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    Description

    "To challenge the gods is to invite their wrath." So it is written of Lachyla, the Blighted City, in the Codex of the Ages. But who reads codices? And who really believes the tall stories of the Taleweavers? 

    Dagra does. If it's a story about the gods - even a dead god - he believes every word. When his sellsword team is offered a contract to cross the Deadlands and find a burial jewel in the crypts of the Blighted City, Dagra wants no part of it. His companions are undaunted by the legend; to them, the blurred divide between the living and the dead is superstitious nonsense. Completing the contract would earn their guild's failing reputation a much-needed boost and secure them the bounty of a lifetime. They're going, with or without him. Torn between the convictions of his beliefs and the importance of his friendships, Dagra reluctantly journeys into the godless region in search of the fabled city. But the Deadlands are only the first challenge. The sellswords uncover an age-old deception when they learn that Lachyla's foul seed is much darker than its legend, that its truth must forever remain untold or risk plunging humanity into an eternal nightmare. Snagged on the barbs of the blight, Dagra faces the toughest choice of his life...and of his death. 

    The Blighted City is a dark epic fantasy adventure for adults and mature teens. As the first full-length entry of The Fractured Tapestry series, the novel can also be heard as a stand-alone story. 

    Achievements for The Blighted City:

    • Semi-finalist in SPFBO4 (Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off) 
    • Finalist in the Fantasy category of IAA2020 (Independent Audiobook Awards) 
    ©2018 Scott Kaelen (P)2019 Scott Kaelen

    Commentaires

    "The action scenes are vivid and fast-paced. The characters are varied and detailed, the settings rich and immersive." (Rebekah Teller at Kreative Joose)

    "A fantastically dark and macabre journey. It reminded me of one of my favorite books, The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells. When an author takes the time to build a solid history, it adds so much depth and mystery that make it a joy to read. Scott Kaelen has accomplished that tenfold. This book had virtually every box checked that I love in a great dark fantasy read. A truly wonderful book with world-building of the highest quality. I recommend The Blighted City without reservation." (Nick T. Borrelli at Out Of This World SFF Reviews)

    "Scott Kaelen's The Blighted City is a ton of fun. He does suspense and action well, and the way he plays out his storyline is great. He brings the characters and their banter to rich life. If you like George R.R. Matrin and Joe Abercrombie, give this a read. I don't think you'll be disappointed in the least." (Josh Mauthe at The Library Police)

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    Notations

    Commentaires - Veuillez sélectionner les onglets ci-dessous pour changer la provenance des commentaires.

    Il n'y a pas encore de critique disponible pour ce titre.
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    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      5 out of 5 stars
    Image de profile pour C.T.
    • C.T.
    • 09/09/2019

    A fantastic merger of horror and fantasy

    BLIGHTED CITY is a fantasy which involves a juxtaposition of two things which you normally don't see much of: a biohazard horror setting and a fantasy world. Basically, it's a series which could best be described as THE LAST OF US, THE SHADOWS OF INNSMOUTH, meets your typical DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS dragon crawl. Even then, it's not a very good description and you could draw parallels to many other works.

    The premise is a group of mercenaries (called "Freeblades") are hired by a woman to retrieve a family heirloom from the titular Blighted City. It is a taboo place which no one visits and have not done so for centuries. Long ago, a monarch offended the gods and the city was sealed off from the rest of the world. It is considered cursed and there's rumors that the dead walk inside it while the locals around it are incredibly untrustworthy.

    I fully expected the story to be focused on exploring the Blighted City. I've visited many accursed cities in my fantasy life from Myth Drannor to the former capital of Darkon. Much to my surprise, the book barely spends any time in the cursed city proper. Instead, the majority of the book is a meditation on the results of a "curse" which many people would take as a blessing. What is it like to know you will never die as long as you never leave a specific area? To never get any older whether you're a toddler or a crone? What does one do when you have all the time in the world but can never do anything with it?

    I liked the sense of decay which hung around the communities nearby the city. There's a sense of hopelessnes and age that clings to everything without ever fully giving to despair. Our protagonists are strangers in a familiar land but unlike most typical horror movies, we actually get the perspective of the locals. They've lived comfortably for a long time in their current state and they hate the potential threat the Freeblades present. However, these are not crazy cultists and they're averse to anything too extreme to get rid of them.

    The characters are nicely broad but suitably deep with a central conflict between the three main ones based on religion: one being an atheist, one being deeply religious, and the other caught between them. The Blight and it's possible relationship to the gods as well as existential questions about life, death, purpose, and existentialism means it gives plenty of fodder for their long-running dispute.

    This isn't a hack and slash novel with many action scenes. While they exist and are competently written, this is really a novel much more about big ideas. There's great moments like the fight between an immortal swordsman vs. a very mortal but utterly ruthless one. However, the best moments are quieter ones like trying to figure out whether to take up a long but pointless life versus a short but merry one.

    Ultimately, this may be the first volume of a series but it feels like a complete novel by itself. The characters go through an arc and end their storyline in a fairly definitive way. I wouldn't be adverse to reading more by the author set in the universe but this is a story which stands on its own. I felt it was very much a "thinking" fantasy novel which deals with questions of a man's purpose in the world as well as the "point" of death.

    The narration is fantastic and consistent.

    3 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      4 out of 5 stars
    Image de profile pour The Bookwyrm Speaks
    • The Bookwyrm Speaks
    • 19/11/2019

    A really good way to start a series.

    This is one of those books I had recommended to me by friends, and had in my To Be Read pile for a while. It just got lost in the shuffle of a lot of books hitting me at the same time for review. When the audiobook came out, I was offered a copy to review and decided now was a good time to see if the recommends panned out. I'm happy to say they were. In a crowded marketplace of fetch quests and chosen one narratives, this one takes some of those tropes and turns them right on their head, leading to an exciting romp through to true danger.

    PLOT SUMMARY

    Four hundred years ago, Mallak Ammenfar brought a curse down upon the city of Lachyla. The city was blighted, and the city gates closed as the population died off. To this day, the city and the area around it are considered cursed, and people don't go anywhere near the city, since people who go in don't come back out. Since the fall of Lachyla, all the kings of the land of Himaera have fallen, and it now has no ruler, just a bunch of independent towns and hamlets, with free blades the closest thing to the law, and they are just hired to clean out bandits and monsters, not to enforce law.

    The best of these free blade teams is led by blade master Jalis, along with journeyman blades Dagra and Orik. Bounties have been slow of late, but when a juicy contract to collect a family heirloom comes up, with a years pay for completion, the team has to seriously consider it, even though it leads to, you guessed it, the blighted city. Dagra, being superstitious, doesn't want to go, but allows himself to be talked into it.

    Leaving on the journey, they make good progress intitially. They start encountering challenges as they get further into uninhabited land, having several run ins with monsters. Getting past these, they make their way to the city, climbing over the wall and going to the family crypt where the gem they came for is stored. While walking through the tunnels of the crypt, they notice weird fungus and spider webs all over the place. Dagra accidentally breaks one of the fungus and gets it on his face, but nothing happens, so they move on. Finding the stone, but being freaked out by the creepyness of the tomb, they make their way to the surface, where they get a rather unpleasant surprise. It seems that even though the blight killed the citizens of the city, that hasn't stopped them from walking around. What follows is a pitched battle, as the three sell swords have to fight against overwhelming odds to try and escape the city with their prize.

    Effecting their escape, the group heads back to collect the bounty. However, they are slowed a bit as Dagra was somewhat injured in their escape and they need to attend to him. Dagra seems lethargic, but they put that to his injury. Waking up the next morning, they discover Dagra is gone. They also discover a strange girl watching their camp. Capturing her, they discover Dagra has returned to the city with the stone. They also discover there is a village of the cities descendants that escaped before the blight struck the city down, who will do anything to hide the fact of their existence. Following him back to the city, Jalis and Orik sneak back into the city, and meet an inhabitant who is not feral. It turns out there are two types of inhabitants, and those closer to the city are still thinking.

    This is where the story takes some major twists and turns, as we learn the true history f the blight and the city. We learn what really happened to the inhabitatnts, and that the story that got out isn't necessarily the whole truth. The city was hit by the blight, but the effects weren't quite as permanent as advertised. What this means for the city if this gets out is unknown, since there are larger forces at play elsewhere, and if anyone found out about the city being inhabited, it could lead to a rush to conquer. This is the issue the adventurers face, as well as keeping themselves from getting killed by xenophobic villagers trying to hide there existence. Will the free blades be able to deal with this while being able to complete their bounty? You'll have to read to see what happens.

    WORLDBUILDING AND CHARACTERS

    A lot of indie and small press books you read now days have worldbuilding as deep as a kiddie pool. The backstory might be mentioned, but a lot of time it's forgotten by the next page. Not so with Blighted City, since the backstory is front and center in the narrative. Its well thought out and introduced very organically. You really get the feel you are right there in the story, running for your life with the blighted right on your heels.

    The characters are so well written. The three main characters, Jalis, Dagra and Orik get so much attention. Their lives are slowly spun out before us, and you really get a feel for their strengths and weaknesses, which they all have. Their relationships, asperations and motivations play out right on the page, giving them the feel of real people. The secondary characters are a mixed bag, but in a good way, having a lot of variety in there various personalities. The book has unconventional antagonists, but I cant go into more detail without spoiling things. They get a lot of attention too as well, so they have as realistic motivations as the protagonists.

    Narration

    The narration is excellently handled by Todd Menesses. He has an excellent narrative voice with outstanding pacing, so you never feel he falls into a monotonous rut. He does an excellent job bringing the various characters to their own unique life, using a variety of tones and accents to differentiate them. His voice just draws you right into the story, and he is one of my favorite narrators working today,

    FINAL THOUGHTS

    I do go through a lot of books, and am always on the look for new series. This is definitely a good way to keep my attention for future installments. Is it perfect? No, because while it does have a good premise and good execution, it does have some scenes and plot lines that could use some pairing down, in my opinin. While not a deal breaker by any stretch, the hidden village plot line seemed a bit more than the story needed. That being said, it shouldn't scare anyone away from trying this book out, and who knows, you might think that's a strength. I definitely recommend this book to fantasy fans looking for an engaging mix of strong worldbuilding, excellent characters and solid plotting. I am looking forward to see where the story goes from here.

    2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      5 out of 5 stars
    Image de profile pour Kindle Customer
    • Kindle Customer
    • 05/09/2019

    great book

    the story is great, nice pace and great visualization of events. I find it amazing that one person can do all those voices but great job

    2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      5 out of 5 stars
    Image de profile pour Moranda Media
    • Moranda Media
    • 25/05/2020

    A very good book

    a bit difference in the mainstream books but it's easy to get into. very good plot and pace awesome narrating job, the book might make you bit emotional towards the end but a good story that gives you plenty of time to daydreams about what will happen next in their lives

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      4 out of 5 stars
    Image de profile pour Marc Goldberg
    • Marc Goldberg
    • 13/10/2019

    Good story but a bit slow!

    First off, the narrator Todd Menesses does an amazing job bringing the characters to life. If it wasn’t for Todd I would have quit the book around 10 hours. The story is great but very slow. The author takes a ton of time explaining unnecessary details about the story/characters. Unless Scott Kaelen intends to link this story to his other books he could have shaved off at least 8 hours of waste. Overall the story was good enough and the ending was interesting. If you are looking for a different kind of bio hazard/zombie fantasy story this one is for you!

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      5 out of 5 stars
    Image de profile pour Amazon Customer
    • Amazon Customer
    • 31/08/2019

    Sometimes stories and legends are true!

    I really liked this one, the narration was fantastic and the story kept me interested. It did have some slow parts but all books do as characters are being fleshed out. The graveyard scene alone was the best part of the book for me. All in all a fun little adventure with three enjoyable heroes and a very memorable scene for one that brought me to tears. If you like fantasy and treasure hunts and the undead, pick this one up.

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      5 out of 5 stars
    Image de profile pour Michael
    • Michael
    • 19/04/2021

    Fantastic start

    The Blighted City is a fantastic start to a series, I enjoyed every minute of it. The world building was intriguing and done in a way that keeps me wanting to learn more about the world & it’s denizens. I liked the twist on ghouls/zombies & found its implementation refreshing. The characters felt distinct and real. One in particular made me chuckle when one of the main characters came across them.

    Todd does a great job narrating the story & bringing all of the characters to life as usual! I can’t wait to see what comes next and look forward to continuing on in the series.