Firesky by Mark de Jagar
MARK DE JAGER
Desire burns in Stratus’ soul, powerful like an inferno. With his memory returning, he finally knows who—and what—he is. And by knowing his true nature, he learns the secrets of his past. How he was brought low by the hand of a dark magician known as the Worm King, separated from his true love, tortured for centuries and now trapped inside the body of a human.
But with the memories of his old life comes a return of his true magic, and with it, his true form is slowly returning.
And Stratus wants revenge. Bloody and relentless, he slaughters his way through hordes of the undead to reach his archenemy, fighting not only for his own justice but for the whole of humanity...
Stratus returns in the second of The Chronicles of Stratus, Firesky. And in this book, Stratus not only has to deal with The Worm Lord’s attacking forces, but he also has to gain vengeance for the imprisonment and humiliation that he suffered at his hands.
In the first book, Stratus happily killed and ate his way across the country after waking with no memory of who he was, why he was there and what he should do, and eventually found himself in the employ of Prince Lucien of Falkenburg, promising him to help the City fight against the dread terror of The Worm Lord and his army of wizards and the undead. At the conclusion of Infernal, Stratus had remembered the secret of who he was and his true identity and nature. Firesky picks up with the repercussions of Infernal with Stratus’s newfound friend Tatayana, and what she exactly makes of the news that her friend is not who she thought he was.
Following on from the events of the first book with Stratus fulfilling his promise to give his aid to the city, Firesky continues in much the same vein as Infernal, yet we now know the true nature of Stratus and what he can do. However, in this second installment we also learn more of The Worm Lord and what exactly he is capable of. In this second book, Stratus battles armies of the undead, strange beasts and terrible mages whose only plan is the destruction of all mankind.
When we met Stratus originally, he was primarily a one-man killing machine, who also has a hunger to eat everything that he can and there are no major character changes in the second book, although we learn much more about him, with Mark de Jagar giving us some backstory to Stratus in the form of flashbacks.
Due to the fact that this is a duology, Mark de Jager has a lot of work to do in regards to plot and narrative. On the one hand he has to expand the world and the characters, and on the other, he has to bring the series to a close, tying up loose ends from both Infernal and the ones that are introduced in Firesky.
The story bounds along at a dragon’s pace and we marvel at just how many people Stratus can kill. It’s a bit like watching a fantasy version of John Wick as he kills with impunity and in lots of various differently gruesome ways as he heads off with Tatayana to destroy The Worm Lord. However, we get a sizeable backstory which was missing in the first book about Stratus himself, and the reason why he hates The Worm Lord.
I found that there is an undertone of horror, particularly with the monsters that Mark de Jagar describes, and I must say that I found them particularly repulsive in the way that they are constructed. Mark De Jager has an exceptional ability to put the reader front and centre of the action due to the first person narrative, and you get a really good view of how truly terrifying and horrific some of the monsters are that The Worm Lord constructs.
Mark de Jager writes fantastic action scenes, which is a good job really, as the book is mainly driven by the action. However, it was good to see Stratus’s relationship with Tatayana grow as he learns more about the world that he is traveling in, and the people that inhabit it, which at times gives us a comedic element to the story, particularly when Tatayana is describing why he shouldn’t particularly kill everyone that he meets.
In addition to this, there are plot twists galore and a new element that was not explored in the first book which gives much more depth to Stratus’s character as a whole.
The Chronicles of Stratus is one of my surprise hits and I loved it. Stratus is a really good character. At times, there is that fish out of water comedy, which makes him quite endearing in his own way. On the other hand, he is an out and out killer with no remorse for the destruction that he creates, yet he has a soft and loyal side that you cannot help but like.
If you like your fantasy filled with Dragons, evil wizards and plenty of gore fuelled action let me point you in the direction of The Chronicles of Stratus, you will not be disappointed
I'm sold! This sounds right up my alley.ReplyDelete
I like it Jodie, I think I have been banging on about it for ages now.Delete