Within the first pages of the prologue, I was drawn in by the curiously magical Master and the mission on which he sends our self-described “turncoat” narrator. The story drops us into a world filled both with magic and mechanics, where some creations are imbued with both. This Sword and Sorcery brand of fantasy uses elements of Steampunk for an out-of-the-ordinary, believable world just outside this reality. The story takes us on an adventure with a freshly graduated squad of Outriders, and their first mission turns out to be much more perilous than they could ever have anticipated or asked for.
Pepper’s style depicts strongly framed characters both in personality and description. He expertly weaves archaic and common terms in a no-nonsense tone, bringing the story to life. The story contained elements of fun to punctuate the seriousness of a mission gone awry. Using terms from ancient Rome, he solidifies the image of the Legion members in the reader’s mind. His monsters are morbidly grotesque, and the fight scenes are engaging. It will be interesting to see where our Legion will adventure next.
I recommend this book to fantasy readers who like a taste of Magic and Mayhem.
I rate this book a 4 out of 5 stars. There were a few slow spots that held me back from a full five, moments when I wanted to skip ahead to get back to the action. The style in the strong opening scene wasn’t kept up consistently throughout – a few trouble spots, but forgivable due to the strong, overall story line, and a full circle beginning to end.
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