AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: https://www.lucasthorn.com/
PUBLISHED: December 5, 2013 (Self-published)
GENRE: Grimdark fantasy, Dark fantasy
For Nysta, outcast assassin from the ruthless city of Lostlight, trouble was no stranger. This time it came in the form of nine killers who made the mistake of leaving her alive. It was a mistake she was determined to make them regret.
Relying on brutality and violence, she ventured deep into the savage heart of the frozen wastes. Hate guided her every step and rage burned in every vengeful thought.
But there were worse things in the Deadlands than a band of treacherous mercenaries. Worse even than draug and their insatiable need for flesh. Evil had survived long enough to be called legend and it still walked its bitter path. A path which now led to her.
In its shadow, darkness would be unleashed. Unleashed to fight.
And fight again.
ALSO REVIEWED AT: Goodreads
I began reading this book with basically no knowledge of what I was in for, other than the author telling me, and I quote: “Prepare for blood, violence, blood, swearing elves, violence, blood…”. Obviously, this became a must-read for me and Thorn so graciously delivered on his promise.
This is a story that sheds light on the dark and consuming path of vengeance. On the pain and fear that fuel and bolster one’s resolve. On the worry of disappointing those you truly care for, those who always seem to find the good in you, regardless of your flaws. Yes, there’s coarse language. Yes, it’s gritty and stabby with buckets and buckets of blood and gore. But once you get past that hardened exterior, you’re left with an emotional tale of a woman’s trying journey after her husband is brutally taken from her.
Now that we have that out of the way, this story is BAD. ASS. We follow Nysta and the mage Chukshene as they navigate through a bleak and frozen wasteland in pursuit of the murderers of Nysta’s husband. This wasteland, aptly named the Deadlands, is the end-result of a long war between gods and is riddled with dangerous creatures and even more dangerous people. You can expect intense fight scenes, sheer destructive magic, secrets and peril lurking in every shadow, and nightmares of folklore past.
The gallows humor is strong with this one and Thorn’s pun game is on point. Call me crazy, but I actually love hitting a line that makes my eyes audibly roll into the back of my head. At the end of each chapter, a character always had some one-liner ready to go and I couldn’t help but picture Nysta or Chukshene breaking the fourth wall with raised eyebrows, goading me into immediately starting the next chapter. And that’s exactly what I did!
Speaking of Nysta and Chukshene, I really came to love these characters. Upon introduction, I was a bit unsure if I’d get into Nysta’s character, but as the story progressed and we gain more insight into her past and the truth behind the rough, unpolished edges, she quickly became one of my favorite female leads. While outwardly ruthless and relentless, she’s internally haunted by the ol’ familiar, all-too-human feeling of self-doubt that makes you view her in a completely different light. It also didn’t hurt that she’s a firm believer in the old adage “you can never have too many knives”. Chukshene…oh, Chukshene, Chukshene, Chukshene. What can I say? It’s always lovely when a character surprises you.
I really had a blast reading this one and cannot wait to continue my journey through the Deadlands – it looks like I have a lot of reading ahead of me! If you’re looking for something dark and violent and at times vulgar, then I highly suggest giving this a read. Onto book two!