Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chasers Of The Wind by Alexey Pehov

The Empire has been invaded by Nabatorians with the aid of powerful necromancers. Gray and his wife are master assassins who have been living peacefully in hiding after completing a high profile assignment and faking their own deaths. Their past catches up to them and they must travel to Al'sgara to kill the person who put a bounty on their heads. They are joined by a variety of skilled companions as they try to outpace the hordes of undead and reach the city before the coming war. This is the first book in The Cycle Of Wind And Sparks series.

Chasers Of The Wind is an intricate story with interesting characters and massive worldbuilding. It's a bit dense in the beginning because the world building is descriptive and overly informative with a few translation issues. I felt it leveled out after the first few chapters and became a more immersive reading experience. The world is large with an in-depth history, a diverse range of cultures, and continues to develop throughout the story.

The magic system was also continually built and expanded upon. I liked the story's interpretation of necromancy and how the undead were portrayed. The other mages had a rigid hierarchy and interesting interdependence. I also liked that there were a variety of unique creatures that the characters got to battle.

The story was told from multiple perspectives which tended to focus on the characters in pairs. Gray's perspective was told from first person while the others were told from third person. This gave the narrative an interesting cadence and flexibility with cast involvement. I liked how it avoided an omniscient narrative but still managed to give a broad rounded experience.

The characters were skilled with specific expertise and had interesting backstories. I liked that they all had roguish qualities but managed to remain likable. I enjoyed reading the character interactions especially when they were forced to overcome obstacles together with trust still developing or completely absent between them.

The story managed to combine a myriad of familiar fantasy tropes into an engaging story. The journey aspect of the story gave it an episodic quality. I liked how there was constant forward momentum and continual conflict. The story ends with a suspenseful cliffhanger but promises that there is more to discover about the world and its characters.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Tor Books, through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.]

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