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Genre: Fantasy, General Fantasy
Elliott manages to avoid many of the pitfalls of regular-people-lost-in-fantasy-worlds stories by having his protagonists be bluntly pragmatic (and sometimes uncomfortably, realistically unsympathetic) and crafting his world to be both vivid and unique; the Tormentors, Invia and war mages are all darkly compelling takes on what could have easily been weak tropes in lesser hands. A gripping series of events moves briskly, and although there are two books to go, Elliott includes plenty of consequences here, enough to draw in readers, leaving us all wanting to know what happens to the world as much as to our protagonists.
Eric is shiftless and lazy, but basically a good sort. So is Case, except he’s also homeless, an alcoholic and maybe a bit suicidal. The friends find a door to the strange world of Levaal, where a mad lord twists civilization to make himself into a god and the few cities he hasn’t conquered are increasingly left without options. Eric and Case probably aren’t anyone’s choice of heroes, but events and creatures beyond their control are going to use them anyway. For there’s a wall stretching across the sky at one end of Levaal, and it needs to be broken. (TOR, Mar., 448 pp., $26.99)
Reviewed By: Ian Mathers
Published: March 2014