Through the Wildwood (The Legend of Vanx Malic)
starts with a cheeky misdirection of the reader which is, nonetheless, a engaging hook that makes you smile and want to keep reading. No wasted words here, just a tightly focused immersing story with some memorable characters. Vanx himself is multifaceted and revealed a bit at a time. His companions are equally well fleshed out, my favorite being the one-handed whore, Matty. None of the usual flat fantasy cliches here.
The pacing is swift, the language fit for purpose. There’s the right amount of clever humor and some captivating action scenes with just enough quirks to make them stand out from the run of the mill stuff in the genre.
I very much like the poems/quotes that introduce each chapter, and the formatting in this respect is exemplary. It’s professionally produced, polished, and easy on the eye.
My overall impression is that the author knows his world inside out. It has depth, history, and an almost cinematic tangibility that makes it easy to see yourself there. Through the Wildwood is competently and confidently executed, an enjoyable romp in the tradition of sword and sorcery.
Be prepared: it’s the first in a series, so there are still loose ends to tie up. If the sequel is as good as the opener, it will be well worth the wait.