Thursday, December 7, 2017

Book Review - Tome of the Undergates

Book - Tome of the Undergates
Writer - Sam Sykes  
Series - Aeons' Gate #1 
Published By - Gollancz / Pyr

Let me begin this review with a fair warning, this one is not something everyone will enjoy. If you are a fan of epic fantasy with a sprawling world and lots of interesting races and characters this book is not for you. If you are fan of grimdark fantasy with tragic heroes and super serious, gritty fight scenes please look elsewhere. If you like the author to hold your hand while he introduces the world and its inhabitants and has a delicate prose style that will relax you, no chance, turn away please.

Based on my first paragraph you guys are probably thinking that I hated the book. But guess again I really loved this book. It is definitely my kind of fantasy. This is an original, yet unorthodox story done in a unique and humorous style (which is quite lacking in epic fantasy, if you ask me). And the main selling point for it was that while reading the novel, it was literally possible to palpate the author's passion for his story and characters. This is a book done by a writer who loves to write and he wrote the story he loved while having quite a lot of fun telling each and every moment of the tale.  

The book is filled with over the top dialogue sequences which often makes the reader quite disoriented and even forget what was actually happening in the story. This might be quite off putting for some, but I myself thoroughly enjoyed and was swept in the flow. In fact, I loved these characters so much I even wondered if there would be any pairing and what will the banter turn into then. The band of adventurers is quite selfish and morally bankrupt yet I was rooting for each and every one of them all through the book. Lenk's struggle to keep his group from killing each other was quite hilarious despite some gruesome action sequences. And this ability to mix humor with grimdark fantasy can only be achieved by a unique talent like Sam Sykes.

The main story is quite bare bone actually and the book could have been done with a lot less pages some people would like to argue, but for me, I would have enjoyed twice the more length if it meant being able to enjoy more banter from these characters. The swift and unpredictable change in viewpoints did need a bit of getting used to though, but it was well worth the reward.

Overall, this was a unique and fun read to say the least. I finished the book so fast compared to its length and my usual reading pace and found that I immediately wanted to read more about Lenk and his band of adventurers just after finishing the book. What more can you ask from a book?

I will give this unique, one-of-a-kind gem 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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