Buy or Borrow: Either
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher, Orbit!
Mercenaries who gave no quarter, they shook the pillars of the world through cunning, chemical brews, and cold steel.
Whoever met their price won.
Now, their glory days are behind them. Scattered to the wind and their genius leader in hiding, they are being hunted down and eliminated.
One by one.
I'm not really sure how to rate this book, you see, to read this book it's going to require you to invest some time in it. You need to get through the beginning to get to the parts that really hook you in, but some people might not be able to make it that far, I'm still trying to decide if I would have persevered if this wasn't a review book.
This book is dark and gritty and graphic and perhaps even a little bit disturbing at times, but it also had an interesting premise and I found the system of magic that wasn't actually magic (if that makes sense) original and intriguing, if not a little bit confusing in the beginning when you where trying to get your feet. I actually really enjoyed the aspect of the brews and the different plants/drugs they used to help them fight.
As you start to read the book, you're thrown in to the action, which is usually a good thing in my book but I spent a good portion of the beginning of the book being deeply confused and wondering if it was just me being incredibly thick. You're hit immediately with a POV, that while authentic in voice, assumes you already know all the slang and what these brews are and what they do. So while I was intrigued...I was really confused. The confusion didn't let up there. The story is pieced together with letters and first hand accounts and there's a lot of jumping around from POV to POV and time period to time period, which added to the confusion in the beginning, it was hard trying to get straight who was who and what the language was all about. While it was an interesting way of storytelling and at points added to the intrigue, the pace was all over the place. I found myself enjoying the book...then my attention wandering as we went from action to nothing much on and off. Like I said, the beginning of the book provides a lot of confusion that you have to push through if you have the patience because it's a bit of a tangle.
I think I was at about 150 pages or so before I found the confusion lessening and finally started to work out what was going on, and got more invested in the book. There's a new and interesting POV that piqued my interest, and made me want to find out what happened next. I wanted to know what happened at Snakewood and who the mysterious Assassin was and that finally hooked me and kept reading, even through the parts of the book that where a little slower and had my attention wandering. I got used to the narrative and language, and names finally started to stick and stand out.
I wasn't entirely sure who's side I was supposed to be on, I really didn't like Galathia all that much though, it has to be said. I started to dread Gant's narrative because of the language used and having to work out what was being said, but I was kind of on his and Kailen's side but at the same time, Sand...I felt for him. He'd been betrayed and he suffered horribly for it, but at the same time, he wasn't the most amazing person before. He experimented on people without their consent and did all of this other stuff and didn't seem all that great, and then he started killing people who had nothing to do with it, as did Galathia, like...it was hard to decide if I should be on Sand's side or Kailen and co's and I changed my opinion multiple times throughout the book, Sand was by far the character with the most depth it has to be said, which was partially why it was hard for me to decide if I should be on his side or not. I ended up being on no-ones side by the end!