Roil by Trent Jamieson [1. Bought with my own money from Angry Robot Books]
Shale is in trouble, dying. A vast, chaotic, monster-bearing storm known only as the Roil is expanding, consuming the land.
Where once there were twelve great cities, now only four remain, and their borders are being threatened by the growing cloud of darkness. The last humans are fighting back with ever more bizarre new machines. But one by one the defences are failing. And the Roil continues to grow.
With the land in turmoil, it’s up to a decadent wastrel, a four thousand year-old man, and a young woman intent on revenge to try to save their city – and the world.
Roil is a fast-paced post apocalyptic fantasy that drops you right into a new world from the first page. Reviewed in EPUB format.
This book is brutal, very dark, almost unremittingly so. Even the best of the grimdark genre needs moments of light or hope, though, or the book becomes emotionally draining- like this one does. So much so I had to stop half way through and read something else. I sincerely hope the second book has some more bright spots in it.
The writing is competent, often poetic, but sometimes a little overwrought. Now, I love a bit of melodramatic writing along with the next goth girl, and while most of it was perfectly within the feel of the novel, sometimes I ended up rolling my eyes.
The characters are very well drawn, you get to know them quite fast even if intially they only have bare-bones personalities- but the trouble with Jamieson’s skill is characterisation is lies in the tendency he has to show us enjoyable character who exist only to die in the same chapter they’re introduced. Like a number of the techniques he uses, this tires the reader out, leaving them no room to care for the main characters.
I won’t spoilt the ending, or anything that happens if I can avoid it, as it really is breathtaking. A lot of the things I really loved about this novel I can’t reveal, as they would count as spoilers. It’s that kind of book.
If you find poetic description annoying, or you can’t handle unrelenting GRIMDARK, you will HATE this book. Otherwise, I’d say it’s well worth a read. I will certainly be picking up the sequel.
You can read an excerpt on the Angry Robot site, and purchase it from their official bookstore