Blight Marked by Josh Erikson

Blight Marked book cover
Rating 8.8/10
The character development, the antagonists, the world building, all of these are beyond excellent

Gabe and company are back for more banter-filled adventures in this third installment in the Ethereal Earth series. Picking up shortly after Fate Lashed left off, Blight Marked wastes no time hooking the reader and speeding to a satisfying - and epic! - conclusion. Along the way there is plenty of humorous banter, lots of adventure, more puns than you can shake a stick at, and loads of authentic character development. If you haven't started reading Erikson, you should.

There is so much that I loved in this story, it's difficult to know exactly where to start. As I mentioned, there is plenty of Erikson's trademark banter and it continues to be a lot of fun. In fact, there is probably more funny banter in this one than there was in Fate Lashed. There's just something so satisfying about a duo or team that can manage witty rejoinders back and forth while battling with a battalion of elves - or a company of knights. It's a little zany, but without becoming entirely comedic. Blight Marked is an urban fantasy adventure that draws you in with the fun banter and pop culture references. But it's much more than that as well. There is plenty of character development in this novel, and I think we see that most clearly with the main character, Gabe. The story is told from his perspective, and by the third novel in we have a pretty good idea what sort of person he is. But throughout this novel Gabe is forced to confront - and, through him, we're forced to confront as readers - how different he is. The Gabe in Blight Marked is not the same Gabe from Hero Forged. He's experienced too much, and like any living and breathing human, those experiences have shaped and changed him. This isn't really a coming-of-age tale, but there are elements of that here and they're used to great effect. This is particularly clear to see when it comes to Gabe's interactions with Heather. That relationship is definitely changing and growing as both of the characters grow and change. I'm loving it. Another area where Erikson's story excels is with antagonists. This series has always had interesting and engaging antagonists. But in this installment, Erikson knocks it out of the park. I don't want to risk any major spoilers, but I loved how I could easily see the antagonists being the protagonists in another story. There are no mustache twirling masterminds here, no dark lords seeking ultimate power for nebulous reasons. Rather, the antagonists oppose Gabe and his team for legitimate reasons. They disagree fundamentally about the nature of reality, the problem in front of them, and so obviously they won't see eye to eye on the solution. It's very true to real life, and I appreciate that very much. Whether we're dealing with Enoch or with Aka Manah, I loved the antagonists in this one. There's plenty more I could mention - Gabe is beginning to understand his magic more in this story, and I loved that aspect. The world is expanding as we continue to learn more about Umbra and the various organizations that exist. There is a ton to enjoy, and I hope you don't waste any time picking up the book and doing so.

There is very little I didn't like in this one. You could criticize the main plot as being essentially a fetch quest. However, it never really felt like that was the case. The story moves quickly, and there were moments where I felt like it moved perhaps too quickly. This is particularly true in terms of what ends up happening with some of the Igla. Frankly, I could have seen some elements of the plot really taking place over two books. I'm not disappointed that they didn't, because I think what we got in this one is great. But, even so, there were moments when I almost got whiplash from the plot moving from one thing to another so quickly - but again, not in a way that messed up my enjoyment.

Blight Marked ensures that the Ethereal Earth series will continue to be one of my favorite urban fantasy series. The dialog, the character development, the antagonists, the world building, all of these are beyond excellent and I can't wait to see where Erikson takes us next. In the meantime, pick up a copy of Blight Marked - which is currently available for preorder - and enjoy! Or, if you haven't started the series yet, get in on the ground floor with Hero Forged. You don't want to miss these!

This Blight Marked book review was written by

We interviewed Josh Erikson on 2019-04-03

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All reviews for: Ethereal Earth

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