Engaging take on the exiled soldier taking on an impossible mission epic fantasy. Well-developed plot and engaging characters. Great voice. What’s not to like? The storytelling. It reads almost as if English is not the author’s first language. Occasional awkward phrases. Amateurish grammar. Inconsistent punctuation. (Why is the placement of commas a big deal? It isn’t until it jerks you out of the flow of the story. As it often does here.) Needed one more proofreading by a real editor, because he delivers such a good voice.
Sunset Mantle earns its fourth star, however, for something which rarely occurs in fantasy literature: a full-blown, integral-to-the-story religion. Not a copy–must less caricature–of one of our world religions, as is de rigueur for current fantasy and science fiction, but a fully developed system of beliefs and practices presented almost anthropologically as “what these people believed.” Even the bad guys believe in God, though it doesn’t straighten their bent to evil. The presence of such a belief system adds depth to the characters and story, even though there are no supernatural elements to the story.
Finally, though Reiss leaves himself plenty of hooks into a sequel, he weaves all the main threads into a satisfying tapestry to close this story.
Loved the Cover art.
Looking for more and better from him.