I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.
The Misery is a place you only go to if you’re stupid or have a death sentence. Luckily for Ryhalt Galharrow he’s too drunk to fully use his intellect and doesn’t have a lot to live for. He spends his days fulfilling contracts set by the Prince to bring in traitors or take down those who conspire against their way of life. Their way of life is that of constant turmoil, waiting for the day that the Deep Kings rise up with their army of drudge and take down all that they know. With their own faceless Gods failing to make an appearance what happens when their only weapon is deemed unusable? Broken? Thus begins a novel that has the makings of subterfuge and treachery from Game of Thrones mixed with plot twists and reveals that will leave you questioning all that has happened previously.
While it may have taken me a while to finish this book do not mistake that for it being difficult because it really isn’t. Action fills most pages with enough lore and history drip fed throughout to help with the readers understanding of what is happening. From the beginning of the novel I was already thinking about whom the traitors could be and how it all linked together. The book ploughs forward to its surprising yet ingenious conclusion.
Ryhalt is a brilliant character. Not only a Captain he is a Blackwing, a person who answers not only to the Prince but one of the Nameless, Crowfoot. A God to those who wish to see it as one, a misery to those who know otherwise. There is a lot of mystery with Ryhalt and how he is linked to Ezabeth Tanza, a lady of wealth who he is charged to protect. His past is revealed as the novel progresses and as such I certainly felt a connection to him. Ezabeth, however, I did not.
The book could have worked well without their love interest and it felt like it was in there to fulfil a requirement. I felt nothing for Ezabeth, throughout she is distant and doesn’t really connect to the reader. Even though she is a leading character within the novel I think more could have been done to make her more three dimensional. Small acts of emotion instead of bland encounters would have made her seem more human to me.
The lore in the book can be confusing and at the beginning I was unsure if I would be able to follow it all, but McDonald writes with a clear sense of purpose which helped me put my faith in what I was reading. As I mentioned before the lore is fed throughout the novel, sometimes they do seem like info-dumps but enough is drip fed for it not to bog down the text. Now I wish to know more about it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and am extremely glad I read it when I did. With most fantasy going the same was as Game of Thrones it was nice to see it from a ‘grunt’s’ point of view without politics playing too much of a demanding role. I would recommend you all to buy this book when it is published later this month, you will not be able to put it down.
This book is due to be published by Gollancz on the 20th July.