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rivals the greats of fantasy,
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This review is from: The Darkness That Comes Before: Book 1 of the Prince of Nothing (Paperback)
One of the most polished starts to a fantasy series I have read, Bakker uses excellent characterisation to ensure the backdrop of a second apocalypse is the culmination of the hopes and fears of dozens of central characters as opposed to said apocalypse being the driving force for said characterisation. The approach is definitely a more mature one and many characters are reprehensible and uncompromising, yet Bakker makes them likeable by showing that this is how his world operates. Fans of mystery will also be entertained as Bakker keeps many aspects of the mythology intentionally vague and open to interpretation - he doesn't spoon-feed you the plot at all.
If this is merely the calm before the storm, as is usually the case in the debut of an epic fantasy series, this could well turn out to be one of the definitive western fantasies of the 21st century. My only critiscism is that Bakker may drive off a lot of fantasy fans by being too dark for many to be able to stomach.