With this stunning series opener, Django Wexler leaps to the upper echelon of today’s best fantasy authors. The Thousand Names opens his Shadow Campaigns series with a tale of bloody rebellion that will reshape an empire -- and a world. Captain Marcus d’Ivoire and Winter Ihernglass see their fortunes rise under the command of military genius Janus bet Vhalnich. But Janus’ obsession with the supernatural portends a dire fate for the realm.
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This is a military fantasy that tries to be a mix between the grittiness of Glen Cook/Steven Erikson and the modern trend of moving into flintlock fantasy. Unfortunately little new ground is tread here, however.
For starters, the book starts out on the wrong foot - with a meeting. Wow, how exciting is that? Followed by conversation and exposition, which immediately have you sighing with boredom. Oh, there's the obligatory mysterious foreshadowing magic scene at the beginning, which is of course meaningless because you have no context for it at all.
What follows is mostly a military campaign of battles involving characters you don't know, who don't get much development. There is eventually some, but unfortunately by then your opinion of the book is already pretty low. It's a shame, because the author could have made this a lot more exciting, but he relies far too much on familiar tropes, most of which have already been done in novels of the last couple of years. Seriously, another fantasy series where nobody believes in gods/magic anymore, only to suddenly find out that it's all in fact true? This is old, old, well-trod ground, folks.
Probably most shocking of all: this book has some of the filthiest, ugliest language I have ever seen in a fantasy book. Seriously, I feel like I need a brain cleansing after this listen, and Wexler needs some scrubbing bubbles for his potty mouth, or maybe some sanitary wipes for the diarrhea all over his keyboard. This is fantasy, folks! You don't use the dirtiest modern-day slang you heard of in the latest R-rated movies. This author has a serious vocabulary deficiency.
Needless to say, I don't intend to read the rest of this series, and you probably won't, either.
I like battles in my fantasy novels as much as the next person, but in this book, the purpose of the characters is to provide a vehicle for the battles rather than the fighting helping to define the characters and move the story along. Would have liked more character and plot development. Narration was pretty good. I'm almost done and not sure if I will go on to the second book.