We at FanFiAddict want to thank Steve Caldwell (aka The Bookwyrm Speaks) for his review of Things They Buried.
Under the dirty streets of Ismae’s greatest port city, an old nightmare waits for Sylandair and Aliara, one that is stealing Dockhaven’s children, one only they can end.
When the pair escaped their owner and abuser years ago, they left him behind in a ball of blue flame, but as more children disappear near the city’s desalinization plant, their suspicions turn to the predator they believed dead. Accompanied by their less-than-reliable puka scout Schmalch, they delve into the forgotten depths of the patchwork city. Their search will lead to a twisting world of corruption and experimentation, uncover horrors greater than any they imagined, and summon memories they never wanted to exhume.
A dark science fantasy action adventure, Things They Buried is the first full-length novel of Ismae, a world where science sometimes appears as magic and history as myth, where monsters make themselves and heroes are wholly unintentional.
Things They Buried is one of those books that combines creative world building with fantastically drawn out characters. Sylandair is the roguish nobleman with a tortured past, but is so much more than that. He has flaws and strengths, and is compelling to read. Aliara, nicknamed Rift, is such a strong character, yet vulnerable and flawed as well. She has so many skills, and is death on two legs, and yet her past haunts her to the present day. Schmalch is the comic relief, but has surprising depths in a character that could so easily be a parody. The rest of the characters are excellently written as well, even the minor characters. You really get a feeling this is a real place just from interacting with the characters.
The world building is very intricate. You get a sense of Dockhaven as if you’re walking down the streets yourself. It has such creative elements, with the sci-fi and steampunk elements intermixed with the lowest of fantasy elements in such a way they just fit, even when they shouldn’t. It is definitely up there with some of the great fantasy settings.
The audio book version was just released, and is narrated by Heather Masters. I was not familiar with her work before this book, but I have to say, I was quite impressed. She has a really good narrative voice, and her pacing is excellent. He character voices are effortless and smooth, and she gives each character their own unique voice and personality. You are always aware of which character is speaking at any time, and you become immersed in the story. I will happily listen to her in future installments.
I was offered a chance to review this book on an open offer for reviews. I hadn’t heard of it, but decided the premise looked intriguing, so agreed to review it. I am happy to say it was one of the best decisions of the year. I would have to class this my top read of 2019, and that’s a year that included Kings of the Wyld, Ravencry, Priest of Bones and Wraith Lord. It’s mix of sci-fi, low fantasy and steampunk are seamlessly blended into a story I didn’t want to end.
It’s not too often you run across a book that mashes genres together as seamlessly as Things They Buried. It never feels clunky, rushed or forced, and the characters and world building is so solid, you won’t want to put the book down. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what comes next in the series, and highly recommend this book.