Maybe I don’t read enough (hahaHAHAHA) but I honestly can’t think of a grimdark meets high fantasy series that is as accessible as R. S. Ford’s War of The Archons. Granted, we only have the first book, A Demon In Silver, but I was well impressed with how Mr Ford took the best elements of both genres to create a very readable series debut. Written as essentially a chase narrative, we’re introduced to the various players as they become embroiled in the pursuit of Livia Harrow, a farm girl who begins to display magical powers thought to have disappeared over a century ago. Best of all, the book then circles round to its beginning to upend everything we thought we knew about the narrative. It’s a thrilling, twisty trip through a brutal fantasy land that isn’t, thankfully, just a reimagined Europe, and I’m definitely on board to see where Mr Ford goes with this series next.
One thing I could use a little less of were the (thankfully only occasional) incidents of tortured prose. Style is as style does, and while I can overlook the creative use of adverbs (and the overuse of the word “trews”,) this next was just too much for me:
“Her fingers moved across the blanket that covered her until her fingertips were consumed by [her dog’s] soft fur.”
No, her dog does not have carnivorous fur, and no, her fingertips did not undergo some sort of physical or spiritual transformation. As much as I love my people at Titan Press (hello and thank you for the books!) this kind of nonsense begs for stricter editing. But if that kind of thing doesn’t bother you, then I can absolutely recommend ADiS as a terrifically written high grimdark fantasy, especially since it is far and away the most fun I’ve had with the genre since early Ciaphas Cain (which technically is genre-adjacent, I know, don’t @ me.)
Stay tuned for a special treat, readers: we’ll be posting an interview with the author himself on the 20th as part of his blog tour. Check out some of the other stops using the infographic in the meantime!