Science fiction and fantasy
The Iron Ghost
by Jen Williams
The contrasting characters in this story balance the tensions of the plot nicely. Sir Sebastian, perpetually haunted by guilt and his personal issues, resisting all temptation to relax and follow his desires. Wydrin is careless and carefree, always ready for reckless adventure. Lord Frith meanwhile is brooding and responsible. The spicy banter flows freely between them as the action gathers pace.
There's quite a large cast of characters amongst the two warring groups, and within them a certain nuance develops in the way various people deal with the conflict and also the challenge of a crazy mage on the loose. There are villains in The Iron Ghost, but they are rare, outnumbered by more interesting characters who are navigating the war more thoughtfully. Yet in this frozen northern land rigid, insular cultures clash over extreme views and old-fashioned xenophobic ideas.
Any romance in this novel tends to be sweet, blossoming with awkwardness between characters and leading on to pretty coy, closed door results. Love is there, but it's not the main focus.
It's a story told from several different points of view, not so many as to be overwhelming or confusing, but enough to suggest the epic scale of this adventure. There are some great transitions between the scenes to enjoy. The stakes are high, and so is the body count, but because we're dealing with mages almost anything can happen. When reading this, you can expect to feel certain emotions strongly. It's heavy on thrills, wonderment, and pulse-racing excitement, an escapist fantasy with smart characters who are easy to warm to.
1st January 2022
If you like this, try:Rat Queens Volume One: Sass And Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch
A group of young women would rather get drunk and slay trolls than call their parents. A graphic novel.
Review © Ros Jackson