Breed is an interesting adventure story, full of characters making bad decisions and having to deal with the consequences. This is a world where magic still exists although it is now feared and revered, depending on who is wielding it. The novel begins 700 years after the Schism War which pitched Mage Lords against Demons for control of the world, the war ended when Queen Halda, the Red Witch and the Hammer of the North united in battle against the Lord of Dawn (a demon). This is a world populated by many different species as well as those born too close to residual magic from the Schism War; these people do not always look human. There are also the Thoasa, who were created by the Mage Lords as War Spawn to fight their battles for them due to their resilience and lack of compassion.
This is a fast paced novel with an interesting, but not exactly likeable lead character; Breed, a half human/half Thoasa whose real name is never revealed. It is also never made explicit whether Breed is male or female although eventually I decided that he was probably male. This ambiguity did annoy me for a while, especially when you first meet Breed as every other character in the book is described by gender as soon as you meet them. Breed is insolent, resourceful and head strong after years of living with his mother, the Queen of the Thieves Guild underneath Appleton.
The story starts with one of Breed’s assignments for the Thieves Guild; Breed had to steal a diamond from a dragon and in his haste to escape from the dragon Breed manages to make a simple deal with an imp - all he has to do is carry it out of a cave as the imp is unable to cross through the seal. For anyone else this might seem like the time to use their brain and wonder if all is as it seems to be, but Breed is only looking for easy solutions and happily agrees to the deal in his rush to get home and avoid the wrath of his mother, which in the beginning seems like the worst of fates.
After this Breed steps from one set of unfortunate circumstances to another without pause for breath. In this quick running series of events Breed meets Tobias, a priest of the order of St Bartholomew in Appleton who is rushing to get back to the capital city Valen. Together they end up on a journey to meet their destinies. With Breed’s impulsive nature this leads to a lot of attempted backstabbing as he prefers working alone, whilst Tobias is sheltered and unused to the whims of common people. Tobias can be quite naive and manages to lead them into more trouble which Breed unwillingly has to get them out of. They make an odd pair and their group gets stranger with the travelling companions they pick up on their way.
This book is quite enjoyable, with the characters growing on you over time. It can feel like you never have to wait too long for bad things to happen, but this doesn’t mean the book is weighed down with sorrow, in fact there are a lot comedic moments where I wondered what could happen next! Due to the book’s action packed nature it does feel that characters are sometimes under-written. Characters are introduced and then abandoned fairly often as Breed and Tobias continue their journey from Appleton to Valen, which means that many of the characters’ stories do not feel resolved at the end. If you are looking for a fast paced adventure story with many twists and turns then go and find this book. If you are more interested in character driven books then this may not be for you.
Review by Michelle Herbert
1 positive reader review(s) for Breed
Colm from Ireland
A good old fashioned, modern, fantastical story with a gender-irrelevant, truly likeable anti-hero(ine). And the good news is, there are two more books........so far! If you’re looking for a new world after Discworld, then this is it. Nothing as strange as Luggage but there be monsters aplenty.
8.3/10 from 2 reviews