The Double Phoenix

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Nights of Villjamur

Posted by spragujs on July 9, 2010

And here we go again.  Maybe I can post whenever I finish reading a book, which doesn’t seem to happen all that often these days (though I listen to quite a few more than I manage to read).

Last night I finished Nights of Villjamur, first book in the Legends of the Red Sun series, by Mark Charan Newton.  This book was Newton’s second published book, and I think it maybe shows a little bit.  I read an excerpt on Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist last year before it came out (though I had to go to England this year to buy a copy in an actual store by the way) and was intrigued.  So, having picked up my copy on my last day of vacation at Heathrow, I started this book just about as soon as I got home. 

Here’s the blurb: 

The ancient city of Villjamur is threatened by a long-expected ice age, and thousands of refugees from the coming freeze are camped outside its gates, causing alarm and the threat of disease for the existing population. When the Emperor commits suicide, his elder daughter, Rika, is brought home to inherit the Jamur Empire, but the sinister Chancellor plans to get rid of her and claim the throne for himself. Meanwhile an officer in the Inquisition, in pursuit of a mysterious killer, also uncovers a conspiracy within the Council to solve the refugee crisis by wholesale slaughter, and a cultist magician is causing a trail of havoc in his search for immortality and his obsessive quest to gain access into another world. To the far fringes of the Empire is despatched military commander to investigate a mysterious new race of undead that seems intent on genocide of the most gruesome nature. Gradually the separate strands of romance, jealousy, political intrigue and dark violence converge in a superb new action series of enthralling fantasy.

Let’s just say I’m a little torn.  Much like I was with another series (which I also never blogged about) written by a British author that I read last year.  The story was interesting, the world building was interesting (which is saying something in this case since I usually don’t like end-of-times type stories).  The depth of the characters left a little something to be desired, as did some of the author’s use of language.  There are times, for example, when a sentence here or there feels like I’m being written down to.  As though I can’t understand what the author is trying to say otherwise.  It’s a little hard for me to explain, really.  I’m not even quite sure that’s what I mean.  At least I can say I’m almost certain that wasn’t the author’s intent.

On the other hand, I was really kind of impressed with the ending of the book.  The author has set up something pretty big for the rest of the series with this book.  (It leaves me with hope that maybe we’ll delve further into the various characters in upcoming novels.)  I was only a couple of chapters from the end and scratching my head over how he could possibly end all the plotlines that he had set up.  I don’t mean finally, as I know the book is part of a series, but just so that the book didn’t randomly stop after the last chapter.  And all of a sudden, ha!  There was the end, and it made sense, and left plenty for the next book to cover.  All in all, I will very likely read the next book, City of Ruin, but I can’t say it’s become my favorite series of all time.  We’ll have to see how City advances the story and/or characters before I’m willing to make a more certain judgement.


2 Responses to “Nights of Villjamur”

  1. ~ap~ said

    I understand what you mean, exactly, by saying you felt you were “being written down to”. Series sounds interesting, is it a work in progress?

    • spragujs said

      It is still a work in progress. The second book is only just now out, and I have no idea how many there are supposed to be in total. (And as we’ve all heard, that can change!)

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