Hob’s Review of Revenant Winds by Mitchell Hogan

The Blurb.

In a world devastated by a series of cataclysms over millennia, where the followers of different gods vie for ascendancy, mankind carves out a precarious existence among the remnants of a desolated past. Cities and civilizations are built atop mysterious and ofttimes menacing ruins, and the unforgiving wilderness beyond is filled with inhuman creatures and races from before the dawn of history. Sorcery is seen by some as a gift of the gods, and by others as their curse. And the demon-ravaged past has all but been forgotten.

As a secret cabal schemes to awaken an evil thought defeated millennia ago, the lives of three unlikely heroes are fated to converge:

Aldric, a veteran priest and sorcerer, who seeks acceptance from the church that shuns him. On the brink of their approval, he receives a mission that brings him face to face with a long-buried evil.

Niklaus, master swordsman, and slave to his goddess, who plots to split the veil between life and death and ascend to become her equal.

Kurio, the runaway daughter of a noble family, now turned to thievery, who stumbles across a disturbing secret that binds her future to infernal designs.

Drawn toward a horrifying endgame by an unknown force, Aldric, Niklaus, and Kurio find themselves in a battle not only for their lives, but for the beliefs that have come to define them.

A wrong decision, an overreaching ambition, or the failure of an already tormented faith, is all it will take to plunge mankind into an eternal dark.

 

I received an E-ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influences what I say. As always, my opinions are completely my own.

I love the cover although it might not fly with some people, but only if they are fools. Ok that was a pretty bad joke even for me, but just let it pass. Sorry not sorry.

Gandalf_confronts_balrog

The truth is that is not the Balrog on the cover. Who it is though I am not sure. I believe it is supposed to Nysrog. The mega demon that almost ended humanity a few hundred or thousand years ago. But as he never actually makes an appearance in the book that is just a guess. The book is self-published and I must say it was extremely well edited as far as grammatical errors go, but it could use a bit of continuity tweaks. We all know that time is a wibbly wobbly thing. but there are 2 or 3 parts where it gets stretched and warped a bit confusingly to me. It’s not that big of a deal but each time it kind of threw my out of the story.

Revenant Winds takes place in a world of Gods and Demons magic and monsters. We experience this tale vicariously through 3 remarkably different POVs.

First is Aldric, a priest blessed by his god with healing powers but also blessed (or as he sees it cursed with Arcane magic ability and he hates that he must use his magic. He would rather work at the church using his god given healing ability. But even in a church that sees wizards as marginally better then demons he is forced to use his magic to safeguard ancient catacombs and burial sites from looters that might just bring demons out instead of gold. His introspection and self-pity made him unlikable at first. It took about 3/4th of the book before I started to like Aldric but he won me over in the end.

Next, we have Niklaus. He was my favorite character in the book by far. He is the chosen sword of a goddess and pretty much immortal. He has been roaming around running errands for his goddess for a very long time. How long is unclear but somewhere between 400 and 4,000 years. He is in love with his goddess (who is a total tease) and is looking for a way to become a god so they can be together.

 

Kurio is an interesting one. Born in to a noble family but abused by everyone she ran away and has been living as a thief making a decent bit of gold.

Now let’s look at the magic. Every sorcerer has a dawn and a dusk well of power. They will leak if not used but slowly and they are not usually the same size, so you might have to only fill the dawn well once a week and dusk every night.  To fill them they must be outside and meditating at sunset or sunrise. That part is well thought out and logical (if you can use that term for a fictional power) The actual using of the magic is pretty vague.  It is explained as a kind of mental math using equations as spells. They have little totems they carry with some of the equations on them to speed the process. That part just felt like a bit too much or not enough Handwavium. Other than that, I really liked the idea of this magic system.

Now let’s get back to Nysrog. He was a Demon that led armies to destroy humanity but he had his own human mages on his side. After he was sent back to the hells he came from, the human bad guys went into hiding vowing to re summon Ol’ Nys again. This is one of the wibbley wobbly timey wimey things I am not sure of. in the book the earth has been hit by 5 or 6 Cataclysms. And after each one humans rebuilt and then forgot what had caused it and even somehow managed to get new Gods. And I am pretty sure that the Cataclysms happened after Nys was here to party like it was 1999. Unless humans are able to build from the ground up then forget what made the world almost end really fast, Nys would need to have been gone a really long time. There are a few reasons that just conflict each other about the time line here but I don’t want to give spoilers as to why so I’ll just say I don’t think he has been gone that long.

The other main thing that made time seem to flow weird was when it took 4 days to get the horses and equipment ready to leave on an urgent mission to save a village. When they had the full backing of 2 churches the town guard and unlimited funds. That just seemed strange to me. I could literally go and gather a dozen horses, tack and gear for a week IN MY TOWN today in 2 hours tops. And although I do live in Payson, Arizona the town that is home to the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo (132 years) I wouldn’t think it would be much harder to get horses in a fantasy town

FINAL THOUGHTS

I really enjoyed the book It had some fresh ideas and good dialog and I look forward to the next one in the series. It may seem like kind of a harsh review but I am just nitpicking. I think the more inexperienced reader, or maybe just people that read less fantasy than I do wouldn’t be bothered by the strange movement of time or lack thereof. In the end, I am going to give Revenant Winds 3.75 stars.

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