Author: Cameron Johnston Publisher: Angry Robot Publishing
Page Count: 400 pages
I would like to thank Angry Robot Publishing for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
The Maleficent Seven was an interesting read, as not many books provide the perspective from the baddies, seeing their scheming ways first hand made for an intriguing story. The story follows an infamous demonologist known as the Black Herran, who once upon a time was a dreaded leader, who abandoned her army on the eve of complete victory. She is back once again 40 years later, in order to gather her 6 captains to try dominating the world once again.
The story within The Maleficent Seven is an intriguing tale – when I read the synopsis for this novel, the idea of following the big bad guys immediately drew me to this novel; always wondering what goes through the mind of the evil doers which leads them to try destroying the world. Now that I have finished reading The Maleficent Seven, I am left in a little of a muddle in how I felt about the story. The characters themselves were all interesting, each with their own stories and motivations. My feelings of let down surround more from not fully understanding the purpose behind the bad guys – within the story it does cover some of their end goals but they aren’t hugely clear until the end of the novel and during the mean time I just wasn’t invested in their adventure. Even at the end of the novel, I didn’t feel a sense of satisfaction that the journey was worth the effort or the amount of betrayal. I felt similar about the so-called hero within the story, who was an interesting character in his own right but I felt left down by his motivations at the end of the story.
Fortunately, this novel is filled full of interesting characters, whose conversations and interactions between each other served as fantastic reading and story telling. There are 6 captains that Black Herran recruits within the novel – Maeven (a necromancer) is given the task to recruit the others back to the cause but along the way it is clear that she has her own motivations away from those of Black Herran’s. Through the story she recruits a powerful vampire – Lorrimer Felle, the old god of way – Tiarnach, a pirate queen – Verena Awilden, a orc warlord – Amogg and a crazed Alchemist – Jerak Hyden. Each of these crazed individuals have their own agendas within the books and strong feelings towards each other – it’s this chemistry between these characters that really brings the book to life. These characters are all evil, doing despicable things to the normal folk and each other, wanting to kill and betray everything around them. But what also made the dynamics within this book interesting, was the brotherhood that developed between certain characters, making these individuals deeper and more interesting to read about.
The idea which I loved within the novel was the antagonist (which is a grey term within this novel) – the Falcon Prince is a character who is trying to take over the world, a crusade driven by a deity who has blessed his mission. The idea of using religion as a reason for ones actions, especially when it is used to force others to follow suit, is one that I have always enjoyed within our own history, and even more within my reading. Within this story the concept of who is the bad guy is a complex question with a simple answer – no one in the story is good. The idea of one group of bad guys and monsters, trying to stop another monster was what kept me reading throughout, to see what would happen when these two huge forces of evil collided. The book moved at a rapid pace, the story ever changing and this is even more so when the two sides collided within the second half of the story.
Overall, I did enjoy The Maleficent Seven and the concepts within, exploring what the idea of evil truly is, made the story an interesting read. I was left a little deflated by the motivations during the read but overall the characters were strong and glued the story well together.