Unusually I am going to start with the ending. It was what I call a “duff duff duff” moment, if you have never watched Eastenders the theme tune cuts in at the dramatic ending leaving you normally thinking “Noooooo! You can’t end it there”, or so I have heard. Luckily this is a trilogy and Soul Stealer looks like carrying on the fine work of Kell’s Legend.
The book centres around Kell an old warrior who has seen it all, done it all, and most of it not very nice. He feels shamed by the things he has done, and this is exacerbated by the Legend which makes him out to be a noble and heroic figure. Kell is quite satisfied with his quiet life as a grumpy old man that lives a solitary life apart from the visits of his granddaughter Nienna who’s University funding is the one thing he is proud of.
Of course this doesn’t last long as the whole town is slaughtered by an invading army apart from Kell and his companions. Escaping to warn the King about the invasion they get tracked and attacked by monstrous Cankers, ambushed by soldiers, and eventually Nienna is used as leverage to force Kell into doing something.
Meanwhile we gradually learn about the society of the clockwork vampires or Vachines as they like to be called. Before long there is a huge battle, wholesale slaughter and Kell is forced to activate the bloodbond with his axe Illana which is not a good thing for anyone around him.
This is a fast paced action fantasy novel with plenty of violence and enough plot threads to ensure you go and pick-up the next book. The characters are vivid and I genuinely have no idea where the next book is going to lead, aside from lots of bloodshed. This is well worth a read if you like your fantasy hard and fast, but you will have to read the next book as there is a lot left un-answered, and that is not a bad thing in my opinion.
After finishing this book the Robot Overlords have included some extras for you as they have with all the other Angry Robot books I have read. In this case there is a very amusing quickfire interview with the author which left me chuckling and brings the author to life as a person rather than a faceless writer locked in a cupboard somewhere.