Friday, September 14, 2018

Salvation's Dawn

Salvation's Dawn by Joe     Jackson

This fantasy novel opens with one of the chief protagonists, Karian Vanador, or Kari for short, titled the Shield of the Heavens, haven been conscripted to fight in the Apocalypse against the Devil Queen and her subordinates. She intends to go with her own subordinate and friend, Captain Lawrence Machall, to help him with his farm outside Gavean. However, once the eight-year conflict ends, a church summoning brings her to the city of Barcon, a haven for organized crime. Kari is a terra-dracon, a type of dragon-like species, who stays at the inn The Bloodied Blade for a drink and a bath.

Kari has been an alcoholic since her teenage years, with a terminal disease worsening her drinking problem. She travels with a caravan headed by a rir named Nurrik Orndrom to Sarchelete, whose protector is Kris Fletcher, a human paladin commonly referred to as the Ghost. Early on, the main antagonist, a terra-rir general named Braxus Gaswell, is revealed to be bolstering his garrisons and recruiting his army for enigmatic reasons, with some speculating that he yearns to invade the Isle of Kirelia much like one of his ancestors, with Kris in the meanwhile befriending Erijinkor Tesconis, or Erik for short, to investigate demonic activity at Tsalbrin.

Kari and fellow draconics ultimately form a band called the Silver Blades, and take the ship Karmi’s Sword, one of its stops being the archipelago of Salkorum, with Kari and Grakin forming a romantic relationship in the meantime. On the island of Tsalbrin, Erik and Kari enter the wilds in search of a beast known as the sylinth, meeting a group of people called the czarikk along the way. Aeligos and his siblings have their own adventures, although the Silver Blades ultimately reunite for the conflict with Gaswell that ends the book.

The nature of the eponymous Salvation’s Dawn isn’t clarified until late in the novel, which is overall an enjoyable first entry, although there is a little lack of creativity concerning things such as a town named Dune and a symbol called the Sword of Truth, not to mention Gaswell being a somewhat asinine name for an antagonist. An appendix somewhat clarifies the differences between the draconic races, although throughout reading this reviewer found it somewhat difficult to visualize specific characters. Even so, fans of anthropomorphic fantasy will likely appreciate this series beginning.

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