Welcome to my stop on the book tour for John Bierce’s The Wrack. I want to thank Justine & Timy @ Storytellers on Tour for letting me be involved and a big shoutout to Mr. Bierce on his new release!
Make sure to check out the rest of the tour by hitting up the schedule link here!
Below you will find information on the book and author, alongside my review.
Check it out!
The Wrack by John Bierce
Published: April 23, 2020
Genre: Epidemiological Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Plague has come to the continent of Teringia.
As the Wrack makes its slow, relentless march southwards, it will humble kings and healers, seers and merchants, priests and warriors. Behind, it leaves only screams and suffering, and before it, spreads only fear.
Lothain, the birthplace of the Wrack, desperately tries to hold itself together as the plague burns across it and its neighbors circle like vultures. The Moonsworn healers would fight the Wrack, but must navigate distrust and violence from the peoples of Teringia. Proud Galicanta readies itself for war, as the Sunsworn Empire watches and waits for the Wrack to bring its rival low.
And the Wrack advances, utterly unconcerned with the plans of men.
What a time to be reading about a plague that ravages a land while, in reality, the same thing is happening all around us. Though the two (2) differ in many ways, it isn’t an “easy” read on top of the sheer impossibility to read anything with the overwhelming pandemic that continues to ravage the world. The timing, though it seems a bit odd, even pushes the author to add a note at the beginning about awkward coincidences, but we can’t, nor should we, fault Bierce for releasing his novel in trying times. People gotta eat.
The Wrack interested me with its initial release in April due to the absolutely GORGEOUS cover. I thought it was a Richard Anderson original as it has some very similar characteristics of his artwork, but turns out it is by Amir Zand who just so happens to be stupid talented as well. Make sure to check out his website for some jaw-dropping stuff. I mean HAWT DAM.
As far as the book itself goes, it was sort of a mixed bag for me as you can tell by my rating. While the overarching story was very intriguing and the world-building was enticing (also never having heard of Epidemiological Fantasy piqued curiosity), the writing and overall development of the characters left me wanting more. External and internal conversations were a bit choppy, breaking apart in weird sections to reflect moods of the speakers or just downright… I don’t know. Can’t word right today with lack of sleep.
There is also this constant nagging sensation that I couldn’t get a single character to hook me in. It seems as though they are all just a little too surface for me while the Wrack plays the biggest role (I mean, as it should) so keeping my interest while the TBR continued to pile up was almost too much of a kicker.
Having said all that, Bierce excels in world-building and writing a super depressing fantasy story about a plague-ravaged land. I also enjoyed the magic system, especially the use of semaphores as a communication network between cities. And yes, semaphores are actually a thing as I know how to Google, and these ain’t yo daddy’s semaphores.
All in all, I’d like to come back to this world, but I need a character I can get behind and journey alongside.
John Bierce is a history buff, fantasy and science fiction lover, and fan of talking about himself in the third person. He also has a background in the earth sciences, and has been caught licking rocks before. For science.