Friday, February 7, 2014

A Review of Moon's Artifice-Tom Lloyd

Moon's ArtificeMoon's Artifice by Tom Lloyd
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Writing 4/5
Imagination 4/5
Plot 3.5/5
Setting 4/5
Characters 4/5

My Overall Enjoyment 3.5/5

From Goodreads-

Tom Lloyd kicks off a spectacular new fantasy series, perfect for fans of George R. R. Martin, Joe Abercrombie and, of course, Tom Lloyd!
In a quiet corner of the Imperial City, Investigator Narin discovers the result of his first potentially lethal mistake. Minutes later he makes a second.
After an unremarkable career Narin finally has the chance of promotion to the hallowed ranks of the Lawbringers - guardians of the Emperor's laws and bastions for justice in a world of brutal expediency. Joining that honoured body would be the culmination of a lifelong dream, but it couldn't possibly have come at a worse time. A chance encounter drags Narin into a plot of gods and monsters, spies and assassins, accompanied by a grief-stricken young woman, an old man haunted by the ghosts of his past and an assassin with no past.
On the cusp of an industrial age that threatens the warrior caste's rule, the Empire of a Hundred Houses awaits civil war between noble factions. Centuries of conquest has made the empire a brittle and bloated monster; constrained by tradition and crying out for change. To save his own life and those of untold thousands Narin must understand the key to it all - Moon's Artifice, the poison that could destroy an empire.
This book started extremely well and I was flying through the pages. Very good writing, good starting pace, and excellent character and world development. It setting actually reminded me of Low Town, which I loved. It's essentially a relatively dark, fantasy detective story. Right from the start, it is obvious the author had a grand vision for this world. Very interesting caste system, and I like the concept of the Lawbringers. I also enjoyed the lore of the Gods, which was a bit different for me. My favorite character was Enchei, a total bad ass warrior from another generation and who is best friends with another main character Narin, who I did not enjoy very much, I thought he was a wimp. I didn't care for another character , Kesh, the female lead either. She is done well but her character is just something I have read too many times in the past. However, I have read many reviews praising her character, which was indeed well done.

The plot is strong, a crime/detective story to find out who is behind the Moon's Artifice poisonings, what is Moons's Artifice, and who is Irato, the man that was introduced to us before being pushed off a roof by a God. We learn who the "bad guys" are and get to know from them the reasons behind their actions. Also, there are guns, which is a unique element to this more traditional fantasy world.

Halfway through, this book started loosing me. I skimmed a bit from that point until the last 100 pages which was a great conclusion and answered a lot of questions. There is nothing I can point to in this book saying it's not a great book. It really is well done and I think most fantasy readers will enjoy it. I thought the line between good and evil was very clearly defined and I never doubted who was "good" and who was "bad". To me, that kind of pushes it out of Joe Abercrombie or George R.R. Martin territory and into the standard, or traditional, epic fantasy category rather than the grimdark fantasy which is very popular, as those two, and many other, authors prove.

Recommended for fantasy fans of all stripes and colors, especially flintlock and detective/crime fantasy. While I didn't love this book, I enjoyed it and felt it was very good, even excellent at times, but I'm not a huge fan or detective type stories and the middle was a little slow.

3 comments:

M. Mogsy said...

I've read the first book of Tom Lloyd's Twilight Reign, The Stormcaller. Before continuing with that series I'm actually considering checking out this book first though. I think I would like a detective story a little more, plus your description reminds me a little of one of his short stories in his God Tattoo anthology. Anyway, nice review, it's got my interest piqued even more.

BiblioSanctum said...

I've read the first book of Tom Lloyd's Twilight Reign, The Stormcaller. Before continuing with that series I'm actually considering checking out this book first though. I think I would like a detective story a little more, plus your description reminds me a little of one of his short stories in his God Tattoo anthology. Anyway, nice review, it's got my interest piqued even more.

philip witvliet said...

If you like fantasy and detective stories I think you would really enjoy this. Look into Drakenfeld by Mark Charon Newton as well. It's similar in style and although I have a copy, I haven't read it yet.