Darien by CF Iggulden
I received an advanced copy of Darien: Empire of Salt via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank C.F. Iggulden, Michael Joseph, and Penguin Random House UK.
C.F. Iggulden is an alias of Conn Iggulden. The master of historical fiction who has released the critically acclaimed Emperor series and Conqueror series. The slight change of pen name is due to Darien being his first foray into creating a fantasy tale. Darien is the name of a huge city in this fantasy world that houses over a quarter of a million citizens and the majority of the narrative is set within the city walls. There are twelve ruling families in this complex political set-up. Each has great influence and almost act as puppeteers controlling the weak figurehead monarch. Unlike a lot of recent fantasy that has staggeringly grandiose fantasy worlds featuring a score of cities and hundreds of characters, Darien focuses more on the individuals, their actions and relationships in a more enclosed environment. There are about 10 main characters that we get to know relatively well in these 350 or so pages. The first half of the book follows about five points of view perspectives and the action sometimes switches mid-chapter to another player's antics elsewhere. This switching of perspectives is administered well and it never becomes confusing or disorientating. Towards the end of the book a couple of extra POV's are added but they are usually in the presence of a person we are familiar with so this is also a seamless transition. There seem to be two types of characters presented here. Individuals that have stunning, special and perhaps even magical abilities and others that seem more normal and human, but this isn't to say that they lack unique talents. All in all, I think that the characters presented are expertly sculptured. The youth, Arthur Quick, and the hunter, Elias were my personal favourites.
The world does feature magic including rumours of sorcerers or witches, certain individuals knacks, and magic devices. I won't say too much about this aspect. It isn't earth-shatteringly original but it is well crafted and creates a real sense of intrigue. There is one scene which bizarrely reminded me of Disney's Aladdin that is excellent and magic focused.
This story is of quite an adult nature featuring destruction, murder, battles, kidnapping, and blackmail. The narrative is brimming with astonishing set-pieces. A segment at 60% though was as gripping and exciting as the finales of many great stories. Perhaps because I was treated with this gem of a sequence, the ending, although very good, fulfilling and expertly composed seemed a bit flatter in comparison. Although the majority of threads are tied up nicely there were a couple of loose ends and questions are presented as to what will come next. For example, will we follow the same characters? Will it be set a different city entirely somewhere else in the empire? Whatever comes next, I do not doubt Iggulden knows his craft and what follows Darien will be just as good, if not better. To conclude, this is an impressive, action-packed, character focused take on fantasy by the excellent Iggulden. I am looking forward to what the author has in store for us next on his fantasy venture.
This Darien book review was written by James Tivendale
All reviews for: Empire of Salt
Empire of Salt #1
Twelve Families. One Throne. Welcome to the Empire of Salt. The city of Darien stands at the weary end of a golden age. Twelve families keep order with soldiers and artefac...
Have you read Darien?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Darien reader reviews
Sharren from England
Just finished reading this book and am desperately awaiting the second in the new trilogy Have always enjoyed fantasy fiction and historical novels Iggulden is a master of both.
Collin from Uganda
Another explosive narrative from Conn where greed, power, magic and politics meet in one city (Darien). Can't wait for the sequel.
Kane from Canada
This was a fun book. It had lots of adventure and a very quick and enjoyable read. If you like fantasy novels this is one is worth it.
Sam from Ireland
Most enjoyable it's a must for anyone who reads Con Iggulden, would like too know when book 2 available
8.8/10 from 5 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Red Queen's War
The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire fear her as they fear no other. Her grandson Jalan Kendeth is a coward, a cheat and a womaniser; and tenth in line t...
Nona Grey’s story reaches its shattering conclusion in the third instalment of Book of the Ancestor.THEY CAME AGAINST HER AS A CHILD. NOW THEY FACE THE WOMAN....
A Song of Ice and Fire
George RR Martin
Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robe...
The Inheritance Trilogy
Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky - a palace above the...
Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies...
Legends of the First Empire
Michael J Sullivan
Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god f...
As shadows threaten to consume the kingdom of Southmarch, Barrick Eddon, heir to March throne, battles his way across the sinister Shadowlands. He must journey through this...
Kings of Ash
Follow the long, bloody journey of Ruka, son of Beyla through the islands of Pyu and the frozen wastes of the Ascom; see the return home of Ratama Kale Alaku, the 'Sorc...
The Goblin Emperor
The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his fath...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: