James McStravick reviews Empire Of The Saviours by A J Dalton.
In the Empire of the Saviours, the People are forced to live in fortified towns. Their walls are guarded by an army of Heroes, whose task is to keep marauding pagans out as much as it is to keep the People inside. Several times a year, living Saints visit the towns to exact the Saviours’ tithe from all those coming of age – a tithe often paid in blood. When a young boy, Jillan, unleashes pagan magicks in an accident, his whole town turns against him. He goes on the run, but what hope can there be when the Saviours and the entire Empire decide he must be caught? Jillan is initially hunted by just the soldiers of the Saint of his region, but others soon begin to hear of his increasing power and seek to use him for their own ends. Some want Jillan to join the fight against the Empire, others wish to steal his power for themselves and others still want Jillan to lead them to the Geas, the source of all life and power in the world. There are very few Jillan can trust, except for a ragtag group of outcasts. His parents threatened, his life in tatters, his beliefs shaken to the core, Jillan must decide which side he is on, and whether to fight or run.
People say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but when you see a cover like Empire of the Saviours, it’s hard not to imagine a great dark and gripping fantasy novel. Sometimes letting your initial judgement of a book be determined by the cover is not a good idea because the book may not meet your expectations, but I was glad to see this wasn’t case with Empire of the Saviours.
When I first picked up Empire of the Saviours, I found it a bit difficult to get into due to the start of it focusing a lot around the locals and their beliefs. I sometimes find it difficult reading books with this kind of environment, but as the story developed we quickly discover all is not what it seems and the pace of the book quickly picks up.
The one aspect that impressed me the most was Dalton’s focus on characterisation and the details we find out about each character. Some people find books with heavy focus on characterisation hard to read due to the amount of information involved, but Dalton’s style of writing and the story he moulds around the characters make it a lot easier to read. The character I enjoyed reading about the most is Jillan because throughout the book we see him experience numerous different emotions due to different situations, and how he dealt with him made his a great character.
If when you first read Empire of the Saviours like myself you find it difficult to get into I highly suggest you push past this because what you will discover is a world that will grip and intrigue you. Not only that but the book has some great actions scenes in it and these were the scenes that I loved devouring the most due to their intensity and great flow. I don’t want to discuss these too much as I feel the battle scenes are one of the books true aces and are a pleasure to read.
Even with all of these great things to say about the book there were definitely some points were I felt that certain scenes dragged on a bit or the pacing slowed down but thankfully there weren’t too many moments of these throughout the course of the book. The one negative about the book I did find hard to deal with the most was when a POV switch occurred, there were no font change or formatting to indicate this was going to occur. So unfortunately there were occasions where I suddenly found myself reading a different POV and sometimes I didn’t discover right away. I feel if a font change or formatting was added to allude to this then the book would become much easier to read.
Other than the small negatives I mentioned above I still thoroughly enjoyed reading Empire of the Saviours, it is a well crafted book with great writing and a thoroughly enjoyable story. I would highly recommend it to any fan of the fantasy book genre.