AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: https://www.lucasthorn.com/
PUBLISHED: September 21, 2012 (Self-published)
GENRE: Grimdark fantasy, Dark fantasy
Blood will spill and the Shadowed Halls will take their savage toll as the elf called Nysta rushes toward her own possible death at the hands of the men who murdered her husband.
Still reeling from her confrontation with the mysterious Gaket, Nysta must summon all her strength to continue her pursuit of the Bloody Nine. Accompanied by the enigmatic warlock, Chukshene, she quickly finds herself battling even more of the insane creatures which haunt the Deadlands. This time, she’s facing a creature unlike any other. Mad with desire to resurrect its own lost god, it has made a wall of souls to surround its fortress of stone. A wall it’s eager to crown with Nysta’s head.
There are many chains in the Deadlands. But only one is strong enough to pull her to that final bloody confrontation where she will face Raste in a Duel at Grimwood Creek.
Second in an ongoing series, Duel at Grimwood Creek sees the return of the violent anti-heroine, Nysta, and lays the ground for what will be an epic journey across the Fnordic Lands.
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He was dead.
A memory. A ghost bound in ethereal chains within her head and heart.
And our journey for vengeance continues in Duel at Grimwood Creek. Nysta races across the unrelenting Deadlands to intercept Raste and rest of the Bloody Nine before they slip away without giving her the satisfaction of wetting her blades. With Chukshene in tow, there’s a whole new multitude of nightmarish encounters barring the way, but her resolve is stronger than the thickest and heaviest of chains. With monsters nipping at her heels and something alien lying in wait within, will Nysta make it to Grimwood Creek before it’s too late?
Grim’s balls, I love these books! So visceral, so cynical, and just completely saturated with black humor, yet when you peel away the skin and bone, there’s an unexpected beating heart brimming with raw emotion. Book two continues with focus on the sacrifices that must be made on the path to revenge and the hollow, insatiable emptiness that remains in the aftermath. We learn more of Nysta’s history and begin to fully understand why it’s so difficult for her to place her trust in others. Deep down she’s consumed by fear, but decides to use that fear as a weapon and refuses to let herself become a victim. This mindset forcefully propels her forward, often into situations where she must stare deep into the cold eyes of death and persevere.
Thorn’s writing style perfectly accentuates the genuine urgency of the current status of the world and all the horrors that are a result of a war between gods. The frequent choppy fragments are as sharp as a honed knife point (yes, I said it), building up the conflict to where you know chaos is about to erupt. And make no mistake, it surely does. The action is described in such brutal, minute detail, vividly painting a picture drenched in blood, to a point where you can almost taste the violence. It’s bold and unforgiving and there are no restraints on the stunning heights he’s willing to take his readers.
I don’t believe I can truly begin to convey how much fun this book is. The puns, the sass, the witty dialogue, the pop culture references. Not to mention the satisfaction when Nysta buries A Flaw in the Glass or Go With My Blessing into the throat of one those unsuspecting, smug bastards. But I digress. We partake in a dungeon crawl with a big baddie at the end of the line, witness the summoning of some pretty awe-inspiring demons, and find ourselves in conflicts with marauders, draug, and wisps, oh my. Jaw-dropping revelations and hidden secrets keep you fully invested and there is never a dull moment.
While Duel at Grimwood Creek concludes the original tale of Nysta’s vengeance, a larger story has begun to come into focus, perfectly leaving some threads to pick up in the next installment, which I plan to do very soon. I know I’ll have a blast diving into When Goblins Rage, as I’ve had with both books one and two, and I’m excited to see where Nysta and Chukshene take us next. If you’re in the mood for a merciless, bloody adventure, look no further, this series is what you want.