By: Aidan Harte
Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book to review. As is my policy with books that I receive for review, if I don’t like it, I don’t review it.
Set in some sort of alternative history Europe, Irenicon is a fantastical mash up of traditional fantasy and elements of steampunk and military histories. The story sucks you in immediately, and then hauls you along for the ride while Harte weaves a tale that’s engrossing and fulfilling. Even during the slower seeming spots, there’s a message or bit of history that is needed for a later plot point. It’s an intricate plot that is, as far as I can tell, bulletproof.
The world that Harte has created here is full and rich with amazing detail of martial styles and the emergence of the worlds engineers. You can almost feel the world teetering on the precipice between the older hand-to-hand combat styles and the new combat styles devised by the engineers.
Much like many other fantasy epics (this is a 500 page first of a trilogy), Irenicon gets a bit wordy at times. If you’re a fan of epic fantasy, that probably won’t bother you at all. All of the language in the book is well written, and I never felt that there were any awkward spots that you had to stumble through to get to the next section.
Unlike a few trilogies I’ve begun before it, Irenicon has a good ending to several plot lines. Some first novels in trilogies like to leave you with no closure at all. Not that they have to. I just like when a single book can stand alone on it’s own without the necessity of reading the rest of the series. Irenicon does that. It’s the world you’ll read the rest of the series for, not some hanging plot line.