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Friday, June 7, 2013

The Colour Of Vengeance by Rob J. Hayes (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)


Order the book HERE (Amazon US) and HERE (Amazon UK)
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Heresy Within

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Rob J. Hayes was born and brought up in Basingstoke, UK. As a child he was fascinated with Lego, Star Wars and Transformers that fueled his imagination and he spent quite a bit of his growing up years playing around with such. He began writing at the age of fourteen however soon discovered the fallacies of his work. After four years at University studying Zoology and three years working for a string of high street banks as a desk jockey/keyboard monkey Rob lived on a desert island in Fiji for three months. It was there he re-discovered his love of writing and, more specifically, of writing fantasy. 

OFFICIAL BLURB: The Colour of Vengeance is the second book of the debut trilogy, The Ties that Bind by Rob J. Hayes

Beaten, battered and damned near broken with a bounty on his head so large he’s tempted to turn himself in, the Black Thorn finds himself on trial for the crime of being him. Despite the impending probability of death he has but one thought on his mind; taking revenge against the Arbiter who took his eye. 

In order to carry out his vengeance Thorn must first escape Sarth and recruit a new crew, each one with their own designs on revenge. 

FORMAT/INFO: The Colour of Vengeance is divided into three sections with forty-three POV chapters and an epilogue. The narration is in third person via Betrim Thorn aka The Black Thorn, Henry, Joshua the Templar, Pern Suzku the Haarin, and Anders. This is the second book of the Ties That Bind trilogy

April 14, 2013 marked the US and UK e-book publication of The Colour of Vengeance and was self-published by the author. Cover art is provided by Julio Real

CLASSIFICATION: The Ties that Bind is a dark fantasy trilogy with terrific characterization and a twisted plotline that is very reminiscent of the works by Joe Abercrombie, David Dalglish and Scott Lynch

ANALYSIS: After finishing The Heresy Within, I couldn’t wait to see what happens next and immediately bought the second book and began reading. To my delight I read the blurb and saw that it focussed on the Black Thorn who along with Jezzet was my favorite character so far. A warning though before I begin my review, the start of the book is spoierlish for the climax of The Heresy Within so if you haven’t read it or don’t mind a minor spoiler, then read on. 

At the ending of The Heresy Within, we are presented with an ending that is shocking to say the least and so with The Color Of Vengeance, we begin with Betrim Thorn who has been imprisoned after his failed attack on the Arbiter Kessick. Awakening in a dank corner he recalls his failed fight and the vital organ he lost. He manages to find his way out his most recent impediment and goes back to the wilds wherein he knows what to expect. Pern Suzku is a Haarin, warriors who take contracts to guard people who can afford their services. Among the Haarin, he is considered to be one of the best if not the best one. His newest client however might be one to force Pern to reconsider what it means to be a Haarin. With the Black Thorn’s escape, the inquisition decides to send a new type of person to deliver their verdict. Jacob Lee is the person chosen for the task and he’s a Templar with a penchant for dancing and seeing through lies. Lastly all these characters are heading towards Solantis wherein he’ll meet up with some of his past and a reckoning for the future. 

There are a few other characters from the preceding volume who make their appearances as well but I’m hoping that the readers RAFO about them. But to put it mildly, The Colour of Vengeance simply blows away The Heresy Within and is safe to say the better book of the two. Once again the main reason is the characterization and as with the last book, it’s the POV characters that make it such fun to read. Beginning with the Black Thorn, Suzku, Jacob, Henry and the non-POV characters, mostly everyone is a two-faced killer and even harder to judge. The author marvels in creating a volatile situation in the city of Solantis and to add to that are all these hot-headed killers and deadly warriors that are headed towards a violent finish. While this does seem a bit generic in the sense that cool characters come together and fight, what differentiates this book from the riff-raff is that the author creates a fantastic storyline wherein every new chapter adds to the tension and keeps the plot simmering all the way to its action-packed climax.  

I can't stress how terrific these characters are but think of all the bad-ass, grey characters we know from ASOIAF, the First Law trilogy, the works of David Gemmell and David Dalglish, simply put we get similar bad-ass rogues here and they will absolutely keep you riveted. Secondly the dialogue and action sequences are top-notch, with the variety of characters that fill in the pages, dialogue becomes crucial and the author doesn’t disappoint with his gems from time to time. The action is also considerably amped up and for those who can’t get enough of it; this book should very well fulfill all your cravings. Also this book introduces a bit more of the secondary characters including a certain pirate who becomes a monumental figure in the overall happenings as well gives a clue about the overall world and therefore expands the story from its simple trapping of being a revenge saga. 

Negative points about this book are almost next to none, perhaps the reappearance of all the characters from the previous book can be thought of more than simply coincidental as the story makes it out to be. The author could have smoothened this bit of the story but the way it all happens I didn’t mind it. I didn’t have any other complaints about this book and it’s safe to say that this is a dark fascinating gem of a sequel. 

CONCLUSION: The Color Of Vengeance is not simply a revenge saga, no more than The Lies of Locke Lamora is simply a story of thieves. It’s much more than that and possibly the best fantasy book I've read so far in 2013. Don’t take my word for it and start reading this series to see why I think Rob J. Hayes is the next fantastic Brit addition to the field of dark, gritty fantasy and another Indie gem after last year's Anthony Ryan.

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