Demonstorm by James Barclay
When I first started reading Demonstorm, I was under every impression that it was Barclay’s final say in the world of the mercenary band known as The Raven. The ending of the book definitely gives that opinion as well, continuing Barclay’s well worn killing off of his characters. But before the end comes, Barclay manages to pull off one of the greatest escapades I have ever read. It is exciting, thrilling, and – as much as any fantasy book can be – entirely believable.
I have heard it said that Barclay doesn’t necessarily provide insights into the human condition. I would say that that is the furthest from the truth, as we see again and again the indomitable spirit of humanity continually face off against the sheer stupidity of humanity.
And in Demonstorm, we see both of those traits shine through. In attempting to fight off the Wesman, the college of Xetesk dooms Balaia to a horrible fate. Misplaced trust in their doomsday weapon sees a hole torn between Balaia’s dimension and a demon dimension, and mayhem ensues as the soul draining mana eating demons come pouring through into a rich new playground.
But funnily enough, using the rarely used literary device of skipping ahead a few years, Barclay transplants the Raven back down to Calaius where they’ve retired.
Oh yeah, that’s right, the renowned and infamous mercenary band known as the Raven have retired.
Now sure, it might be a convenient literary device to ensure that they aren’t on Balaia when all hell breaks loose, and it also allows them a great entry back into the continent to save it. But good grief it’s fantastic to see Hirad running through the jungle, still being berated by Auum.
Additionally, we get to see more of the “indomitable human spirit” in characters other than the Raven. Baron Blackthorne and his people are a prime example of this, and watching the Raven arrive and then leave Blackthorne is one of my favourite parts of Barclay’s Raven series.
Barclay outdoes himself in Demonstorm, bringing all his writing skills to bear in what could very well have been the perfect ending to the series. However since Ravensoul is about to be released (stay tuned for the review and check out Barclay’s own comments on what is coming in the interview here), we can only hope that all of that hard work is undone.
The book ends with a suicide mission into the demon stronghold; a mission only the Raven would or could undertake. Already they have suffered heavy losses, and more are to come, but Barclay writes so well that while you grieve, you respect and understand the sacrifice made. They aren’t meaningless deaths, but rather deaths with meaning: a pair most often misconstrued in fantasy.
One last thing before I sum up. Returning characters from the dead is an often used trope in fantasy, and one that is – more often than not – abused to all hell and back for no real literary gain. Barclay employs a small form of this trope, but does it subtly and so well that you are cheering rather than groaning.
All in all, Demonstorm is good enough that I would tell you to read all five preceding books just so you could read this one. Thankfully, all five of those books are mind-numbingly brilliant. Make sure that if you get money or vouchers for Christmas, or are looking for something to exchange presents for, that you get your hands on the Chronicles and Legends of the Raven.
This Demonstorm book review was written by Joshua S Hill
All reviews for: Legends of the Raven
Legends of the Raven: Book 1
The Raven travel to a new continent in search of mages to help the ruined college of Julatsa rebuild and find themselves in the midst of ancient curse - a curse that has un...
Legends of the Raven: Book 2
The Raven are tested to the point of destruction when a savage war is unleashed across their world and the magical colleges of Balaia tear the land apart in their struggle ...
Legends of the Raven: Book 3
The dragons have gone home, the elves are safe. The Raven have kept their promises. But fate has not finished with them. As the war between the colleges rages on, an old en...
Legends of the Raven: Book 4
The Unknown Warrior has spent last ten years mourning his dead - those of the legendary mercenary band, The Raven, who fell in battle. As the reluctant ruler of Balaia, he ...
Have you read Demonstorm?
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.
Demonstorm reader reviews
9/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
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
A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen
Bled dry by interminable warfare, infighting and bloody confrontations with Lord Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, the vast, sprawling Malazan empire simmers with discont...
Chronicles of the Black Company
Darkness wars with darkness as the hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must. They bury their doubts with their dead. Then comes the prophec...
On the world of Kuf, the Macht are a mystery, a seldom-seen people of extraordinary ferocity and discipline whose prowess on the battlefield is the stuff of legend. For cen...
Shadow Ops series
Army Officer. Fugitive. Sorcerer. Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with magical talents. Untrained and panicked, they summon storms, raise the d...
The Rigante Novels
Born in the storm that doomed his father, Connavar grows to manhood among the mist-covered mountains of Caer Druagh, where the Rigante tribe dwell in harmony with the land ...
The First Law
Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body...
The Drenai Novels
The Legend Druss, Captain of the Axe: the stories of his life were told everywhere. Instead of the wealth and fame he could have claimed, he had chosen a mountain lair, hig...
The Aspect Emperor
R Scott Bakker
A score of years after he first walked into the histories of Men, Anasurimbor Kellhus rules all the Three Seas, the first true Aspect-Emperor in a thousand years. The masse...
Prince of Nothing
R Scott Bakker
A score of centuries has passed since the First Apocalypse and the thoughts of men have turned, inevitably, to more worldly concerns... A veteran sorcerer and spy seeks new...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: