Date: 5th November 2015
Format: Medium (B-Format) Paperback; R.R.P.: £8.99
North American Print
Date: 3rd November 2015
Format: Large (Trade) Paperback OR Small (Mass-Market) Paperback; R.R.P.: US$7.99 / CAN$9.99
Date: 3rd November 2015
Format: Epub & Mobi; R.R.P.: £5.49 / US$6.99
With all the fantasy on the market today, it’s hard to know who to read.
That’s why I’m here. I aim to help in that regard. For instance, if you’ve not been reading James A. Moore’s Seven Forges series, you’ve been missing out. (The first novel Seven Forges is reviewed here, and the second, The Blasted Lands, is reviewed here.) There’s time to get caught up, because the next installment, City of Wonders, is out in North America two weeks from the day I write this.
I’d like to very much thank Angry Robot Books for the review copy. Let me sum up my reaction to the book this way: I WANT MOAR!
Wait, what’s that? You want details? Well, I’ll try. (Geez, how am I going to do this without spoilers?) Here goes:
You remember that big, bad, earth-shattering thing that happened at the end of The Blasted Lands? City of Wonders picks up right after that. Empress Nachia has a big problem on her hands. Old Canhoon is about to be overrun with refugees soon to be followed by multiple invading armies. Merosh Dulver, now a general, has to lead an army against a foe that by all appearances is unbeatable. The Sa’ba Taalor are on the march, and there’s not much stopping them. Sorcerer Desh Krohan will face the death of a member of his family.
And if you think you know which direction this tale is going to take, don’t be so sure. Multiple times things went in a different direction than I was expecting. There is more than one surprise lurking in the pages, and schemes and plans that have yet to bear fruit are plentiful. If you were paying attention in The Blasted Lands, Moore introduced some plot lines that seemed to be setting things up for the next book. (He does that again, btw.) Remember the Pilgrim? We see that aspect of the story begin to unfold, but things are far from resolved.
In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that the story is just now getting interesting, except that would not be accurate. It’s been riveting so far, and really begins to take off as City of Wonders comes to a close. Turns out there’s a lot of backstory that even Desh Krohan has forgotten.
Moore does an excellent job of bringing his characters to life. From the central characters on both sides of the conflict down to the supporting cast, some of whom only have minor parts, the people you’ll meet in this book aren’t from central casting. They stand out as individuals.
The battle scenes are well choreographed and executed. Moore provides both the broad sweep of a battle and the immediacy of a sword thrust to the gut. You smell the smoke and the blood, hear the screams, and feel the heat of the flames and the thrust of the blade.
My only complaint is the way the book ended, or rather that it ended. I didn’t want to stop reading. Mr. Moore, do you have any idea how hard it’s going to be for me to wait until the next book comes out?
The Seven Forges series is epic fantasy the way it should be done, and City of Wonders is no exception. It’s character driven without sacrificing the action, intrigue, and wonder that’s at the heart of all good fantasy. That Moore throws in a dash of horror only makes his recipe better. Moore dedicated Seven Forges to Leiber and Howard. He’s proven he’s a worthy heir of those two giants.