Hello everyone! I hope you all are happy and good, and that your week is going well! Here it seems like Fall is here to stay, and things seem pretty normal in the weather department, so that’s good and I am having a fantastic week, reading-wise so… yay! And today I am here with my first review for SPSFC2. Like last year I would post my reviews without the final rating for all the books in the contest. And now let’s start!
Author: Clayton W. Snyder
Publication Date: September 5, 2022
Orphan. Conman. Conscript. Inmate. Haunted by the ghosts of his past, Mattias Temple, a failed cadre necromancer, is mauled by fate. When a rogue military squad kidnaps the governor and threatens the city with a magical plague, he has a shot to redeem a lifetime of mistakes and be the one thing he never thought possible: A hero.
Freed from prison, paired with Bridget, a Blackthorne operative, he sets out to right the one crime that truly haunts him.
As the body count rises Mattias finds himself neck-deep in trouble and drowning in ghosts. Hunted by the mercenary company he betrayed and facing the horrors of feral witchcraft, the question remains: who is Mattias Temple, and what does he want? Revenge, or something more?
This book was surprising, in a lot of ways, and I had a really good time with it (even if calling it “good time” sounds strange because it is not a soft or happy book, we have some dark themes in there, and we have war, we have deaths and sufferance so… it is not really a happy book and saying that I had a good time just doesn’t really sit right, anyway, I was captivated by it and I was invested in the story, this should cover it!) but there are also some things that could have been done differently, in my opinion. So be warned: while reading my review, it could seem that the buts are more than the yes, but make no mistake, this book was pretty solid and I recommend it if you are in for some war stories!
There are two things that I really really enjoyed about this book: first thing first, it is a sci-fi book (sure, it is not hard sci-fi, but it is sci-fi all the same) and there are some fantasy elements really well blended in the world. We have necromancers and witches (and the witches are just the scariest witches ever!), and there is also the part of the story about the Bastion that blends fantasy and sci-fi amazingly. Truth be told, I would have loved to have more about world-building, because the author gives you enough to go by and not be lost, but it is not enough. There are so many intriguing ideas in there, both for the sci-fi and for the fantasy elements (because yes, I really want to see more of the Bastion, it was such an intriguing place!). So yeah, more would have been better, but what we see is intriguing!
And then I loved the dialogue! We have banter and irony. And they were always so on point, so cutting. I loved the dialogue in there!
Mind me, there were other good things, these two were just my favorite. The writing is also pretty good, it is smooth and captivating. It is pretty straightforward, but it sort of mesmerizes you, because even in the points in which I wasn’t really happy about the story (not because is bad, but because sometimes you need to suspend your disbelief, but more on this in a moment) I was always captivated by the book and it was quite hard to put down.
And Mattias is an interesting MC. He is a necromancer, a conman, and a soldier, of a sort. And even if he is not the strongest out there, and he is not always known to make the best choices, and he is also a coward, from time to time, he is for sure smart. Even if it’s not always crystal clear. And even if he can be a coward (or it’s just that he has a strong self-preservation instinct) he can also be a focused soldier. And he was interesting.
He is the main character, and the one that we get to know better, all the others are secondary, but Bridget is the almost exception there, and she was really interesting. I appreciated her and she is pretty sassy too, when she cares to be.
But, as I said before, you need to suspend your disbelief from time to time. My main problem with it is that we are told that necromancers are powerful and really useful and there aren’t a lot of them around. And yet in the beginning we see Mattias as a glorified lockpick. Then things get really started, the action began in earnest and you would see him at work more often. And that was interesting. I liked the necros in there! But then there are other points that didn’t make me happy, because if he is such a precious resource it really does not make sense that they keep him constantly in one prison or another. I am not saying that he should just walk free because he is a necromancer, and sure he is a criminal, but he is not as much as a criminal, and if it can stand to reason that you use prison to blackmail him and conscript him (as they did at one point), it stops to make sense when you just let him in prison to rot because he won’t tell on his other teammates… and they really do a shitty job in trying to make him talk, at that. And since he and all his former teammates are in prison, they shouldn’t need him to talk, because they are already all in prison. Sure, maybe if he talks they can bring in more charges, but they are in jail and it sounds like they will be for a long time, and all this while they are keeping one of the few necromancers they have in standby, and even worse than that, you need him and you do all you can to make him hate you (and when I say “you” I mean the Blackthorne, the organization behind all the things in this story). And I know that it sounds all a bit vague, but I can’t really be more precise here, because spoilers but I think that it makes all somehow sense, right?
So yeah, I wasn’t really happy about the plot, in particular with the “suspend your disbelief thing,” because I think that with some more explanation the thing could have worked but… not as it is. And still, it is an intriguing and captivating book, with some surprising things, and I am really happy to have read it. So if you are in for some war, actions, hell-beasts, and necromancers in a sci-fi setting, with some politics, intrigues, and some amazing dialogue well, I sure think you can give this one a try!
And that’s all for today! If you are interested in this, at the moment is free with Kindle Unlimited, if you use that service! What do you think of it?? Let me know!!