Reviews,  SJardine

The Malevolent Seven by Sebastien de Castell : Review

Seven powerful mages want to make the world a better place. We’re going to kill them first.’

Picture a wizard. Go ahead, close your eyes. There he is, see? Skinny old guy with a long straggly beard. No doubt he’s wearing iridescent silk robes that couldn’t protect his frail body from a light breeze. The hat’s a must, too, right? Big, floppy thing, covered in esoteric symbols that would instantly show every other mage where this one gets his magic? Wouldn’t want a simple steel helmet or something that might, you know, protect the part of him most needed for conjuring magical forces from being bashed in with a mace (or pretty much any household object).

Now open your eyes and let me show you what a  real  war mage looks like . . . but be you’re probably not going to like it, because we’re violent, angry, dangerously broken people who sell our skills to the highest bidder and be damned to any moral or ethical considerations.

At least, until such irritating concepts as  friendship  and  the end of the world  get in the way.

My name is Cade Ombra, and though I currently make my living as a mercenary wonderist, I used to have a far more noble-sounding job title – until I discovered the people I worked for weren’t quite as noble as I’d believed. Now I’m on the run and my only friend, a homicidal thunder mage, has invited me to join him on a suicide mission against the seven deadliest mages on the continent.

Over the years Sebastien de Castell has managed to solidify his place as one of my all-time favorite authors, primarily due to the amazing versatility of his writing. Each new series he starts always seems to present a stark departure from his previous works in terms of tone and sub-genre. Although I have to admit I was skeptical when I first delved into The Malevolent Seven as its dark and depressing nature completely caught me off guard for some reason. It’s a lot darker than what I usually read and yet I loved every goddamn moment I spent reading it. I can still remember messaging a friend of mine when I was contemplating whether to abandon the book after the first chapter and then probably confusing them a while later when I started telling them I thought they should read it.

Normally I would attempt to pinpoint one or two specific aspects of this book that contributed to my immense enjoyment of it but I find that almost impossible this time around as I loved every aspect of this book. The characters themselves are fantastic despite their frequent portrayal as these morally reprehensible people driven by money, survival, or just the urge to use their own magical abilities. I don’t know how an author takes such characters and makes you love every one of them but somehow Sebastien de Castell managed to do so.

Then there’s the plot itself which seemed to hold me in a constant state of suspense, leaving me perched on the edge of my seat the entire night as I read it. Though if there is one thing that truly does shine more brightly than the rest of this book it’s the magic system. I don’t know that I’ve seen a magic system as unique or interesting as the one in The Malevolent Seven and I can’t wait to see more of it in the next book.

In summary,  I truly enjoyed this book and I’ve already started recommending it to everyone I know who likes to read. I’m even considering getting the audiobook version tonight so that I can listen to it on my walks to and from work. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series as I have a lot of theories about what happens next and I’m curious to see if I’m right or wrong.

I received a free copy of this in exchange for an honest review

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