Underrated: The Last Sacrifice – by James A. Moore

Tides of War Book #1

Grimdark Fantasy

Angry Robot: January 3, 2017

320 pages

2.5/5 ✪

33 Reviews on Goodreads

The Last Sacrifice is an example of good grimdark writing that is let down by shallow world-building, an unsatisfying conclusion and generally dark, unlikeable characters. James A. Moore is the author of the Seven Forges quartet, a series I’ve heard generally good things about. The Last Sacrifice serves as my intro to his works.

The Last Sacrifice finds Brogan McTyre returning from a job protecting caravans to find four coins on his doorstep. His family is gone, never to return. For when the Grakhul take sacrifices—leaving one thick, gold coin for every man, woman or child for each—those people are never to be seen again. They are not even seen as living once the immortal servants of the gods seize them. To look upon their faces once more would be death, and going after them even worse, sacrilege. But Brogan McTyre does not care what it will cost him—he cares simply for his family. And will do anything to get them back.

So begins the Tides of War, which is… well. It’s not bad, nor is it great. Let me explain.

The book is a dark, brooding place: a great example of grimdark lit, actually, or would be if it was of a bit more substance. While at first the gloom blanketing every town tells of an atmosphere complementary to the dark story, upon second glance it appears just to be a fog written in to cover for the fact that nothing in the world has any depth. This works well enough in a book where each POV character is on the lam—no locale is around long enough to be seen with any clarity—but would fall apart were the story anything more than one big chase scene. Far from a thriller, it features a slow and steady build that leads to an ultimately unsatisfying conclusion.

Though neither the story nor world-building are anything special, it’s characters, well… don’t stand out much either. The cast fits the other two, certainly. Each man and woman is dark, brooding and generally unlikeable. Moore could scrap ‘em all and start anew in Book #2 and it wouldn’t bother me.

So to sum up, unlikeable characters mixed with a sub-par attempt at world-building did little to improve a story that proved just enough to hold my interest to its conclusion. A conclusion, I might add, that concluded little. So, if you like Moore or grimdark, you might give it a shot. Otherwise, the Last Sacrifice might be one to skip.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s