The Helm of Midnight by Marina Lostetter (The Five Penalties #1)

8/10 Raises some interesting questions about legacy and currency... an entertaining and suspenseful fantasy thriller.

The Helm of Midnight is an entertaining and suspenseful fantasy thriller. There’s more than enough cool, innovative ideas and surprising events that kept me coming back for more each night.

Connecting with some characters was a bit of an issue for me, but overall this is an exciting start to a new series that raises some interesting questions about legacy and currency, among other fresh angles that haven't been addressed in a lot of recent fantasy I've been reading.

The death masks leaving echoes of their previously alive hosts while still their talents is an enticing idea to play around with. How much power do these echoes have over the user, as well as what intelligence should be allowed or guarded, are rich plotlines to mine. Lostetter dives deep into societal, historical, and religious responses to these artifacts, and it sets the table nicely for the upcoming sequels.

Rich, thoughtful world, cool ideas, with a dark spin on it all. Some supporting characters felt a bit flat, but outside of that, a recommended read.

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Marina Lostetter's The Five Penalties series

The Helm of Midnight

The Five Penalties #1

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