Friday, December 8, 2017

New Book review - The Last Sacrifice

Book - The Last Sacrifice   
Writer - James A. Moore   
Series - Tides of War #1    
Published By - Angry Robots
Grim dark as a genre has become quite predictable now a days. There is some quality writing by quality authors yet it is becoming more and more difficult to find original works. We all love some gore and name calling and graphic sex yet it does get tiring at times as the storyline keeps getting similar. But ‘James A Moore’ did dive into the new series with his unique sense of characters & built up the story to achieve new concepts while taking elements from some other subgenres to enrich the experience for his readers.

‘The Last Sacrifice’ begins with the aforementioned sacrifice as the protagonist Brogan McTyre starts his journey attempting to free his family from the sacrificial altar of the gods who only demand sacrifices. He gets everything that matters to him taken from him and it is only the beginning of his turmoil. At first I was wondering what could be the motivating factor for this character to keep him interested enough to take on the gods. But as the story progressed, I did get to understand the guilt he was unwilling to accept molding into the force driving him into action. Quite slowly and skillfully Moore started his story and took us into his harsh & cruel world where surviving is a quite a gigantic task in itself. There are forces willing to destroy everything, forces attempting to save the world in their own methods and also people who try to take advantage of the approaching apocalypse to achieve their agenda.

The author used his background and experience in horror to create some truly horrifying antagonists both human and otherwise. And then he skillfully tried to show us the point of view of even these loathsome beings. He took us into the minds of slavers & monsters even, enabling the reader to appreciate their ambitions and desires. To be able to portray negative characters in a way that makes them human is always a bonus point in my book and Moore did these characters justice by giving them voices.

As I mentioned before, the first third of the book seemed a bit slow in pace and I, as a reader, I kept wondering what the writer is actually trying to achieve. Then slowly but surely he kept throwing new characters at readers and kept diving into new points of views & minds and through these characters kept his unique style of world building going forward. We get glimpses into the world through the eyes of the characters amid their struggles. There is no overly friendly maps (which is not something I always appreciate to be honest) or holding hands of the readers through the landscape to make them understand. Which in my opinion is the right way to go for this type of a story where the lack of time is a point that Moore is trying to make.

The world in itself is unforgiving and a dog eat dog type of affair. There is no peace being hampered just the unreasonable gods lashing out once again at the people who disobeys them. Yet it is quite easy to identify with the various characters through their struggle for survival. Everyone has their own agenda and all are attempting their own journey on a world that is slowly being destroyed by its vengeful gods. The mystery the gods is something that seems quite interesting as well and leaves room for the author to maneuver in the future.

Brogan is a character whose anguish and despair is quite palpable throughout the pages.  While various factions are being formed due to his impulsive and vengeful actions. Niall is a peaceful man who gets thrown into the path of the angry gods and their servants, yet despite his physical weakness, he desperately attempts to save everyone around him. Tully is a girl with a mysterious past who is not going to lie down, but will keep fighting no matter what is thrown at her. Beron is a nasty person, but the author gave us some insight into his past which lets us understand why he is what he is. Even Grakhul are a race which Moore tried to give some representations in his prose to make readers understand about their motives.

Despite liking the book a lot I would like to mention that the author’s use of similar names was a bit confusing and made me go back to identify who he was talking about. Also the sudden change of point-of-views was a bit of a bother at times as well. I kept wanting to learn more about some side characters which was a bit distracting as well, yet it is also one of the reasons that readers might come back for the next installment in the series.

All in all the last half of the book did a great deal of interesting build up to make me want to read the next book in the series, as the author did make me feel for these flawed and human characters & their doomed world. And last of all I do hope for more action and would love to get into the minds of some of the interesting side characters in the future installments (hint Harper, Anna, Meerhan etc.).

I'll give this one 4 out of 5 stars. 

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