This has to be one of the funnest and most relentless books I’ve read in a while!
Kell’s Legend follows the story of Kell, a grisly and grisled old warrior who wants nothing more than to forget the old days of blood and death and relax, but is pulled into a massive conflict when forces from the Silva Valley, a place beyond the terrifying Black Pike Mountains, invade.
The characters, action and setting all combine to make this one of those novels you’ll want to talk about with your friends – you’ll probably be saying stuff like, “That dude has the coolest axe I’ve ever read about!” or “The action in this thing is insane!” or even “Wait until you meet the Vachine and their cankers!”
Character-wise, Kell’s Legend is people with many outstanding, larger-than-life characters, the two most interesting (in my opinion) of which were Kell himself and Anukis.
Kell has what seems to be a long, blood-soaked history and Andy hints at just enough to give Kell a real depth and emotional resonance – even though he’s a very sarcastic, grumpy and says-it-like-it-is old guy. His chapters are fun and fast and brutal – there’s always plenty of humor and plenty of blood backed by great pace.
Anukis is also an extremely interesting character – she’s feisty, also stubborn as hell, a relentless and brutal fighter but also sensitive and naive, a blending which endeared me to her right from the beginning.
In the novel you’ll also meet Saark and Nienna, General Graal and the Harvesters and a host of supporting cast;
Saark is hilarious, the epitome of a one-track-mind man who is as dangerous as he is entertaining, and his scenes with Kell are excellent – the dialogue between the two is witty and acerbic and thoroughly entertaining.
Nienna could have used a bit more, as it seemed to me that the only real reason that she was in the tale was to give Kell a concrete reason to keep on fighting but I’m sure that Andy has got plenty in store for her and that she’ll probably end up stealing the spotlight in the next novel – her journey from an exuberant student to a practically world-weary witness of conflict and death was cool to witness, though.
General Graal is one sick puppy but makes an awesome bad guy, and the Harvesters are just plain chilling, while the cankers are an incredibly cool – nah, I think I’ll shut my mouth and not tell you too much about these characters and creatures. I digged them, and they’re definitely some of the more inventive badasses I’ve met in a novel.
Moving on to the worldbuilding, Andy has created a world that, even though it seems to have faint echoes of our own, is interesting and unique, especially the world of the Vachine. Andy’s descriptions are succinct and evocative with just the right amount of imagery, and there was no info-dumping to get bored with.
The most interesting aspect for me of Kell’s Legend was the style that the tale was told in – at first I was a bit put off and had to grow used to the drama and sometimes-outlandish manner that the characters spoke and though with, but I came to realize that it was, in fact, perfect; after all, we’re reading Kell’s Legend, and the story is told much the same a story would be told while sitting around a campfire with all the drama and over-the-top-ness that makes telling such stories fun and hearing them told even better.
All in all, Kell’s Legend was awesome – a fun, hectically fast-paced and brutally action-packed novel with plenty of awesome characters and inventive worldbuilding. If you’re a fan of colourful characters, plenty of blood and gore, and an interesting and memorable take on a phenomenon that you may have had your fill of already (cryptic, I know, but I don’t want to spoil it), then this book is definitely for you and is guaranteed to keep you up late, flinching, cheering and fevered. I’m definitely looking forward to being ‘bliksemed’ by Soul Stealers!
9 / 10
My review of the second Clockwork Vampire Chronicles novel, Soul Stealers, will be up closer to the September release date. Head on over to Andy’s official web-home here, check out his Angry Robot page here, and order your copies of Kell’s Legend here (Amazon UK) and here (for SA readers).
And here’s the cover for Book Two, Soul Stealers:
If you haven’t yet read Andy’s work (Kell’s Legend was my first), then here are the Exclusive Books links you’ll need to order his backlist (for SA readers):
Warhead, Quake, Hardcore, War Machine, Biohell.