“Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs?”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
When this book was first recommended to me, I admit I was a bit trepidatious. Epic-scale fantasies are very hit-or-miss, and up to that point I hadn’t heard of Zack Argyle. I was afraid that when the time came to sit down and review the book, I would be forced to write a scathing condemnation that would sadden both parties.
Gale take me but was I ever wrong about that.
Voice of War is a superb book. Contained within its pages is as fine a collection of magical world-building as any soul could hope to find. Heroes to root for, villains to despise, twists and turns, and danger flying at you every which way but loose.
It’s hard to design a magical system that doesn’t feel contrived but Voice of War manages to deliver one of the better marriages of story and magical apparatus this side of Mistborn. It is a joy to read, and watching as all the different threads of story are sewn up neatly by the end made me cackle with appreciation.
The action is fluid and satisfying. Mr. Argyle never feels the need to get lost in describing the gory necessity of combat. Instead we are given tight scenes where the action and blood-shed have purpose. Violence is always in service of the greater story being told, rather than being plastered everywhere to cover a thread-bare plot and uninspiring characters.
That brings us to the last, and best, part of this book: The characters. They. Are. Engrossing. There’s no other word for it. Every last one grabs you by the eyeballs and compels you to turn page after page trying to follow them. They have history, layers, interesting habits and quirks, and a way of interacting with one another that is compelling.
A word of warning, lest ye be blindsided by it: Portions of this story are dark. The beginning is especially bleak. It’s never drawn out, however, and even the despair of the start is paid off by the end. That didn’t stop me from having to put down the book upon occasion with a vehement ‘No he didn’t’ and the need to resume reading later.
I’m a little sad, honestly, that it took the not-so-subtle nudge of a friend to give this book a read.
You’d best believe I won’t be waiting for a recommendation whenever the next book is ready. My only problem now is biding my time until that day arrives.
The Unsheathed Quill