The Drowning City is the first book in an upcoming trilogy, The Necromancer Chronicles. It tells of Issylt, a young necromancer and assassin sent to start a revolution. That immediately sets the stage for a dark world and that is what it sure proved to be!
The Drowning City, Symir, is a city torn by factions. After years of oppression the local tribes are finally standing up against their rulers. Yet opinions on how to gain freedom vary, the two main factions are the Tigers and the Dai Tranh. The Tigers try to gain freedom peacefully but the Dai Tranh have lost their patience and yearn for revenge. They harass the city with surprise attacks, setting flame to buildings and robbing warehouses. Issylt, the main character, has been sent to support the revolutionaries to overthrow their rulers and she starts off neutral. Since a burned down city wouldn't be of much use to her master she decides to side with the Tigers.
I'll leave the storyline at that, since I do not want to spoil the details or the plot. A lot of intrigue and deceptions are part of the story so things are easily spoiled.
Let's start with the good things, as that is what most people would like to know anyway! The best thing about this book for me was the setting. As I mentioned earlier the world is rather dark. Mythical creatures roam everywhere and they aren't very benevolent. Quite the opposite. Nakh try to pull you under water to drown you and haunting ghosts try to catch you unawares to take over your mind and body. Even your ancestors can turn on you so they can extract their revenge in a second life. Magic is also very common, Issylt is one of few necromancers, who are not well liked among the people. Death is not easily mastered after all and even when you succeed it comes at a high price.
Sadly enough, this book doesn't contain much more than a promising setting. The characters are very shallow and you don't get to feel compassion for any of them. This is probably due to the lack of thoughts. A lot of writers write down the thoughts of their main character and this really adds to your understanding of the characters.
The Drowning City is very action oriented though. The tale has a fast pace and there's never a boring moment. Even though I didn't get the deeper meanings or interesting characters I desire, I still enjoyed it. The story didn't suck me in but neither did it make me yawn, so it's probably a very nice read for people who prefer books that focus on action.
Review by Koen Peters
6.8/10 from 1 reviews
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