Guest Review- The Thousand Names by Django Wexler- Reviewed by GRRR8_Catsby
Ok so we have something a little different. I have a guest review that I just wanted to put up because I am currently reading Emperor of Ruin but I have yet to read his other works. This review is by a fellow scifi/fantasy reader with discerning tastes.
The Thousand Names ( The Shadow Campaigns #1) by Django Wexler
The Thousand Names is one of the most interesting fantasy books that I have read in a while.
At surface level, The Thousand Names doesn't read like a fantasy book at all. In fact, at multiple points throughout, I had to remind myself exact what I was reading. The first entry in The Shadow Campaigns series follows the Vordanai army as it marches through the Khandarai desert, as they try to reclaim the city of Ashe-Katarion from an army of religious zealots.
The bulk of the book reads as a stereotypical war novel; battles come often, and are descriptive while still retaining accessibility. I have very little experience with military or war stories, and at no time reading did I feel lost. Differing POV's do an excellent job of telling a complete, balanced story, alternating between the officer ranks and the infantrymen. Being the first in a series of five books, the ending feels like a reasonable conclusion, with a tease of what may come, rather than a blatant cliff-hanger.
I have very few complaints about The Thousand Names, but a few complaints do exist. To the reader who loves epic world-building, be prepared to be frustrated. The Thousand Names is very exposition-lite; we find ourselves thrust into the story, and tidbits of the living world are discovered as the main characters do. As previously mentioned, The Thousand Names is a fantasy book that is light on the fantasy. While magic is teased throughout the novel, we are bereft of it in substantial amounts until the final stretch of the book. The magic system itself feels under-explained, and magic users feel more like X-Men than powerful mages.
The Shadow Campaigns starts out with a strong first entry, and I am excited to see where the author will go from here.