Not only must the author create vivid characters who leap off the page and demand to be loved, or hated, those characters must also live in a world that has depth and a sense of solid reality to it. McNally has achieved both with The Sable City.
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The characters are well written and each has a past and little quirks that make them immediately recognizable. One of my favourites is a devil named Balan.
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Tilda, the main character in the book is strong, honourable and tenacious yet at the same time believably female, a rarity amongst male authors. The less major characters also experience growth. None of them remain static and that is one of the things that makes the book such a pleasure to read.
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A good story however, requires more than just good characters. A good story also requires a believable world for those characters to inhabit. That world has to have geography. It has to have climate. It has to have varied and interesting cultures. And it has to have history.
In the real world everyone has a sense of the past, even those who have no interest in formal History.
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The past is where we came from. It not only tells us where we have been as a people or a race, it informs our present. In many ways history is what motivates a whole people so a story without history is like a painting with only the main features coloured in. McNally knows this and his world is rich in references to the past, making the reader feel that the present is just an extension of what came before. As it should be.
In essence The Sable City is the story of a quest. The quest begins in the island state of Miilark where the trader family of Deskata suddenly finds itself without a direct blood heir. The only Deskata left who could save the family was exiled years before so Captain Block is sent on a mission to try and find the exile and bring him home. Block chooses only a Guilder apprentice by the name of Matilda Lanai to help him as secrecy is paramount. And so the quest to find John Deskata begins. They do not have much to go on.
They know that Deskata has brilliant green eyes, a family trait, but not much else. And then of course there are the dragons. That is one of the things I liked most about the book. I like being surprised and I think you will too. The only small criticism I have of The Sable City is that at times the dialogue feels too… modern.
Or to be more exact, too familiar , as if the banter was happening between two people in present day New York or some other large city. It did not happen often but when it did I would lose that sense of being elsewhere, just for a moment or two. I know many people will consider this criticism to be nit-picking but for me it was a little disconcerting.
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Other than that The Sable City did not jar with typos or poor grammar or awkward phrasing. It was well written and well edited and the story flowed just the way a good story should. I think I can honestly say that this is the first fantasy book I have read in a while that I enjoyed and it is definitely the first indie fantasy that I have finished with a warm sense of satisfaction.
I recommend it to anyone who wants more from fantasy than just magic and battles. There is magic and there are battles but there is also much, much more. You will not be disappointed. Meeka's Mind the passions of a science fiction writer. By acflory. Roll on book 3! Like this: Like Loading May 28, Illuminating Blogger Nominees : Candy Korman for her innovative fusion of literary monsters and crisp, modern prose. April 27, But what is The Sable City about? What is the story that pulls us along? Dezember Was auf den ersten Blick noch wie eine typische Bluttat im Milieu wirkt, zieht schnell deutlich weitere Kreise.
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