Genre: Epic Fantasy
“I didn’t come here to sell my soul. I came here to buy it back.”
Once dubbed “The Deadliest Man Alive,” Jarrod Torrealday is a former Olympic saber hopeful and medieval weapons expert banned from competition for killing another fencer in a duel. Despondent, volatile, alcoholic, yet still one of the greatest swordsmen alive, he now works for third-rate fantasy films as a technical consultant and stuntman.
When Jarrod accepts the gig of a lifetime from a sorcerer looking for a hero, he finds himself facing an invading army in a world inhabited by creatures from Earth’s mythical past. He soon learns that the enemy mastermind is also from Earth, and has laid the foundations for a new kind of war.
This review is a cautionary tale of ‘read the blurb’ (in a good way). Here’s what I assumed with the first few pages – a high fantasy novel with lords, sorcerers, demons. It all felt a bit standard. I’d admit, the character’s conversational banter is what drew me into this story and kept me going. The first bit felt fantastic. The third person narrative can be a bit full of short, choppy sentences that nearly lost me. Still, the conversation shines.
Then, after my initial impression of amusing banter – my brain perked up – there were suddenly cars. It was suddenly a ren faire. Somehow, the impression I’d received during the opening was straight up wrong and I loved it. We were just talking about demon armies and suddenly moved to a man who used to be a fencer on his way to the olympics.
All of this would have been solved by reading the blurb up top. Admittedly – I didn’t and was quickly much more interested. Medieval magic meets modern knowledge stories have always fascinated me. This one kept me entertained all the way until the end. If I spill too many details it’ll end up being a spoiler filled review.
There’s a lot of research shoved into this book – and it shows. Both on types of items carried, ones that are effective with different weapons, ways to hold them – it’s clear the author either did research or is immersed in the field heavily.
I can say the conversations come across as a strong point. General narrative is a bit weaker. The story itself certainly contains magic which is always a draw. I loved the clash between modern and alternate world situations. The sucker punch from me forgetting what I was reading versus my first expectation shouldn’t earn a point but does.
In sum, if you’re interested in modern man in fantasy world – give this book a read.
I received a free copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.