Picked this up on a whim in a Waterstone’s, having seen considerable praise for it on the internet. New and shiny as it was, it obviously shot to the top of my TBR pile, and I started it in the next few days. In short: I read it in about 3 sittings and absolutely loved it. The very first page pulled me in and made me laugh both, to an extent unmatched by any book I’ve read up until now. Hot off having finished Glen Cook’s The Chronicles of the Black Company, I’m enjoying reading about mercenary companies. Thinking about it, I’ve always enjoyed reading mercenary stories: as noted in an earlier review, I massively enjoyed The Deed of Paksenarrion, and the following Paladin’s Legacy, though my love of mercenary companies can be traced (I think) back to Stan Nicholls’ Orcs, and Raymond E. Feist’s Serpentwar Saga. The bonus of using a mercenary company as the central group of characters is that there is more license to be crude and more overtly humorous. In Stranger of Tempest, this is achieved incredibly well. I’m unsure as to whether or not it is my specific sense of humour or not, but I found the dialogue in particular to be very funny, bordering on hilarious, throughout the book.
The world of The God Fragments series is wonderfully thought out as well, with an interesting history and some amazing twists, such as the way the company is based on a deck of cards. I also love the premise of mage-guns; the way they are dropped into the story as if they are nothing out of the ordinary and only later examined in detail. The one thing which would have improved it however, would have been a map.
The plot did not give me any respite. The story moved incredibly fast, and it was only once I had had a few moments to consider did I realise that not much actually happened. Without giving too much away, the plot works up to a central event by the clever (and effective) use of flash-backs and flash-forwards, which occurs in the first half of the book, and is then followed by a thrill-ride/horror type story, punctuated by some fantastic actions sequences. The space which might have been spent on more major events is, in my opinion spent more wisely on a greater volume of snappy dialogue and world-building. Overall, I didn’t find myself able to take enough of a break to question it during reading, and even having observed it since, I still don’t find myself at all disappointed with the book.
‘Stranger of Tempest’, by Tom Lloyd is the first in The God Fragments Series.