BOOK REVIEW: Andy Remic's Soul Stealers
Book II of The Clockwork Vampire Chronicles hits shelves...
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Angry Robot Books continues to publish some of the coolest new sci-fi and fantasy around. Thanks to a bullpen full of both veteran writers and up-and-coming talent, this new publisher hit bookshelves in 2009 and has taken readers by storm with its broad offerings, including Andy Remic's latest series, The Clockwork Vampire Chronicles.
Set in a fantastical world where machine vampires ruthlessly cull the living and a simple, old warrior named Kell stands ready to wage war to defend hearth and home, The Clockwork Vampire Chronicles continues with its second installment in Soul Stealers.
Fans of author Andy Remic know him best for his hardcore combat and non-stop action. Whether its in his near-future Spiral trilogy, the on-going sci-fi adventures of Combat K or the first entry in the The Clockwork Vampire Chronicles, Kell's Legend (reviewed here), Remic has a distinct way of writing that bleeds off the page and runs deep with descriptive combat, harsh violence, black humor, and breakneck pacing.
Now, with Soul Stealers, fans of Kell's Legend can pick up where we last left our hero Kell and his crew. Hunted by the Vachine (machine vampires), Kell seeks reinforcements with the hopes of fighting back against the overwhelming hordes of life-draining enemy. However, a pair of deadly vampire assassins have begun tracking Kell. Assigned to bring about Kell's death no matter the consequences, this deadly pair won't stop until he's dead... or they are.
Like Kell's Legend, Soul Stealers is the epitome of a page-turner, tempting the reader to finish just one more page, over and over again until the story's complete. Engrossing and exciting, this second book in the series allows Remic to flesh out his characters and depart further from the homage to classic fantasy writer David Gemmell's fan-favorite character Druss, which some readers saw as a crutch in the first book.
In this, the second book, Remic turns even more to his own devices, clearly establishing Kell as an anti-hero and character all his own, further fleshing out this angry, old warrior with an attitude as sharp as his demonic axe. An anti-hero for the ages, the main character of Kell makes for a fine addition to the heroic fantasy genre and fans of this genre will immediately either fall in love or despise the character.
Likewise, Remic further develops the character of Saark, whose past is filled with regrettable, despicable actions and events. Both men and their relationship help define this on-going saga, which is at once both the quest and the battle. Telling old tales in new ways and new tales in old ways, the story of the Clockwork Vampires and their rise (and hopefully fall or defeat?) continues to enthrall readers thanks to Remic's breakneck pace and descriptive and violent style.
Filled with edge of your seat suspense that'll have you reading non-stop, violent action that'll leave you breathless and begging for relief, and characters that'll have you cheering for victory and crying for revenge, Soul Stealers is a worthy sequel to Kell's Legend. Remic continues to prove himself a worthy successor to David Gemmell's heroic fantasy lineage.
Soul Stealers: Book II of The Clockwork Vampire Chronicles is available now wherever fine books are sold. Be sure to watch for Vampire Warlords: Book III of The Clockwork Vampire Chronicles in June of 2011.
For a great selection of awesome sci-fi and fantasy books, be sure to check out Angry Robot Books.
- Jess C. Horsley