Warlock’s Sun Rising is the second book in the Broken Stone Chronicle series that started with the current SPFBO entrant Devil’s Night Dawning. This truly is epic dark fantasy that held my interest and was intriguing throughout. I’d summarize it as:
“The Exorcist meets Kingdom of Heaven”
I had a great experience reading Devil’s Night Dawning, so went into this book with high hopes. Thankfully, this story did not disappoint. This novel moved at a much quicker pace than the previous one, yet lost nothing of its enjoyability. Which means Warlock’s Sun Rising is even better than its highly enjoyable predecessor. It is much darker with the personal stakes being far greater for the characters. The plot is unapologetically brave, going places some readers may find unpalatable. So, let this be a word of warning: this is not a book for the squeamish. Any novel that starts off with execution and rape in the first chapter is going to command your attention, although the following action could divide readers of the genre.
Warlock’s Sun Rising begins with Adelko and his master Horskram hunting the powerful warlock Andragorix. As it turns out, there is an even more despicable evil at work. We get to see characters from the previous book’s various story arcs finally brought together as the larger plot unfolds. And then, towards the end, it appears the plot threads are destined to separate once again…
There’s so much to discuss when it comes to this analyzing this novel. The most striking element though is the writing, which is spectacular. Damien Black is not only a consummate writer, he is also a medieval historian, who is unafraid of using the language of the period to season his prose. The reader is submerged in the world, delivered on a tide of text that achieves setting with syntax.
The novel is also notable for its compelling religious system, which is very much based on crusader-era Christianity, but tweaked in clever ways. Anyone with a knowledge of this period, the militant orders, and medieval concepts of chivalry, will give a nod of appreciation. I greatly appreciated the way religious constructs are called into question and offered up on the dissecting table.
The magic system is unique; it reminds me of isomers in chemistry, with a left-hand and right-handed path. The way the moral ambiguity of the novel’s religious concepts spills over into Black’s magic system is highly engaging.
To conclude, I am extremely excited to see what happens next for these characters and how their destinies may change their overall world-views. For fantasy book fans who like to exercise their minds and truly lose themselves in a story, I cannot recommend this enough.
An utterly unique and enthralling dark fantasy tale which I’ll be thinking about until the next entrant in Black’s series arrives.
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