Imperator. A word synonymous with fear, pain, loathing and, for a chosen few, the sharp end of a blade. The voice of the Emperor, an Imperator is the perfect weapon, skilled in combat, politics and strategy and moulded by years of punishing training. They are the hidden assassins, the enforcers of the Emperor’s will.
They are the hunters of the unknown.
Calidan Darkheart is an Imperator, a self-professed killer and an adept hunter of the creatures that most citizens of the Empire do not realise exist.
Together with his hulking companion Cassius, he hunts the beast that slaughtered their home village.
Pity those who find themselves in their path.
Calidan and Cassius were bright young boys, living peaceful, happy lives in a remote mountain village, until the day everything changed. Once the screams have subsided, and with the horrors they have seen embedded in their minds, they embark on a journey of survival, fraught with danger, strange magic and dark deeds. Unbowing and undaunted they push forward, striving for power, making lifelong friendships along the way, and above all else, discovering the truth behind the magnificent, mythical Great Hearts.
Young Calidan is a boy full of hope and courage, driven by the past but not ruled by it.
Old Calidan is a bitter and twisted killer of monsters and men, his past haunting his dreams.
This is his story.
After reading the blurb, it got me excited, more than most books I've read recently, and while I can say I'm looking forward to the 2nd book, my initial level of excitement didn't quite materialise into the same level of enjoyment.
The story is about 2 boys living in a tribal village, whereby they are suddenly attacked by a band of ruthless killers. Their entire village is slaughtered, but the 2 boys manage to escape. Through luck and skill they survive, and the rest of the story follows their path to revenge as they grow and become stronger.
The book is told in a journal type format, similar to The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I don't normally enjoy those type of books, but this books does a good job in blending the past with the present, and it wasn't totally focused on the past.
The first half the book had me hooked and I couldn't stop reading. It had been awhile since I was so engrossed in a book and so I was a little disappointed that the 2nd portion of the book didn't continue in the same rich form.
I'm not saying it was a dramatic fall in quality but I felt the storyline shifted in a wholly different tangent which I didn't expect or admittedly enjoy. I don't want to spoil it but to say that for me it just didn't work for me.
Another reason was that I couldn't quite fathom the tone of the book; the story started very dark and graphic, which I thought set the tone for the rest of the book, but then it shifted to almost child like innocence for majority of the book, with the occasional dramatic shift in maturity, I have to say it left me confused - like reading Harry Potter mixed with Game of Thrones.
I thought the characterisation of both boys were done really well, and as it was told in Calidan's first person you got a real sense of his character and his special relationship with his 'cat', Seya, who I thought pretty much stole the show (if you're a cat person then you'll enjoy this book).
A very well written book and despite my issues with the story, it was still enjoyable and well worth a read.
Out of 10 Stars:
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