The Fifth Vertex by Kevin Hoffman
The Sigilord Chronicles book one
Self Published, Aug 2, 2014
So it is Banned Books Week and the ALA is promoting comics. I saw the cover of this book on Netgalley and went “cool, graphic novel we could feature” I requested it and downloaded it and much to my surprise it is not a graphic novel but a self published novel by an author with a love of off roading in his armored jeep he calls “Zombie Killer”. <from his Amazon page>
This is a cool blend of science fiction, fantasy, and gladiators. For a debut (fiction) novel well written and with neat world building…. Urus is our deaf hero and main character. I was never able to picture him quite accurately since in the story he came off like a dark skinned Hunchback of Notre Damn, (the literary one, not the Disney one). A castoff of society who uses brute strength to overcome obstacles but who has a tender heart. Backing him up is his Hercules like best friend the secretly gay Goodwyn and the waif of a girl Cailix who’s only loyalty is to herself and who has inherited a powerful blood magic from her father. A bit of a stretch? Probably. Do the solutions often have magically “poof we make it better” quality? Yes. And the ending? It is more of a season finale from a crime show intended to make you watch the next season to see which of your favorite characters make it than a true ending to a book.
But in the end I did not care. I enjoyed this romp through a post industrial society where technology has been replaced by magic and the land has reverted to a feudal system with often brutal laws and consequences for those that do not fit within the expected norms of society.
Parents please note, there is no age range suggested but I would not offer this to anyone younger than a mature 6th grader. It it is graphically violent with some adult themes. namely: Goodwyn’s fear of rejection at loving another man (there is kissing but not much else though sex is hinted at), lots and lots of splashy blood and gore (some disturbing), and prejudice of one race over another to near genocide.