Blightcross by C.A. Lang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Blightcross by C.A. Lang
This is another I had in my wish list. I was hoping for a steam-punk novel and it almost had me at the start. There seemed to be an air ship and possibly Victorian values if not dress, but there was this massive creep into other elements that shifted it from steam-punk and into an alternate world whose era seemed to be a bit slippery. There seemed to be some technology that was beyond what I was expecting and then just a whole lot of magic and a feeling we were in some bygone era that had magic and was transitioning to machine.
Clearly at some point I felt more like I was reading something like a cross between Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars series and Simon R. Green's Death-stalker series with a whole bunch of magic tossed into the mix and then add in some dark fantasy similar to Stephen Palmer's The Rat and the Serpent.
The main character Capra is not what she seems which is a typical trope. She's apparently not what everyone else thinks nor does she have a clear grasp of who or what she is herself. But that might not matter because she's an adventuress and an opportunist trying to stay one step ahead of her past and apparently burning bridges as she goes. Dannac is her only friend and they are an unlikely pair since she is Valoii and he is Ehzeri and they are mortal enemies. And they are on their way to Blightcross where they believe people don't care as much about the differences between the two. But the question is; is Blightcross really what they think it is?
They are thieves and they are on one last scam that will net them enough money to retire, but that quickly goes south when their past catches up, Capra's past, and the people who are pursuing her as a deserter are close at her heals. Now penniless in Blightcross they have to look for work that will keep them in low profile and help get them out of danger while pursuing their dreams of retirement.
Blightcross proves to be a place that chews its people up and spits them out. It is also the place where myth, magic and mayhem have come to roost.
This is where the plots digress into a murderous hodgepodge that becomes difficult to follow and reminded me greatly of those Deathstalker Series. Capra is a strong character but she's one that is hard to sympathize with because we never quite get to know her or her story because an apparent part of the plot is to leave that shrouded in mystery and doubt.
I give the story high marks for entertainment value and the beginning was quite good though it gives the readers little clue to just where this story will end up. There are plenty of twists and turns in a fast but well paced story most of the way until we reach the pall mall helter skelter final pages.
I recommend this to anyone who loves the adventure novels with a bit of tease into steam-punk and then digression into dark fantasy with magic and technology blended together into a retelling of a mythological tale.
SFF Steam-punk Magic Dark Fantasy
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