Army of the Cursed (War of the Last Days #1), by Karim Soliman
SPFBO 2021 Semi-finalist
Everybody knew the Cursed were coming.
Nobody knew how to defeat them.
The Goranians thought they were ready to face demons in battle. But when the foretold War of the Last Day begins, one fact becomes clear: the doom of mankind is just a matter of time. Now its fate rests in the hands of a hapless trio.
A mage’s apprentice who relies on her wits rather than magic
A princess who seeks the ultimate weapon against demons, but first, she has to survive the turmoil of civil war.
And a warrior whose swordplay could prove more useful against a threat graver than the bandits infesting his village.Why those three in particular? How can they possibly kill what cannot be killed? Well, that's what they must figure out together, and they must figure it out soon enough. Because nigh is the ruination of the entire human race.
Nigh is the Age of the Cursed.
ARMY OF THE CURSED is an epic ride for those who love character-driven fantasy. Brace for a tale of magic, betrayals, and fear of the unknown, and lose yourself in the world of Gorania.
My Review (4.25 out of 5 )
Army of the Cursed is the initial book of the War of the Last Days series, by Karim Soliman. Despite it is technically a sequel series to the previous Tales of Gorania, it can be perfectly read without reading it previously.
This series takes place in Gorania, a world of several kingdoms and intricate politics. Humanity is preparing for the Last Days, when the Army of the Cursed will rise and destroy everything in its march. Most of the people are starting to consider this possibility just as a myth, but despite this, Mages are still dedicated to this purpose.
The story is going to follow three different characters, mostly: Leila, Nadine, and Hagrim. There are more points of view that appear alongside the novel, a total of five more, taking the place of also important characters for the development of the story, giving another layer of depth to the plot.
The plot of this book is quite interesting, but starts really slow, being the first half mostly an introduction to our world and the ambitions of our characters (also, Karim Soliman does an excellent job of giving small details of what happened in the prequel series in a really natural way, weaving it into dialogues).
Leila ambitions to become a mage, despite being unable to use the anerjy; but she manages to get enrolled into the order, due to her intelligence and her studies, renouncing at the same time her rank as a princess.
Nadine is the princess of Bermania, a little bit skeptical of the Last Days. Even in these circumstances, she and her mother, are in the search of a weapon, a secret project that was the cause of the loss of her father; this weapon might be the key to defeating the Cursed Army.
Halgrim is a formidable warrior, and part of a band of warriors that take care of the people on the road, but soon his past will make him the figure leading a rebellion to dethrone Bermania's queen.
While those three paths become integral parts of the plot, all suddenly explode when the Last Days come and the Army of the Cursed finally becomes a real threat (much more in the vibes of The Mummy (1999)). Our plot becomes much more epic, showing Soliman his ability to create battle scenes. Characters grow once the threat is a reality, and suddenly, most of the decisions start to make sense.
All is set for a second book, letting the stakes at a really high point. I enjoyed greatly reading Army of the Cursed, and I totally see why it became a semifinalist on SPFBO7. If you like epic fantasy, with multiple-POV, this book might be perfect for you!
Karim Soliman earned his first writing commission through his contribution to the first and last issue of his school magazine. Twenty years later, he earned his next commission from Sony Pictures.
While he holds a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and a master’s in business administration, Karim finds his groove in building worlds and messing with his characters. His debut The Warrior’s Path was a #1 bestseller on several fantasy subgenres on Amazon, and his book Army of the Cursed was an SPFBO semi-finalist.
When Karim is away from writing, he struggles with his insomnia and continues his search for his next favorite dessert.