Admar’s future is a path paved with broken glass. Each step forward living under Scothean tyranny cuts away another piece of his humanity. Right down to the very bone. But even a meager life as a miner is better than a pointless death. A sister, a mother, a lover, all lost at the uncaring hands of the Scoths, have left him with nothing but memories and ash for comfort. While stories like his are all too common, they still aren’t enough to stoke rebellion among the oppressed. If Admar is to find hope amid the brutal occupation of his homeland, he’ll have to question how deep his convictions go. For with every crack of the enemy’s whip, he’ll know torment. With every swipe of their axes, he’ll know suffering. And every moment he refuses to act will drag him further from his destiny. Maybe there are no more heroes left…or maybe they’re waiting to be made.
War Song is a prequel novel that starts the grimdark series The Price of Power, written by Michael Michel. As I was planning to read the series anyways, picking this shorter entry as a way to know what to expect seemed the most logical thing, and I can say that it makes a great job establishing the grimdark tone for the rest of the entries.
We are following Admar, a slave under the tyranny of Scothean, who is slowly losing his humanity; the few scraps that he still keeps are fading away. After a failed rebellion, the Scothean decides to execute most of the participants, including his family, but they leave him as they deem him as broken.
Finding a little ray of hope might be enough to ignite him inside, but all seems pointless; what if humanity would get together to fight against their enslavers?
Michel sets well the dark tone we can expect in the rest of the entries, as the story of this slave is full of painful moments; it's not exactly a bright plot, but one of how even in the darkest moments, there are still some hope rays.
Personally, I found the pacing too slow-burn for what I would have liked from an introduction, but in the end, all the time building characters and the world around gets a huge payoff, making the ending extremely hooking, inciting you to pick immediately the Price of Power.
A good appetizer, a novella that will make you more eager to start The Price of Power. If you like Grimdark, definitely I would recommend you pick it up (and it's free in his newsletter!)
Since I was five-years-old, I’ve always loved the interplay between creators and their audiences. Saturday morning cartoons were a ritual for my brothers and I. Any skill I have for character development must certainly stem from my dedication to the X-Men animated series.
It wasn’t until 7th grade that I took up reading, and then subsequently writing, as an outlet for my wild imagination. While mowing the lawn of a family friend, I started spinning an entire world around the label, “Catastrophe knights,” which to a thirteen-year-old boy sounds very cool.
A decade later, I was lugging around a veritable vault of lists that catalogued character names, religions, governments, languages—everything a growing world needs to thrive. Yet, without some inward journeying, it would never see the light of day, nor the subsequent chopping block where most of it met its grisly fate.
Having gone through the rigors of a prestigious critique group for years as well as my own personal growth journey, I finally realized no one was going to write my book for me, and after twenty-two years of incubation, I completed my debut novel.
I haven’t looked back since.