Bane of Souls by Thaddeus White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Bane of Souls by Thaddeus White
A friend suggest this read because I've been doing indie authors and they thought this one might do the trick. I'm glad they did. This was an entertaining read that is well written in the grammatical sense.
This is one of those books that almost lost me at the beginning. It opens with Francis who is being trussed up to drown in the River Axe by Wilf who is one of many corrupt Watchmen in the city of Highford.They are both despicable characters in their own way and in truth are very much alike. But this night Francis will meet a disembodied spirit who befriends him and can't help him and a magistri -mage who can and does help him. We do find that Francis has a tiny speck of loyalty in him that prevents him from revealing who left him out there to drown. He also has an almost unlikely girl friend named Sarah. The disembodied spirit named Samuel manages to assist Francis in obtaining a better life than his begging has given him and a better chance with Sarah. His intersection with the mage Julia brings him in contact with the other mage and possibly with the Main Character Horst. This is Horst's story, I think, but there are so many to chose from.
The other main character is the setting. This is possibly overwrought as far as description of what it looks like, but as long as the descriptions are there seems to be very little that brought me into the taste,smell, and feel of the story. Even Horst, who by default becomes the main character when you reach the end, is distanced by his desire to be somewhere else all the time. And there are so many characters that take the focus it is often difficult to keep up with and sort through them through the cover of all the description. If you love books that describe the setting down to tiny detail you should love this book.
There were few if any characters that peaked my interest or garnered sympathy. The most interesting character is Thaddeus who is basically an orbital character who floats out there intersecting with the other main characters periodically and even garnering the limelight now an then. Thaddeus is a thief in a world of thieves who is the only one who really seems to be comfortable with who he is and makes no pretense with special title or anything like that as do the rest of the community of thieves. He's the only character that rings true to himself all the time and he probably deserves his own book.
Being limited in my scope of reading in this genre I couldn't help get a certain feeling as though this were a slightly more mature Harry Potter type novel. I think it might have been the disembodied spirits and the notion of the great evil being one of those and needing to find the perfect vessel to bring him closer to this world and to greater power.
What I found missing was a good solid plot to grab onto. Oh, I'm sure it's there and I'll figure it out as I write all this. We have at least a handful of stories. The story of Horst the Kuhrisch who's last wish would be-to become a mage. The story of Francis the begger and Sarah and Francis' brief rise in society. We have the story of the Mage community a tight community devoutly protecting the city and other cities throughout the land. We have Thaddeus the head of the underworld so to speak and his fight to retain his power. And we have the officials of the city and their miriad of stories. And we have the evil spirit. These are all definitely part of the world building and are interesting; again, if world building is the readers interest. What they don't all do is come together clearly all the time, so there are things that don't seem to move, I can't say plot , the story and they don't even always move each other along, but just occasionally contribute a bit here and there.
There is so much going on and so much description that in a way, for me, it was hard to keep up and keep things straight. I had to go backwards a few times to figure out if I zoned out or if the story just japed into a different direction. (A couple of times it really was me zoning out.)
This is one of those stories that a lot of people die in- and the very ending had a predictable element to it. The Plot might be best described as good vs evil though in this case, with few if any redeeming characters, it might be grey vs black and the victory of the many over the one evil. And with as many times as that victory seems to occur it, is uncertain there has been a victory.
There could be more books coming though this seems to leave the stories in a fair place.
This is a great book for the SFF fans especially those who like the descriptive world building of a world of magic and evil spirits.
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