Age of Alchemy: Night of the Horde


Worth reading 😎

A flawed but fun story filled with action and set in a unique world.

The story kicks off at a ball before quickly morphing into betrayals, bloody battles, and dead bodies. The fighting is shown from both sides and as they inch closer to colliding, loyalties, hope, and world views are pushed to the breaking point.

What I really like is that despite the length of the book, it’s never boring or slow. The whole story happens in about 12 hours and there’s little down time, which is further quickened by the multiple perspectives and location changes. The last quarter is especially quick and engaging.

Information is sometimes muddled, so you’re left to discover motives and movements as they happen. It’s an invasion stuffed with contention, greed and bravery, wrapped in mystery, and dusted with treason. It’s not a flawless execution, but debut novels shouldn’t be the peak of literary genius or there’s no place to go. I see the author’s potential brilliance and I want to stick around for the rest of the story.

I really like alchemy as an alternative to magic. Here it’s mostly shown as potions that boost the body’s faculties. It doesn’t do anything outrageous like make you fly, but it has just enough advantage to be worthwhile and is balanced by hefty risks to prevent it from being too powerful. I hope to learn more of its creation and uses outside the body because it’s unusualness should be fully utilized.

Because I’ve seen these types of characters often, I don’t think they’re all that memorable. The ending does change some of them, so hopefully they’ll get better. 

The dialogue doesn’t particularly stand out. At times it’s very good but it has some modernity that I don’t like.

I think the weakest part is the description. It doesn’t always make sense (like a portcullis having hinges) and I had trouble visualizing some locations. I got the basic idea, but it’s something I’d like to see improved. The fights also need some help. I could tell what happened, but shorter and simpler sentences would make for sharper action.

Negatives aside, I see a promising author. For me, if a story sucks there’s only a slim chance I’ll continue a series, so that first hurdle is cleared. If Shaw keeps growing and improving—as I’m sure he will—I’ll keep reading his books.

Reviewed by

Reader, writer, bread eater. I also wrangle chickens when the occasion demands.
I never shy away from sharing my honest opinion in my reviews.
Primary genres are fantasy, classics, historical fiction, and mysteries.

About the author

Sebastian Shaw was born in Rome, Italy, to a family with a strong American heritage. A passionate reader since early childhood, he fell in love with the world of fantasy. Driven by an unquenchable curiosity for ancient myths and video games, Sebastian loves music and travelling the world. view profile

Published on October 30, 2020

130000 words

Genre: Fantasy

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