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The Last Sacrifice by James A. Moore

The Last Sacrifice by James A. Moore
Book Name: The Last Sacrifice
Author: James A. Moore
Publisher(s): Angry Robot
Formatt: Paperback / Audiobook / Ebook
Genre(s): Epic Fantasy
Release Date: January 3, 2017

Grimdark as a genre has become quite predictable now a days. There is some quality writing by quality authors yet it is becoming more and more difficult to find original works. We all love some gore and name calling and graphic sex yet it does get tiring at times as the storyline keeps getting similar. But James A Moore dove into the new series with his unique sense of characters, and built up the story to achieve new concepts while taking elements from some other subgenres to enrich the experience for his readers.

The Last Sacrifice begins with the aforementioned sacrifice as the protagonist Brogan McTyre starts his journey attempting to free his family from the sacrificial altar of the gods. He gets everything that matters taken away from him and this is only the beginning of his turmoil. At first I was wondering what could be the motivating factor for this character to keep him interested enough to take on the gods. But as the story progressed, I came to understand the guilt he was unwilling to accept molded into the force driving him to action. Quite slowly and skillfully Moore took us into his harsh and cruel world where surviving is a quite a gigantic task in itself. There are forces willing to destroy everything, forces attempting to save the world with their own methods, and people who try to take advantage of the approaching apocalypse to achieve their agenda.

The author used his background and experience in horror to create some truly horrifying antagonists both human and otherwise. And then he skillfully tried to show us the point of view of even these loathsome beings. He took us into the minds of slavers and monsters even, enabling the reader to appreciate their ambitions and desires. To be able to portray negative characters in a way that makes them human is always a bonus point in my book and Moore did these characters justice by giving them voices.

The first third of the book seemed a bit slow in pace and I, as a reader, I kept wondering what the writer was actually trying to achieve. Then slowly but surely he kept throwing new characters at the readers and kept diving into new points of views and minds, and through these characters kept his unique style of worldbuilding going forward. We get glimpses into the world through the eyes of the characters amid their struggles. There is no overly friendly maps (which is not something I always appreciate to be honest) or holding hands of the readers through the landscape to make them understand. Which in my opinion is the right way to go for this type of a story, where the lack of time is a point Moore is trying to make.

The world itself is unforgiving – a dog eat dog type of affair. There is no peace being hampered, just the unreasonable gods lashing out at the people who disobey them. Yet it is quite easy to identify with the various characters through their struggle for survival. Everyone has their own agenda and all are attempting their own journey on a world slowly being destroyed by its vengeful gods. The mystery of the gods is something that seems quite interesting as well and leaves room for the author to maneuver in the future.

Brogan is a character whose anguish and despair is quite palpable throughout the pages. While various factions are being formed due to his impulsive and vengeful actions. Niall is a peaceful man who gets thrown into the path of the angry gods and their servants, yet despite his physical weakness, he desperately attempts to save everyone around him. Tully is a girl with a mysterious past who is not going to lie down, but will keep fighting no matter what is thrown at her. Beron is a nasty person, but the author gave us some insight into his past, which lets us understand why he is what he is. Even the Grakhul are a race which Moore tried to give some representations in his prose to make readers understand their motives.

Despite liking the book a lot I would like to mention that the author’s use of similar names was a bit confusing and made me go back to identify who he was talking about. Also the sudden change of point-of-views was a bit of a bother at times as well. I kept wanting to learn more about some side characters which was a bit distracting, yet it is also one of the reasons readers might come back for the next installment in the series.

All in all the last half of the book did a great deal of interesting build up and made me want to read the next book in the series. The author made me feel for these flawed and human characters and their doomed world. And lastly, I do hope for more action in the next book and would love to get into the minds of some of the interesting side characters in the future installments (hint Harper, Anna, Meerhan etc.).


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