Sunday, December 9, 2018

Review: Shadow of the Exile by Mitchell Hogan

Shadow of the Exile (The Infernal Guardian, Book 1)
by Mitchell Hogan
Release Date: October 9th 2018
2018 47North
Kindle Edition; 491 Pages
ISBN: 978-1503903227
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

Outcast and exiled, the demon Tarrik Nal-Valim has long been forgotten by the world of humans. At least, so he thinks.

But when he is summoned as a last resort by a desperate sorcerer, it seems as though his past has caught up with him. Because the sorcerer is Serenity “Ren” Branwen, the daughter of Tarrik’s former master—and friend. Though she seems cold, driven, and ruthless, Tarrik can tell that Ren has her back against the wall, and he is compelled by ferocious powers to obey her.

As their world sinks into a terrifying maelstrom of murder, intrigue, and insurrection, Tarrik is forced to serve Ren’s arcane designs; plans that, if they were to succeed, would resurrect unimaginable power, and could destroy Tarrik’s entire race.

My Thoughts

Shadow of the Exile was an action-packed and fun novel from an author who is quickly becoming one of my favourites on the fantasy scene.  A bit snarky with a little bit of the popular grimdark thrown in without being a grimdark novel, this one kept me up much later than I should have been up but it was so much fun to read.  And best of all, no love triangle in sight!!!

Tarrick is an exiled demon trying to find his way back into the demon world when he is suddenly summoned by a desperate sorcerer who just happens to be the daughter of his previous master.  Tarrick was definitely not happy to be summoned, and definitely not happy to learn that his previous master, with whom he actually developed a friendship, had written down some of the things he promised never to reveal, ever.  I loved Tarrick's character; he was so much fun to follow in this novel as he spent half the book saving Ren's life and half trying to figure out how to kill her so he could return to the demon world.  With a constantly evolving character (man, the character development for his character was sooo good), Tarrick had to figure out what was safe for him and what was going on in this war between sorcerers.  What he did discover made even his demon blood run cold.  This shift between him and Ren as enemies to him and Ren fighting together was so subtle and I enjoyed following their partnership throughout the book.  It would have devastated me if their relationship had turned into a love relationship as it just didn't fit the tone of the book, at least for now.  Maybe later.  

I wasn't overly sympathetic to Ren at the beginning, but having read some of this author's other work, I understood how he wrote and I was willing to be patient.  That patience definitely won as Ren's backstory was slowly revealed and while you really had to read between the lines, I am so glad it was done this way as her story was pretty horrific.  I definitely became a fan of hers towards the end.  It made their relationship so much more interesting throughout the book and I loved the give and take that happened.  Both Tarrick and Ren were so interesting as characters and I enjoyed them both.

The plot moved quickly from event to event but what I really enjoyed was the well-thought out magic system.  It wasn't in your face and a lot was explained as you read along but I enjoyed it and thought it was kind of neat.  I have always enjoyed the way this author wrote and this book was no different; he has a way of drawing you in and I definitely stayed up way too late finishing this book.  There were lots of witty and snarky moments and I enjoyed them as much as the fight and magic scenes.  

Shadow of the Exile was a pleasure to read and I am so happy to learn there will be a sequel, Dawn of the Exile, releasing March 19th 2019.  Tarrick and Ren had an interesting relationship and I enjoyed how we only hear Tarrick's thoughts about the events as the book was written from his point of view which made it even more interesting.   Full of interesting details with a fascinating magic system, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interesting in fantasy with magic and demons.