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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Redemptor by Seth Skorkowsky (reviewed by Lukasz Przywoski)

Official Author Website
Order Redemptor over HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Dämoren
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Hounacier
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Ibenus
Read Fantasy Book Critic interview with Seth Skorkowsky
Read Building The Perfect Revolver by Seth Skorkowsky (guest post)

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Raised in the swamps and pine forests of East Texas, Seth Skorkowsky gravitated to the darker sides of fantasy, preferring horror and pulp heroes over knights in shining armor. When not writing, Seth enjoys cheesy movies, tabletop role-playing games, and traveling the world with his wife.

FORMAT/INFO: Redemptor is 264 pages long divided over thirty-three numbered chapters and is the fourth volume of the Valducan seriesThe book is currently available in all formats. It was published in 2018 by Crossroad Press. Cover art and design are by Shawn King

CLASSIFICATION: Redemptor is a character-driven dark urban- fantasy book with immersive world-building and in-depth study of demons lore. 

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Seth Skorkowsky brings goods to the table. I’m addicted to his Valducan series, and my secret wish is for it to continue for years to come. It’s this good, guys. I need more stories in this world, the one focusing on Luc in the first place.

Redemptor is the fourth installment of the series. While you can read it as a standalone, I don’t recommend approaching it as one - you’ll lose way too many nuances that make it an excellent read for those who already know the mythos and the knights.

The series follows an order of modern-day knights that hunt demons. Only a Holy Weapon can kill a demon. Each knight is bonded to a unique weapon. It’s a bond more intimate and strong than any human relationship you can imagine. It’s an absolute pure love. Not surprising, as each weapon is inhabited by an angel who chooses his protector and bonds with him/her. 

In Redemptor new characters and new weapons appear, each with unique abilities (shifting gravity, making an invisible shield, premonition). It’s cool. Faced with an unspeakable evil threatening orphaned and bonded weapons, the Order may be forced to join forces with the Catholic church. There’s no trust between them, but there’s a chance to make a powerful ally from a former enemy. The church is represented by two Paladins - Kofi and Felisa - each bonded to a holy weapon. 

Kofi is an impressively effective, but cold professional who keeps his emotions at a check and doesn’t yearn for acknowledgment. Felisa is more relatable and sensitive. She questions her life in Vatican and experiences more than a few internal struggles that never feel forced or cheap. Also, she brings some comic relief with her internal ramblings (that will make series’ followers smile):

“What did she want? Luiza’s approval? What was that really worth? Luiza, bride of an angel, was married to the American who was also wed to Damoren. Was the union to an angel not enough? Polygamists. That’s what they were”
Other new characters who get their POV (in the third person) chapters are the youngest Valducan knight, spouse to Lecrasus - Mei and Sir Uwe. Mei is young and reckless, but likable. Sir Uwe is hilarious - a strange little man who despite his oddities (like speaking of himself in the third person) is extremely bright. Also, his weapon is cool.

Contrary to Hounacier and Ibenus (more character-centered novels), Redemptor is a fast-paced and action-oriented novel with plenty of demons-killing scenes. The breakneck pacing made me turn the pages with growing excitement. A brilliant page-turner.

Overall, though, I have to admit that I didn’t like it as much as Hounacier and Ibenus - two most intimate books in the series that focus on different knights and show how layered human beings they are. Both Malcolm and Allan appear in Redemptor, but they get little exposition. 

What else? Be prepared to see one of the most fascinating Valducan (at least to me) characters die. It was heart-wrenching, but he went as a true hero would. Rest in peace.

Redemptor is an enormously satisfying read, with engaging writing and a pace that will keep the pages turning quickly. It introduces new characters I’d love to learn more about. One more thing, there’s a new weapon mentioned - Polish war pick Nadziak. As a Polishman, I’d love to see it in action. Like, yesterday.



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