias and Tagan that I personally found the most interesting parts of the book. The events, be them a metaphor for one person outgrowing the other in a relationship, or just an incidental event, were pretty powerful. Reading a few other people’s reviews actually surprised that Tagen isn’t touched upon more, as she’s the best character of the book.

Its also a nice twist to slowly discover that whilst Mathias (your generic white dude that typically stars in most fantasy novels) may be the protagonist to start with, by the end of the book its no longer really his story, relegated as he is to more of a passive observer to powers greater than him.

These interesting changes to a book that could have fallen into the easy role of playing it safe made it stand out for me. It boosted the book much higher in my esteem too. If you want a book that isn’t just your average romp around a fantasy kingdom by a band of rouges and the predetermined Destined One, check this out.

Cover image courtesy of Abaddon. 

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From → Books, Reviews

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