In part 2 of the Deathsworn Arc, ‘The Verkreath Horror’ we follow the adventures of Korhan son of Brian, Vashni the elf, Votrex Vaughn Gorthok of Durgheim Holt, the dwarf, Brael Truthseeker of House Krazic, the dark elf and Saul Karza, emissary of the empress from the point at which the story ended in ‘The Last Dragon Slayer’. After the climatic battle with Thrax at the end of ‘Deathsworn Arc 1: The Last Dragon Slayer’. The survivors are forced to flee the sinister ‘Servant of the Flame’. They arrive at Strak expecting a chance to recover from their injuries and enjoy a period of respite before making the long trip back to Cormaroth. However they find Strak in a sorry state and after being forced to flee the town through an unexpected route, they find themselves facing an even more fearsome enemy than the ‘Servants of the Flame’. Seemingly constantly on the run, tired, injured, and low on supplies, will the companions ever see the light of day again? Let alone walk through the gates of Cormaroth to collect their prize? This is the second part of the epic fantasy adventure series ‘Deathsworn Arc’. This story makes a lot more sense if you have already read, “Deathsworn Arc 1: The Last Dragon Slayer” It is a darker tale though, but the hardships the companions face together starts to forge them into a tightly knit group. –From Goodreads
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book surprised me in a lot of ways. Usually by the time I get to the second book in a series, I feel like I pretty much have the motives and personalities of the characters figured out. Not so much in this series. One of the things that impressed me the most about this book is the way the characters have grown since the first in the series. Martyn Stanley takes his world, his characters and his story seriously enough to care that they learn as they go, grow into the heroes you want them to be and become worthy of continuing on with another book.
The Verkreath Horror also surprised me because of the sheer intelligence in his battle scenes. Whereas many fantasy books annoy me because the battle scenes are either too short, too long or everyone ends up running and screaming or standing around confused when they would logically have been chopped to bits in a real battle, this author doesn’t allow his characters that luxury. The descriptions are incredibly good and keep you holding your breath as you turn pages, hoping your favourites make it out alive.
Whilst this is a darker book than the first, I also saw a line of hope and redemption in this story. I’m still trying to figure out how he managed to make a book so conflicting with itself, and yet pull it off so smoothly.
My only complaint:
I miss the goofiness between two of the characters. I won’t add a spoiler here by saying which two, but one of the reasons I adored the first book so much was the banter and awkwardness between these two. It wasn’t present in this story and that made me a little sad.
Finally, the ending was not what I expected. Generally these books end on some massive cliffhanger, where everyone is in peril. These characters actually seem to be relatively squared away for the moment. I had to analyse this for a bit before writing this review. I believe this is the best way this book could have ended. The author now has me wondering not if, but when the danger will come. I’d rather wait for the next book thinking characters I have grown to love are safe for the moment. It makes it seem more real. How long can a terrifying beast stay suspended in mid-air whilst we wait for the author to release a book? Nope. This ending was genius.
If you love fantasy books and you don’t love reading the same thing that has already been done a million times before, this is a great series to go with. Even as someone who has spent much of their life reading fantasy novels from many authors, I still see originality in these books. Check them out, you won’t be sorry you did.
Hurry up and write me another book, Mr. Stanley. I am not altogether patient.