The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes
Author: Sam Sykes
Reader: David DeSantos
Short Review: The City Stained Red is like the love child of Skyrim and Arabian Nights. Action packed and compelling, great if you like that sort of thing, it none the less got a little old for my taste.
Long Review: The City Stained Red is the first of a new series called Bring Down Heaven set in the same world, with apparently a lot of the same characters as his Aeon’s Gate trilogy. I’ve been following Sam Sykes on Twitter for at least a year or so and I’ve been meaning to pick up a book of his to read so when the offer of a review copy came along I jumped at it.
After I suffered an overdose of epic fantasy as a teenager, I haven’t really been reading that much of it. In many ways The City Stained Red was a return to the things I used to love about epic fantasy; strange creatures having problems and taking care of things. The plot is pretty straightforward as the main character, Lenk, and his companions go about trying to get paid for a job they’ve already completed. Each of them has their own problems and hang-ups and they keep trying to deal with them in the best ways they know how.
The narrative is compelling and very much like a video game for all the good and the bad that entails. Around the halfway point the constant battles against more or less meaningless monsters started to feel like grinding. It says something about the quality of writing though that it took that long. The writing is compelling, the characters and world interesting.
The reader, David DeSantos, is highly competent, even entertaining. He’s a solid narrator but nowhere near to being among my favorites. But that’s most likely just a matter of taste.
This book is a solidly entertaining piece of epic fantasy that becomes excellent if you love epic fantasy and video games.