lördag 2 juni 2012
Kell's Legend is one of those books that I stumbled upon when roaming the few bloggers I regularly visit, and most seemed to think Andy Remic was on to something special. So I googled it, and rummaged through what spoiler-free info I could find and decided to order the book. There are many comparisons to David Gemmell, of which I've actually read only one book, but you instantly feel the connection between Druss the Legend and Kell as older heroes sharing many similar traits. The cursed weapon-bearer is given a bit of a fresh Moorcock-feel as well with Illana, the bloodbond axe that Kell carries. Touted as the great successor to Gemmell though I think Remic will need a bit more time, and development to fully realize his potential for the world and characters of his books.
Remic has a habit of ending each chapter with a sort of mini-cliffhanger that leaves you struggling to put down the book at each chapter's end.
There are moments of vividly imagined history and world-building, and the Vachine are nothing short of race-building genius. Clockwork vampires of a layered society with albino foot-soldiers, the Vachine nobles and then the Harvesters. There's so much potential there you get a bit downhearted when Remic goes on to the rather flat characters of Kat and Nienna and the small world they seem to inhabit. The lands of Falanor are woefully under-developed and places like Stone Lion Woods and Jajor Falls get nothing of the introduction or depth of detail being just checkpoints along the way to what should have been a climactic battle between the King's Eagle Divisons and the Iron Army of the Vachine.
Kell and his along-the-way-acquired sidekick, the dandy Saark, are rendered more deeply and developed partly throughout the book but there are several pretty easily penetrated plot mechanics. But then again, you don't go into a Gemmell-book expecting a wealth of pretty prose and deep-loding philosophic meandering. You look for action, bloody battles and siege-mentality, and this is where Andy Remic's Kell's Legend delivers. He throws a fast pace, with a story that hurtles along, of blood, grit and some gratuitious sex thrown in for good measure. The main character turns into a duo a few chapters in when Saark gains a bit more space, and they are the two characters who see the most development. Events in the Black Pike Mountains get some time as well with Anukis and Vashell, and we see some of the best world-building in the events unfolding in Silva Valley, the home of the Vachine.
All in all I see Remic's first book in the Clockwork Vampire Chronicles as a promise not quite fulfilled. I don't think he steps out of the shadow of Druss the Legend, the mantle being a tad to big, but he has set the stage for a thrilling second book with Kell on the way to confront his past in the Black Pike Mountains. Anukis, the degenerate Vachine, now outcast from her society is poised to seek out her father Kradek-ka in the fabled Nonterrazake.
READSTER MAGNITUDE SCALE: 4.7
REMINDS ME OF: Legend by David Gemmell in the depiction of a lone warrior fighting back a surging invasion with axe and fury. Lots of blood, grit and severed limbs.
Conan, the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard with a charismatic lead character that rises to overcome any foe, with a flimsy of followers or supporting cast that kind of fall by the wayside.