HOW CAN HE STOP THE ULTIMATE ASSASSIN?
In the sixteenth year of its founding, the city-state of Wyverna teems with vitality, rife with crime, secrets, and sorcery. Like its namesake, the wyverns that hunt from the mountains above, Wyverna is a city of predators. Its pirates sail out to plunder the wealth of nations, while at home the capital seethes, an uneasy amalgam of the old ways of its anarchic peoples and the newly imposed rule of law.
The young noble Gorgo navigates these complexities with ease, until one night he learns of a plot to assassinate Wyverna’s legendary founder, the Warlord. The rebels have obtained a mighty relic: an ancient copper golem created to be the ultimate assassin. Invulnerable and relentless, the golem destroyed the civilization that birthed it. If it kills the Warlord, Gorgo realizes his city too will fall, ripped apart by civil war.
Armed with nothing but his wits and his courage, Gorgo sets out to find a way to save Wyverna. His mission will take him from the elegant casinos of downtown to the chaotic docks where smugglers prowl, from the hot sands of the arena to the cold midnight of magic-shadowed streets. But even he cannot foresee where his path will ultimately lead, and to what consequences.
The Copper Assassin is the first book in the Tales of Wyvernia series by Madolyn Rogers, and it serves as a way to introduce ourselves into this peculiar world, whose building is one of the most originals I’ve seen, probably due to the blend that it makes with fantasy and sci-fi.
We are introduced to Gorgo, a noble from the city of Wyvernia who accidentally discovers a plot to kill the Warlord, leader of the city, and partly one of the reasons why the city exists as a whole. And the most important part of the plot, which is how they plan to assassinate, using a mechanical creature, a sort of golem, Cockatrice.
And let’s stop in Cockatrice, because it’s probably one of the most interesting aspects of the book, and partly one of the reasons I’ve ended up loving it. While most of the setting is total of the fantasy genre, this mechanical creature could be ascribed to sci-fi, as it is a construct, which leads us to one of the most interesting parts of the books, the self-consciousness of Cockatrice, her past lifes, and how she reacts to things on her environment. Heavily based on the Golem myth, it’s really curious to see how it evolves and how this approach is a fresh take on the robot idea while avoiding the limitations of a real robot.
Outside of Cockatrice, Wyvernia is a really interesting place to explore, as while we are following Gorgo’s steps trying to dismantle the plot, we are going to experiment through his eyes the different districts of the city, from the casinos to the markets. A city of pirates is always a great starting point, but Madolyn Rogers takes it to the next level, building a really cohesive world that you want to know more about it (and I hope we will in The Mind Jackal). I don’t really want to spoil much, but probably my favourite section is the Fence trials, which remembers me to a certain extent the ones that appear in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but well built and without the limitations they had.
The pace is certainly really fast, as the book is relatively short, so things are constantly happening, making it a really fun book to read (and which definitely I might have read in one sit). I would have liked to see a little bit more development on some parts, but again, the relative shortness of the book might constrain it a little.
In summary, The Copper Assassin is an excellent introductive point to Tales of Wyvernia, which will be loved by fantasy lovers and people whose main taste is fast-paced books. We will return to Wyvernia in The Mind Jackal (and also in The Alchemy of Sorrow).
Madolyn Rogers is a science journalist who lives on a wooded hill in Wisconsin with her husband David, son Luke, and extended family, as well as their dog Xander and the occasional visiting bat or squirrel. (It’s a ramshackle old house in the country, OK, things get in…)
She has loved fantasy and science fiction since childhood, when she immersed herself in Star Trek, Dune, Lord of the Rings, and the Earthsea trilogy, among many other indelible works. More recently, she has been a fan of Game of Thrones, Marvel movies, and the sci-fi novels of Vernor Vinge and Lois McMaster Bujold. Her favorite movie of the last couple of years was the trippy sci-fi masterpiece “Annihilation.”
Professionally, she writes about brain research, and in her spare time, she studies martial arts and plays Dungeons & Dragons.