|The Iron Ghost|
By Jen Williams
Published by Headline
ARC - 538 pages
Published 26th February 2015
Review copy from publisher
In a nutshell
The Iron Ghost picks up a few months from where The Copper Promise left off.
Our heroes - Wydrin, Frith and Sebastian - are called to the town of Skaldshallow, whose people have had a priceless artifact stolen from them by their enemy.
What begins as a heist soon turns into something much bigger, much darker and much more taxing than any of them could have guessed.
Old enemies, armies of monsters and the very spirit of the mountains band together to stop something long-dead from regaining power.
I absolutely adore Williams' characters. Frith, Sebastian and Wydrin are all fundamentally broken in some way, and they all have to overcome this to battle something much bigger than themselves.
Wydrin most of all encompasses the spirit of the novel - she's a hard hitting badass that likes to quaff mead, get into a scrap and curse a blue streak all in the name of a good time.
With so many grim-dark fantasies coming out of the woodwork, The Iron Ghost is a breath of fresh air that shows us that's okay to have a bit of fun in your fantasy world.
That's not to say that it's filled with frivolity. Williams really kicks it up a notch when it comes to smacking you in the face with death, destruction, loss and terror.
There's a scene in particular that reminds me of Ocarina of Time, where adult Link first leaves the Temple of Time and is faced with the ReDead. Gave me the heebie-jeebies.
What didn't work
There's a lot more happening in this book than in The Copper Promise, and while the story doesn't suffer for it, it felt like there should have been more time dedicated to some supporting characters to make them truly sympathetic.
Williams gives a new lease of life to a genre that has become saturated with grit and darkness. The Iron Ghost makes fantasy fun again, but isn't afraid to punch you in the gut every now and again. An absolute delight to read, and I can't wait for the next one to fall into my lap.
Recommended for ...
Anyone who likes having fun when they sit down to read a fantasy. Even if you're a grumpy sod who's all about darkness and doom in your books, lighten up a little and give this a go.
Want more? Check out my review of The Copper Promise by Jen Williams
Also take a look at my interview with Jen Williams