Hey everyone, I hope your Friday is treating you well!
I’ve owed Gail this review for a while, as she knows, so… Finally. 🙂
‘Vengeance‘ is the second novel following the adventures of the Valmonde brothers, their allies and enemies, and is the sequel to ‘Scourge‘ (reviewed here). Here’s the blurb for ‘Vengeance‘:
Brothers. Outlaws. Saviours.
Rigan and Corran Valmonde are not heroes. They are undertakers, lawbreakers, and monster hunters. Without them, the town of Ravenwood is finished.
But the more successful Rigan and Corran become at destroying the creatures, the more a greater evil is revealed – one larger and more monstrous than they ever could imagine…
In the first novel, Gail introduced the reader to a city plagued by monster-attacks, ruled by bickering guilds and aloof princes, in which simply surviving is a fine balancing act. This novel takes us out of Ravenwood and further reveals the greater world, other cities, and new characters, so the novel and the story feels more expansive – but not at the expensive of that which drives the plot: the characters. Gail expands the world-building considerably, taking us into the countryside and showing us how those living outside of the cities live and survive while dealing with threats both human and inhuman, and into a strange, creepy realm which is decidedly not human-friendly. This world’s magic, how that magic works, the cost of using it and the effects it has are also expanded with more details and information, as are the mythologies, legends and cultures of the world and its people. The backdrop all of this creates makes the ‘stage’ the characters play their parts on feel real and vibrant, and again, not at the cost of the characters.
Gail delves deeper into everyone, showing more sides to their personalities, into what drives them, and into what they are constantly fighting, their fears and worries and those small things that shake their belief in not only their self-appointed mission but themselves, too. Even the ‘bad guys’ are scared and increasingly reckless – helped in no small part by events they themselves set in motion. What this all does for the book is that there’s a great balance of action, world-building, intrigue, introspection, and plenty of character growth.
And Gail also succeeds in ramping up the problems the protagonists face, and the lengths to which the antagonists will go to achieve their goals – this keeps the pace ticking faster and faster, until the memorable climax shifts the conflicts into a new, dangerous and epic direction. It’s obvious that the town-focus of book one will become a wider-world focus in book three, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the manure hits the fan. 🙂
Giving this a strong 9/10 – if inventive and pacey Fantasy with stand-out characters and high-stakes is your thing, Vengeance (and Scourge) will be, too. 🙂
If all goes well, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, head on over to Gail’s site for more info about Vengeance and her continuously growing body of work, and don’t forget to the add the book to your Goodreads shelf. 🙂
Until next time, Monday, probably,