Publisher: Crimson Edge Press
Date of publication: January 2017
Series: The Kaelandur Series
Melkorka – Book 1
Book synopsis (from Goodreads):
Kaelandur was forged by the Highborn to slay one of their own, Nedezhda Mager. As their slave, Branimir Baran never thought to question his cruel masters until he is forced to take part in the execution. His actions begin a chain of events that will lead him to confront demons, cannibals, and himself as he is forced to question his own morality and the true meaning of good and evil.
I am not a stranger to reviewing books from Joshua Robertson. I have reviewed two short stories by and was very impressed. So, when he approached me to review Melkorka, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I am glad I did because Melkorka exceeded my expectations.
Melkorka’s plot was very simple. It follows the Kas slave, Branimir, as he is forced on a frantic journey to protect the Ash Tree. The journey is filled with peril from outside elements and the people he is traveling with. Can Branimir survive long enough to save the Ash Tree? Or will his journey be for nothing?
Branimir held my sympathy because he was the innocent one in everything. Kinhar forced him to be part of the execution. He also forced to go with them on their mad dash from Melkorka after the battle that decimated the city. He was treated horribly by everyone in the party except Dorofej. It was nice to see him come into his own by the end of the book. To shed the slave mentality that had been bred into him.
There was a blurred line between good and evil in Melkorka and I enjoyed it. Some of the “good” guys were not “good” guys, per se. The author did a great job of casting the good guys into that gray area on more than one occasion.
The usage of magic was different from what I have read in other books. The caster aged with every spell that they cast until they die. But, some of the casters also were able to reverse the aging that the magic caused. Kinhar did. He went from elderly man to a young one during one of the battles that they had during the book.
There is a lot of violence in Melkorka. Being familiar with the author, I was not surprised at the graphic violence. I couldn’t see this book being written any other way. It needed to get bloody. What I also liked is that the author didn’t spare anyone from being killed. I was surprised at some of the characters that were killed off. There was one that did disturb me but only because the travelers were fed the body and told after the fact. I gagged at that.
I did have one complaint (don’t I always). There were several references of Kras and Highborn having one eye. The other eye was gouged out in a ritual. Falmagon did kind of explain it. That was something that stayed in the back of my head the entire book. I wish that more was explained about it. Considering that this is a series, I am willing to bet that more will be explained in the upcoming books.
The end of Melkorka was action-packed and bloody. I was not expecting what happened to happen. But it makes sense. I am excited to see where this series goes.
Pros of Melkorka:
A) Rich world building
B) 3D characters
C) Great storyline
Cons of Melkorka:
A) Not enough explanation about the eyes being gouged out in both Kras and Highborn
B) The treatment of Branimir and Dorofej for a majority of the book
C) Falmagon. I didn’t trust him as far as I could throw him the entire book
I would give Melkorka a rating of Adult. While there is no sex or swearing in the book, there is graphic violence. I would not recommend for anyone under the age of 21 to read this book.
There are trigger warnings that go with Melkorka. If you are triggered by graphic violence, then I would suggest not to read this book.
I would recommend Melkorka to family and friends. But I would include a warning about the graphic violence in the book. This is a book that I would reread. It is also a series that I am very interested in continuing to read.
I would like to thank Crimson Edge Press and Joshua Robertson for allowing me to read/review Melkorka.
All opinions stated in this review of Melkorka are mine.
**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**