Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Violent is really not the right word for this spare-no-detail fantasy monstrosity. Insane? Maybe. Really, the only way to describe Remic’s Kell’s Legend is with a phrase: a bloody, violent, fantastic journey through carnage, terror, and a downright epic tale that makes Underworld and every zombie movie look bad. That sounds about right. Kell’s Legend is the first is Remic’s Clockwork Vampire Chronicles. It follows Kell, a legendary warrior who has grown old, and a number of other characters, from his granddaughter Nienna to Anukis, a clockwork vampire-turned-exile in her own homeland. When strange, twisted albino soldiers descend upon the city of Jalder, Kell must take up his axe once again to defend his family. But with that action comes a flood of memories hinting at his dark past, at the Kell nobody remembers or everyone chooses to forget… Remic certainly managed a tour de force with Kell’s Legend. I’ve never read anything quite so unapologetic about its violence, but also brilliant in its brute force. Kell’s Legend is rough, for sure; at the same time, however, it’s entertaining and powerful, taking all that is wonderful about truly epic, adventurous fantasy and twisting it like Quentin Tarantino twists the movies. Remic is the Tarantino of fantasy (and science fiction, I presume), and if that isn’t a compliment, then I don’t know what is. Kell’s Legend isn’t just about action and brilliantly detailed fights. It’s packed full of amazing dialogue (and some clever witty banter to boot), and the characters are three-dimensional, something I think many fantasy writers of the more action-packed vein (including myself) have issue with. Remic has managed to put together a tale that pushes the boundaries while maintaining the necessary elements of a good fantasy novel (interesting characters, gripping conflicts, etc.). There were only two problems I had with Kell’s Legend: 1) Sometimes the action can be a bit much. For the most part it’s entertaining and propels the plot, but sometimes it feels overbearing; there aren’t a lot of breaks. 2) The language is outside of my comfort zone in one scene (and only one, as far as I can recall). If his language had kept in that vein for more than one chapter, then I would have tossed the book at the wall, but, thankfully, that is not what happened. However, if you cannot stand foul language in any form, this is not the book for you. Both of these problems are personal preferences and not indicative of any significant fault of the novel or Remic. If you aren’t bothered by these things, then this is definitely a book for you. If you’re already a Remic fan, then you’ll love Kell’s Legend. I look forward to the second book in the series. I’d love to know what happens with the Clockwork Vampires, Kell, his granddaughter, and some of the other characters. If you’d like to learn more about Kell’s Legend, check it out over at Angry Robot. Andy Remic can be found at his website. Kell’s Legend can also be found on Amazon or pretty much anywhere.