The first part of what promises to be an interesting new fantasy series
A story of religious tyrants, arcane war-machines, and underground resistance that will enthral epic fantasy readers of all ages.
In a world where any act of magic could open a portal to hell, the Order insures that no wizard will live to summon devils, and will kill as many innocent people as they must to prevent that greater horror. After witnessing a horrendous slaughter, the village girl Heloise opposes the Order, and risks bringing their wrath down on herself, her family, and her village.
I’ve been a fan of Myke Cole’s work since his debut novel, Control Point — the first in a series that has improved with each new book. His new novella is quite a bit different, but continues the trend of showing an author who is continuing to improve and hone his craft and skill for storytelling. There’s a lot to like in The Armored Saint.
One thing to make clear up front is that this novella is very much part one in a series. It plays the role of scene-setter, sure, but Cole manages to avoid info-dumping and making the reader wade through world-building. There’s still plenty of story in this book, as Heloise navigates not only her evolving impression of the world in which she lives, but also her sense of self. Events force her to confront what she knows of life, her family, and friends. She comes face-to-face with the autocratic, ruthless theocracy. Think of this as the pilot episode of a new series.
I was pleasantly surprised at the unexpected shifts in direction, and the novella did not end quite how I’d imagined. The world Cole has created is interesting, and draws from a number of fantasy tropes, melded together into something new, intriguing, and with plenty of potential. The magic is subtle, and doesn’t dominate the practical solutions and actions of the cast. The story is pleasingly non-melodramatic, and everyone’s emotions and reactions felt grounded and realistic. I’m very much intrigued to see how the titular armour features in the next books.
Going into the story too much will just spoil things for readers, so I’m going to end this review without discussing the plot very much at all. Needless to say, if you’re looking for an interesting, well-written new fantasy series — not to mention, one that won’t require you to wade through thousands of pages of world-building — then Cole’s Sacred Throne will absolutely suit your needs.
Definitely recommended, I’m really looking forward to book two.