When I think of Jen Williams and her writing a few words spring to mind... adventurous... fun... and balanced. The Iron Ghost, the sequel to the very successful The Copper Promise, is all of these and so much more.
The Iron Ghost picks up on the adventures of protagonists Lord Frith, Sebastian, and Wydrin as they find themselves in high demand following the events of The Copper Promise. When a job comes up in the distant city of Skaldshollow it looks like an easy way to make money. But things are never easy, and an infamous mage appears alongside enemies old and new to threaten the heroes in ways they could never imagine.
I loved many things about The Iron Ghost. Like The Copper Promise, it is a very fresh and modern take on the classic fantasy adventure that we all know and love. Firth, Sebastian, and Wydrin are as rich and vivid as I remember them, and the cast of new characters (Joah Demonsworn especially) have added a real depth to the adventure. The story is propelled along at a cracking pace, with action aplenty and magical and bestial mayhem on every page. Williams has also managed to weave a sense of purpose and meaning into this book, and you find yourself immersed not only in the action that leaps out from the pages but also in the thoughts and motivations of the characters. I especially loved gaining an insight into the mind of Joah Demonsworn, and his slip into madness was depicted brilliantly by the narrative. The world building again is filled with detail and depth, and Williams has taken her writing to another level by incorporating a sense of grit and realism that wasn't as present in The Copper Promise. I adored reading this book as my eyes lit up at the many mage battles, demon infused children, dragons and walking stone statues! The Iron Ghost has literally taken all that is good about Dungeons and Dragons and added an enthralling sense of character and fun to it that has brought the genre of quest fantasy into the 21st century. I finished this book in one sitting, and the ripping and fun filled banter between the characters kept me glued from start to finish.
Jen Williams has an amazing gift for storytelling, and The Iron Ghost highlights this. It is amazing to think that she is still a relatively new writer on the scene, with only two books under her belt. All in all The Iron Ghost is a vibrant and inventive fantasy filled with addictive characters and action. The Dungeons and Dragons for a new generation, I would highly recommend this book to anyone with even a remote interest in speculative fiction.
4 out of 5 stars.
A review copy was provided.