Disclosure: The reviewer received a review copy of this book via NetgalleySoultaker by Robert J. Duperre
Series: The Knights Eternal #1
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction
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I admit it: The cover art snagged me. It just looks like a thrilling sci-fi adventure cover. There’s one of the Knights Eternal in his armor, with his railgun, ready for action. Mr. Duperre’s writing lives up to the promise of the cover.
Soultaker takes place about a thousand years after the apocalyptic "Rising" event wiped out modern civilization. Three "brothers" comprise the Knights Eternal who keep the peace in the Wasteland and try to maintain the civilization that is centered in Sal Yaddo. The knights are generated through some unknown artificial means and incarnate as adults. Their missions are based on cryptic instructions from an oracle.
We meet our three protagonists, Shade, Meesh, and Abe, on a mission pursuing the religious fanatic Cooper, who is traveling the Wasteland putting together an army of Outriders. The oracle’s message isn’t very clear, so the knights don’t know if they’re supposed to help or stop Cooper. The knights have their own personal issues that aren’t helping: Meesh is being impetuous, Shade is moody and taciturn, and Abe is seeing things that aren’t there. And, of course, there are demons pushing their way into the world and causing mayhem.
I loved the pacing of this story. It starts off with a big fight scene in a tavern–a kick-ass start that grabbed me right away. There’s plenty of action and well-done fight scenes that kept me reading long past when I should have gone to bed. There were a couple of info dumps dropped into the action, including a Bond-villian-esque scene where the antagonist explains the whole plan, but most of the story felt organic.
Out of the three main characters, Abe had the most depth and believability. Shade had depth, but he could switch from blood enemy to warm compadre a bit faster than I could believe. Meesh was mostly two dimensional, but this story didn’t really focus much on him. His best parts were mostly in combat.
What Makes it Epic Grit:
- Adventure and Wonder: There’s lots of adventure in a unique post-apocalyptic setting.
- Believable Characters: Given the fantastical premise–yes.
- Real Consequences: Again, given the fantastical premise–yes.
- Epic in Scope: Yes.
- Subverts "Good versus Evil" Tropes: Each faction has some valid points of view and each faction takes some despicable actions.
- Different Perspectives: Each of the three Knights is a POV character. While they are diverse, they do represent the authority faction of the area.
Soultaker has a great premise and fast-paced action. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!