Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review: Lords of Dyscrasia

Lords of Dyscrasia
Lords of Dyscrasia by S.E. Lindberg

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Dark High Fantasy Reading Level: Adult

Disclosure: I received a free ebook copy of this text from the LibraryThing Members Giveaway program in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Dyscrasia plagues the insectan elders of the Underworld. Desperate to save them from extinction, the golem Doctor Grave infuses the soul of his dying Queen into the blood of a human artisan, Lord Ante Lysis. Her soul passes through Ante's blood into his offspring, thus the Lysis bloodline carries the diseased Queen's soul as the Doctor perfects the necromancy needed to resurrect her. But the last descendant of Ante is determined to quench the Queen's soul, and journeys to the Underworld to do so...

Lords of Dyscrasia explores the choices humans and their gods make as a disease corrupts their souls, shared blood and creative energies. Historically, dyscrasia referred to any imbalance of the four medicinal humors professed by the ancient Greeks to sustain life. Lords of Dyscrasia presents them as spiritual muses for artisans, sources of magical power, and contagions of a deadly disease. 

My Thoughts: Dyscrasia is a terrible disease in this book – one affecting mainly pregnant women who, if they survive their pregnancy, give birth to mutated creatures half-way between human and elder. The elders are either avian or insectile and they themselves are becoming extinct, leaving only a few, lesser members behind. The cult of people who worship the elders are called Picti, and Lord Endenken is the last of the Lysis clan, the only ones who can handle the power that is transmitted through their blood, only able to mate with those of the same blood or the dyscrasia takes them. It’s quite a dilemma, and Endenken wants nothing to do with it – he wants to make his own way.

Lindberg has a real way with words – the language washes over the reader, completely immersing one within the world being created. But this is a very dark world that has been created – while many scenes occur in the daylight, everything I see in my mind is dark – there is no light anywhere. Also the scope is very large – there are scenes, of course, but overall it feels like everything is taking place at a distance. Analyzing my reaction, I think the reason I felt this way is that there are no “good” sides; everyone is really sort of evil, and there is no hero – or antihero – for which to root. Endenken is the main focus of the story, and he started with good intentions, but he’s really not a nice man at all. Without someone to root for, I was left feeling sort of unmoored in the story. Dey was the only one I really felt any sympathy toward, and I much preferred Cypria and her quest for freedom over Haemarr.

All the art in this book – cover image and illustrations – are also done by the author. Amazing the amount of talent in one person! Also, amazing how much he overuses exclamation points... Every sentence that could possibly be emphatic ends with an exclamation point! I didn’t notice it at first, but eventually I started to see that there was indeed exclamation point abuse occurring. There was also a lot of very awkward and ungrammatical phrasing throughout the book, although since this was an ARC, that might have been corrected before the final publication.

So, I have mixed feelings about this book. The language is lovely and it is beautifully written in many ways, but there is an excess of exclamation points and awkward/ungrammatical phrasing. There is no real hero/antihero for whom to cheer – or at least there were none for whom I felt any connection – and the scope is so large it is sometimes hard to keep track of it. I am sure there are some fans of high fantasy, especially dark fantasy, who will quite enjoy this tale, but it really wasn’t for me.

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