I've been needing a good, solid fantasy story, and The Nethergrim worked perfectly.
The synopsis compares it to the Ranger's Apprentice series and Chronicles of Narnia, but it's definitely more Ranger's Apprentice. Not quite sure how it's supposed to be like Narnia. But whatever.
Everybody knows the story: The great knight Tristan and the wizard Vithric went to slay the Nethergrim. Sixty men went up - three men came down. But Tristan had managed to defeat the Nethergrim.
Except...that's not quite how the story goes.
The Nethergrim was dark. It was depressing. It had a female knight, who was neither butch nor a misandrist. She wasn't a damsel in distress, and although she did need saving, she gave as good as she got.
The writing was wonderful, ranging from goofy to lyrical in nature. The lines describing magic were gorgeous to read.“Every spell is something special, fit for the moment when it's done." Edmund pushed his bowl across to Tom. "It's not just the words you say, but the way they make you feel, the meaning and the rhythm, the connection you make with them. It's not just the things you think, but how the place and time you're in can change them.”
It felt like the moment when he first learned to read, the first time the shapes and squiggles on the page had resolved into thoughts.
“I am happy to say that there is nothing to report." The guard's voice grew muffled as he bent to shrug off his armor. "Save that I now know every path and stream in this village as though I were born here and had never set foot outside it, and have counted all the leaves on all the trees and found them in good health and order, and have taken the liberty of naming all the frogs down by the creek, placing them into clans by the markings on their back and taking for myself the title King and Overlord of all Frog-Kind.”
In short, I loved it.
If I had to nitpick, the book tended to overuse the word "down" (especially in later chapters), but it allowed me to reference an MST3k skit
, so it wasn't too bad.
My only regret is that I read this shortly after it came out, and will have to wait for the other two books in the trilogy.