In this brilliant debut fantasy, a story of secrets, rebellion, and murder are shattering the Hollows, where magic costs memory to use, and only the son of the kingdom’s despised traitor holds the truth.
Michael is branded a traitor as a child because of the murder of the king’s nine-year-old son, by his father David Kingman. Ten years later on Michael lives a hardscrabble life, with his sister Gwen, performing crimes with his friends against minor royals in a weak attempt at striking back at the world that rejects him and his family.
In a world where memory is the coin that pays for magic, Michael knows something is there in the hot white emptiness of his mind. So when the opportunity arrives to get folded back into court, via the most politically dangerous member of the kingdom’s royal council, Michael takes it, desperate to find a way back to his past. He discovers a royal family that is spiraling into a self-serving dictatorship as gun-wielding rebels clash against magically trained militia.
What the truth holds is a set of shocking revelations that will completely change the Hollows, if Michael and his friends and family can survive long enough to see it.
Thank you to Will and Gollancz for sending me a review copy. This did not influence my opinions/thoughts. This review is a non-spoiler review and so will contain more about the world building than anything else.
This is what Game of Thrones would look like, if it had a sense of an moral compass and heroism. This is what my intepretation of this fantastic novel is. It comes at a whopping 608 pages or so. This is what fantasy books should be in my opinion. I have seen a boy become a man by the end of this book. If I had to summarise it in one sentence, that describes everything that is for this book.
The details of distinguishing between the high and low nobles, the Ravens and the Fabricators, the Archivists is so painstainkingly done to every single detail, this was a labour of love done by Nick Martell. Michael Kingman is a character that you would expect to be a coward, a person that knows nothing. A man that’s too afflicted from his past. A man that runs from his past. A man that needs to discover the truth of what afflicts him the most.
I would call this under a category of a good mix of grim-dark fantasy combined with heroic fantasy. That’s what I think the novel represents in my opinion. Gwen in my opinion needed more scenes with Michael. I also wanted to see even more scenes of King Issac, to better understand his motivations, and more scenes of the Corrupt Prince, who I felt needed a few more scenes in there. But you can’t fit everything in this whopping debut. Without spoiling too much, I also wanted Michael to go towards his mother a lot more. I feel as if the mother holds more clues than she’s revealing.
Dormet is officially one of my favorite characters along with Dark. I do not know why, but if you read on, you’ll figure why. You will feature loss throughout this novel, and you will cry. The way in which Nick demonstrates loss is honorable, though it does have Game of Thrones tendancies some times. There is so much power and political intrigue I cannot understand how Michael Kingman must navigate through all this when his father was branded as a traitor. Sirash is a great character, and yet Trey…has a past that he must come to grips with.
If I were to compare this to any fantasy novel out there that has a similar genre, it would be Mark Lawrence’s the Broken Empire. The characters are similar, and both are running from a past rather than taking course of their own lives. You know I’ve always loved fantasy novels which focus on the under-dog. And Michael Kingman is just that. There were so many emotional scenes in this novel that it is better you read it. I cannot express this into words. I found this an awesome read. The writing and prose is sharp. I want more novels that show the underdog. That show the under-dog rising through society to take his or her steps. I want more novels like this.
This is a brilliant, dazzling novel that will have you be emotional within hours of reading this book. It’s that fantastic. The writing, the dialogue, everything is on point. It is not easy to create an emotional scene, and Nick has done a fab job of making this. Nick, you’ve made me a fan. I am impressed, and I loved this. Please keep writing more awesome and bad-ass content like this.
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Awesome review, Mada. “Everything is on point” is a pretty good summary.
Yeah if you expanded it could go well beyond 600 pages
Susy's Cozy World says
This is a great review! I hope to read this book, sooner or later!!!
Nadine - NadsBookNook says
I only skimmed through your review since I plan on reading this soon. So happy to see you enjoyed it! 😀