Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Review of Scourge of the Betrayer-Jeff Salyards

Scourge of the Betrayer (Bloodsounder's Arc, #1)Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

My Overall Enjoyment 4.5/5

Goodreads description-
Many tales are told of the Syldoon Empire and its fearsome soldiers, who are known throughout the world for their treachery and atrocities. Some say that the Syldoon eat virgins and babies–or perhaps their own mothers. Arkamondos, a bookish young scribe, suspects that the Syldoon’s dire reputation may have grown in the retelling, but he’s about to find out for himself.
Hired to chronicle the exploits of a band of rugged Syldoon warriors, Arki finds himself both frightened and fascinated by the men’s enigmatic leader, Captain Braylar Killcoin. A secretive, mercurial figure haunted by the memories of those he’s killed with his deadly flail, Braylar has already disposed of at least one impertinent scribe ... and Arki might be next.
Archiving the mundane doings of millers and merchants was tedious, but at least it was safe. As Arki heads off on a mysterious mission into parts unknown, in the company of the coarse, bloody-minded Syldoon, he is promised a chance to finally record an historic adventure well worth the telling, but first he must survive the experience!
A gripping military fantasy in the tradition of Glen Cook, Scourge of the Betrayer explores the brutal politics of Empire–and the searing impact of violence and dark magic on a man’s soul.
This book was extremely enjoyable for me, it had a feel similar to some other grimdark books I have read in the past and loved. One word that comes to mind to describe this book is atmospheric; it exuded grit and gloom. Written from the perspective of a chronicler following Captain Braylar Killcoin and his soldiers on a mission from the Emperor, I felt I was on the actual journey. It's not often I read a book and become so immersed in its world. Very concise writing with no unnecessary details, which is particularly enjoyable to me.

While the scope of this book is not massive like a lot of other fantasy books, most notably book 1 in a new series, the author gives hints of a large world and with this style writing and smaller scale plot, excellent books in this world could be pumped out endlessly. The author included many mysteries about this worlds history, magic, religion, races, political system, etc.

The plot was quick and even, tons of action and fighting. There is also treachery, political intrigue, and mystery. I loved the main character Braylar Killcoin, he typifies the anti-hero, someone who does what needs to be done regardless of our notions of good and evil; someone who you want to survive yet feel guilty about wanting that; someone you kind of hope can eventually act in some caring, compassionate, or kind way. He also has a complicated relationship with his flail, Bloodsounder, reminicent of Elric of Melniboné and his sword, Stormbringer. Braylar is also a total badass. The rest of the soldiers have a unique personality and I enjoyed them all.

Extremely solid book and a wonderful debut, highly recommended for fantasy fans, with a special emphasis for grimdark fans and fans of Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence (Prince of Thorns), Glen Cook, Michael Moorcock, David Gemmell and other books considered gritty. The next book in the Bloodsounders Arc series, Veil of the Deserters comes out June 3, and I, can not wait!

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Cursed Armada said...

Hey man, great blog you have here! You should add a Followers link! I'm over at Scott AFB in IL, good to find another Grimdark fan!

Cursed Armada said...

Oh shoot, Sorry I just saw it! I must have been looking at the mobile version! Following!

philip witvliet said...

Thanks! Been working hard on it. Having problems with the follow gadget so use the little orange square to the right of the "Join this site" button.