Saturday, 31 January 2015

Review: Ten Thousand Devils

Ten Thousand Devils
Ten Thousand Devils by S.A. Hunt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Outlaw King series is nothing if not ambitious. It manages to be in about six genres at once, portal fantasy, post-apocalyptic SF, sixguns-and-sorcery and supernatural horror of a generally Lovecraftian type being the most prominent. And, against the odds, it pulls them all off (and also makes me like them, when out of those four I generally like only the first). It's written in a style that ranges from lush and poetic to wry and coarse, sometimes moving rapidly from one to the other, yet without sounding a sour note.

In Ten Thousand Devils, we get very much a continuation of The Law of the Wolf. The three protagonists from Earth are still separated, each fighting their own battle through landscapes both alien and familiar. If there's a fault, it's perhaps that the threads are separate for so long, not (as far as I noticed) even echoing each other thematically to any great degree, but it does, at least, provide the Two Towers advantage: the ability to cut away at a cliffhanger moment in order to progress one of the other stories.

As with the earlier books, we get excerpts from the fictional novels of Ed Brigham, the father of one of the three cotagonists, and again, I felt that they didn't always (though they did sometimes) have a clear enough connection to the chapters of "new" story that followed them. It is a good, and as far as I know original, way of introducing backstory, though.

Most of the imagery is wonderful, fresh, inventive. Occasionally there's an image that fails for me, that seems like words selected at random that don't, when put together, make any sense to me. It doesn't happen often, though.

Overall, this is a stunning epic fantasy (and other things) that deserves a wide and enthusiastic readership.

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