Top critical review
The story and characters feel pointless
on 17 September 2017
A strange book that attempts to take what is obviously a fairly one-dimensional cartoon villain and make him the protagonist of a novel. Thanquol, the main character, doesn't have any motivations or personality other than being an evil guy. His antics become more and more disgusting as the story progresses (he starts by mistreating his apprentice, then conducts experiments on slaves and finally tortures and kills his dwindling band of followers for gratuitous reasons) but that gets predictable and repetitive really fast. The author didn't include a line about how Thanquol furiously masturbates under his robes every time he hears the screams of pain of one of his victims but the spirit is definitely there.
The human protagonists feel like they were inserted so that the readers could have someone to root for but they are little more than cardboard cut-outs and their tragic deaths at the end left me completely indifferent. There is also an omnipotent and omniscient wizard who shows up periodically through the story to foil the bad guys but he is more of a plot device than a real character. The book does have a few bits of light-hearted humour but overall it is about a dreary place full of unlikeable people. You might enjoy it if you like reading about torture and violence for the sake of it but otherwise I'd give it a pass.