#SPFBO Review: Today Is Too Late (The Shedim Rebellion #1) by Burke Fitzpatrick

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todayisToday is Too Late is the second of my remaining four books for the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off that I will be reviewing.  I will be choosing my finalist to go through to the next round on Saturday.

Today is Too Late is the start of a very ambitious dark fantasy that seems to bring together a strange, and yet surprisingly complementary, mash up of what I can only describe as a biblical retelling of ancient Greek literature and Tolkien style middle earth.  It sounds a bit confounding when I put it like that but it just worked, really well.

The story begins after a battle.  The undefeated executing those survivors who refuse to bend the knee to the knew ruler.  Finally the defeated king, Lael Baladan is brought out and having also refused to swear loyalty to the new emperor is pitted against two monstrous beasts.  An ignoble end for a mighty warrior.  Emperor Azmon is an ambitious and ruthless conqueror.  He has made a pact with the demons of the Nine Hells and now serves Mulciber, the creature that he travelled into the depths of the earth to release.  Azmon practices dark magic.  His nobles are known as Bone Lords for the constructs they make from their fallen soldiers and his Lord Marshall, Tyrus, has a variety of catchy nicknames such as The Damned and The Butcher of Rosh.

Tyrus started in service as protector to Azmon.  The two have been together many years and have a strange yet uneven friendship.  Tyrus is an Etched Man and one of Azmon’s greatest successes.  His body is covered with rune marks that are etched deep into the muscle and give Tyrus many abilities, including regeneration, keen eyesight and strength to name but a few.  Most are unable to withstand the process of etching and so although Tyrus is Azmon’s biggest success an army cannot be formed of one – hence the creation of  the bone constructs.

At the same time as this, a reborn hero seems to be predicted by the appearance of a blue light in the sky.  The Empress is giving birth to a baby daughter, in secret.  She has had a vision that her daughter will be a hero reborn and as such will be killed at birth – the Demons that Azmon serves will not permit her to live.  The empress has made a pact with her cousin to smuggle the child out of the city and run to safety. Of course Tyrus is sent to retrieve the child and is conflicted about whether to help the child (of the woman he secretly loves) or return the baby to the man he serves (and secretly feels he is no longer useful to). And so the story begins.

I don’t know whether I’ve made that all seem terribly convoluted or not but I can promise it’s very easy to understand.  The author has a persuasive style of writing and an easy way of flicking back to past events to fill in the history without coming across as info dumps.

From here, well, there is no shortage of imagination.  We have conflicts aplenty.  The Paltiel Woods are home to the Ashen Elves.  Fleet footed and deadly anybody entering their realm is unlikely to survive to tell the tale and yet this is where Azmon must send his bone constructs.  Battle ensues, the two forces clash and blood, lots of blood, is spilt.  The outcome is extraordinary and I confess unexpected.

In terms of the characters.  Tyrus, I neither like or dislike him at this stage to be honest.  He’s a force to be reckoned with and he’s a puzzle.  Okay, without wanting to give too much away I’d like to think that he can redeem himself – but at the same time as thinking that I’m very aware of his past deeds and the person he serves – it’s not as though Azmon suddenly became this character overnight – they’ve been together a long time and carried out many foul deeds.  Then we have Azmon – he’s an absolutely hideous person – which at the same time makes him a fantastic baddie.  He’s almost aloof.  Like he’s got a god complex and we’re all just mere ants.  The young girl who flees with the baby doesn’t really play a huge part tbh and in fact at this point I can barely remember her name.  The rangers, and one in particular, with their bears play a great role and are really intriguing to read about.

In terms of criticisms.  I did have a bit of a stutter combining the different elements of the story.  We have these very old, almost biblical style cities with armies fighting for dominance.  But then we have the nine hells and dwarves, and the forests and elves.  I couldn’t help feeling that the two were a little at odds with each other and yet in spite of that it didn’t hinder the reading.  Also, well, the ending felt a little bit rushed, a certain resolution that takes place (and sorry but I don’t want to give away spoilers) just felt too easy and didn’t sit as easily with me as the rest of the book, as though the author was struggling a little to come up with a solution as well.  That being said, the book does conclude well and leaves a perfect setting for the next instalment.

Overall I had a really good time reading this and would definitely want to pick up the next instalment to see how the story progresses.

 

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7 Responses to “#SPFBO Review: Today Is Too Late (The Shedim Rebellion #1) by Burke Fitzpatrick”

  1. sjhigbee

    Goodness, this one sounds amazingly ambitious, but the story clearly engaged you and sounds interestingly different. An excellent review, Lynn – thank you for sharing:)

    • @lynnsbooks

      It is ambitious but it makes a very good read – difficult to pin it all down in a review without giving overboard though.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Tammy

    It sounds really good, but I really don’t care for the title.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I actually don’t understand the title at all or the relevance to the book – but the story was good and I definitely like the idea of continuing to read.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    This sounds quite good, even with the stutters you mentioned. And I love that cover!

  4. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    It does feel a little complicated, indeed, but I would trust your word about the writing making it easy to follow this intricate tapestry… 🙂

  5. #SPFBO Finalist | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Today is Too Late by Burke Fitzpatrick […]

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