Tension permeates the city of Bleakridge as forces within its walls struggle for supremacy. Grim Thorne, the disinherited son of the Earl, is a fly caught in the web of power struggles between these forces. When Grim closes his eyes, he can still see the bodies piled high from the first day of occupation. The day he was branded a bastard in the southern fashion. The day his father let them.
Soldiers from the south bearing green cloaks and royal seals maintain order in the streets of Bleakridge, ensuring that the lifeblood of commerce continues to flow through the port city.
In the slums beyond the outer wall, the Sons of the Reaper lurk. Some call them heroes, others villains. But all fear them for their relentless devotion to the old ways and the freedom that entails.
In the castle above the city, resides the Earl of Bleakridge. The man who bent the knee and saved the lives of his people, if not their souls.
After twenty years of occupation, the tension is coming to a head and Grim has to choose. Sympathetic to the Sons, duty bound to his father, and forced into service to the king. He must rise above the brand on his neck and decide where his true loyalties lie.
But, after so long, it can be hard to tell who is deserving of loyalty. The King’s men who enforce order with a blood-soaked iron fist? The Sons who more resemble terrorists and crime lords than revolutionaries? Or the father who watches the bloodshed and does nothing? In the end, it is always the place of the young to bear the sins of the old.
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Some of the best work I've read from Jharvey in the past year, this story isn't messing around. STRONG stylistic voice, fantasy realism is alive and well. It's complex, dark, and a great introduction. Very interested to see more. I've known him a while and his work continues to impress.
A funny sarcastic style, fast-paced storyline, surprisingly colourful characters (despite the gritty atmosphere) and reliable update schedule make this novel a Must Read.
(Congratulations for the trending! You deserve it!)
Okay, first I'd just like to state that this is my first review of a novel so there might be a few things that I might have missed out. But, I'd like it stated that this is one of the better reads on this site. Fair warning though, the grimdark tag is on this novel for a reason and it focuses alot on the human aspect of people.
Now, first thing I'd like to rate; the style of the novel which I can't really mark based on a set criteria except for that the writing flowed really well throughout the story and was nice and simple, easy to follow. 5/5 for style.
Story score. The story is unique considering all the other stories in RRL and isn't about some guy/girl who lucked out got some special ability, created a harem etc etc. No. This is a story under hostile occupation. We're witnessing it unfold in the eyes of its citizens as they watch their city devour itself in a whirlwind of chaos. As they struggle to, in their own way, save their city. We see it in the eyes of an aspiring rebellious woman who is lost but seeks the best for her family, we see it in the eyes of a disillusioned nobleman with a bad reputation as a drunk and carefree noble as he fights for the sake of his country and house, an unfortunate thief who becomes a pawn for both sides the rebels and those who rule the city. However, there are a few problems with the story which could have been enhanced. Such as the rebellion. There is little detail to the organisation outside of the city, which is odd considering this is a movement that is country wide. Aside from that. 4.5/5 stars for a unique and logical story (in terms of plot development) on RRL.
Grammar score I'm no expert on grammar so I can't give a full 5 stars for it however, i would feel it remiss if I don't mention it in a review. So, first things first the spelling errors are few and far between and don't interrupt the flow of the story in a noticeable manner and with a little polish could be fixed. Dialogue between characters feels smooth and easy to follow. Now, the problem I have with grammar that I just can't seem to perfect. Punctuation. But again like I said, it would feel remiss if I didn't score it. So, punctuation in this story seems like it was done right and the sentences and paragraphs don't seem awkward or stuttery so I guess it done properly? anyways Grammar for me is a 4/5 stars.
Character score. Now this is the one I really want to dig into. Most of the characters are done in an excellent manner. Kid, the hapless orphan thief struggles to just survive whilst staying true to his one and only friend Lissa the daughter of Hilda. Now, Hilda she's a tricky one. It's obvious why she joined the rebellion so her motives are known. However, her character is done in a subpar manner. in the first few chapters the author makes it known that Hilda may or may not have strayed in her wifely duties (which is fine in a character, it just makes them all the more human and the reason why she did so was because she thought her husband was dead) and she pledges that she will remain loyal! and devout to her family... Except she doesn't, I'm not sure this was done on purpose to show her fickle nature but she wasn't saying this to someone else. These thoughts were happening in her head. So, I'm not quite sure what happened but this is probably one of the things that stopped the character score from recieving a full 5/5. Grim the noble drunkard? develops in a logical and well done manner making no jumps in character, he tries his best to adapt to the circumstances surrounding him and develops into a man who tries to stem the ever growing tide of resentment in his city and do the best he can for his house and his development is one of the better ones I've seen in a novel and I have a feeling that he's character is still being developed in the series.
Now the antagonists or the percieved antagonists from my view. You know what? we'll just call them really noticeable characters. First of all Longreen the marshal in charge of the greencloaks, the men occupying the city. First, he develops into an unpleasant character but not in a "I'm the bad guy, haven't you noticed?" kind of way but more subtle and you find out why he is the way he is. The foremost reason being he doesn't like being so far away from home. Which is reasonable considering the job he has to do of ensuring that the rowdy natives don't go rising in rebellion and with soldiers disappearing on an almost weekly basis its' pretty clear why he's an unpleasant man.
Second "noticeable character" Marc, the rebel leader. What a complete piece of... work. Marc is an okayish guy in the beginning of the novel. But further on? he's really something special. One problem I have with his development is that the author almost doesn't seem to know what to do with his development. One moment he's this sympathetic guy and the other a completely immoral character. Maybe the author did it in a way to show that Marc is a little unhinged? either way not sure why that is but unless this is clarified I'm going with the under developed score on this one.
Now, the extras or side characters. Most if not all of them are well fleshed out and written in a good manner that is easy to follow and appreciate. They all have their own motives, their own wants and needs and this is done in a great manner. 4/5 stars for character.
Overall I found that the story had a nice flow and style going, the story was unique and enjoy to read about and the characters were overall developed nicely with few exception. An enjoyable read that I'd reccommend for people who are not of the faint of heart. 4.5/5 stars.
I can definitely say this is the best novel I've read on RRL. Hell, it's the one "novel" I've read on here I can actually imagine myself buying from a store and reading, that's the level of writing quality we're dealing with here.
The storytelling, and character building is the best I've seen on this site. I found myself getting truly attached to the characters as I was reading through their struggles, and getting genuinely affected when bad things happened to them.
Which unfortunately during the course of this book, is a very commonplace event. It also happens to be probably the only glaring criticism I have with this book.
This novel is h e a v y.
The Author was obviously going for a sort of "Grim" dark tone to this story that he is telling, which I can definitely appreciate, but when this terrible ordeal happens to this one character you like for the 20th time, it starts feeling a bit hamfisted and tiring.
Either way the storytelling and writing is still superb, be prepared to find practically ZERO grammaratical errors or typos. Which is pretty damn rare on this site.
If you're reading this review and haven't read it yet, start reading, I guarantee you'll get hooked if you're a fan of Dark Fantasy like I am, but like I said before this is a very grimdark novel, if that isn't your style I doubt you would enjoy this.