Caution: Works a bit like catnip on Taff.
By Patrick Samphire. Find out more about it here. :3
It was only supposed to be one little job – a simple curse-breaking for Mennik Thorn to pay back a favour to his oldest friend. But then it all blew up in his face. Now he’s been framed for a murder he didn’t commit.
So how is a second-rate mage, broke, traumatized, and with a habit of annoying the wrong people, supposed to prove his innocence when everyone believes he’s guilty?
Mennik has no choice if he wants to get out of this: he is going to have to throw himself into the corrupt world of the city’s high mages, a world he fled years ago. Faced by supernatural beasts, the mage-killing Ash Guard, and a ruthless, unknown adversary, it’s going to take every trick Mennik can summon just to keep him and his friend alive.
But a new, dark power is rising in Agatos, and all that stands in its way is one damaged mage…
Taff’s squee rating: 4 1/2 hearts!
What’s inside: A witty detective who cannot catch a break, a finely crafted magic system anchored solidly in its own world, charming side characters (including a young girl who’ll carve out your kneecaps with a knife if you look at her wrong), and a fast-paced and clever mystery to solve.
Trigger warnings: Lotsa magical violence with plenty of gore.
Mennik Thorn can give Harry Dresden a run for his money; not only when it comes to collecting bruises in the name of rent, but also in how he’s hell-bent on doing the right thing. He has undeniable charm. He’s funny. He’s loyal. He’s actually pretty dang good at what he does, but there’s always something waiting to go wrong and challenge him.
Shadow of a Dead God excels not only in Mennik though (which it does, his character type is like catnip for me), but it boasts a lot of intriguing characters on top of that, along with fantastic world-building. Agatos is a carefully crafted fictional city in a setting that feels alive far beyond Mennik’s (Nik’s) story, and the magic system we’re given is just chef’s kiss. And I’m not just talking about the practical applications of it, but also its origin and the consequences it has on society at large. Plus, the Ash Guard? Yeah, they’re probably one of my favourite bits about the book, and I really really really hope I’ll see more of them in the second one (which I got waiting for me on my bookshelf right now). The practical applications of the magic are fantastic, too, and Patrick Samphire has a real knack for writing action sequences that aren’t only thrilling, but which also teach us a lot about the world.
I’ve had an amazing time reading this and can honestly say it always put up a fight when I had to put it down to get some sleep. Highly recommend!