Book Review: Black Cross (Black Powder Wars #1) by J.P Ashman

I’m surprised this book doesn’t have higher ratings and isn’t more popular than it is. It’s a really great book.

Unforgettable Characters

J.P Ashman has managed to create really memorable characters here being that they’re all well fleshed out. Reading this book felt madly thrilling through discovery of each of the individual characters. Each has a different role to play, each was unique in their own way; making the resulting blend truly exquisite. I also noticed an element of mystery in every character’s POV. It makes the whole thing even more intriguing as the characters are complex and highly unpredictable.

I didn’t exactly fancy Ashman’s portrayal of the race of elves especially their women. The grace, sternness and dignity I’ve come to associate with fictional elves is missing. In the book, they’re more or less humans with only enhanced beauty and magical powers.
While this book would be classified by most to be Grimdark, it’s extensive use of magic and creatures such as Dwarves, Elves, Goblins and Griffins among others bring it to the realm of pure epic fantasy.

Bad-ass Plot

It’s a great story, elastic, really flexible, and continually expands, stories like this make the best stories. Despite there being quite a lot of magic, it doesn’t distract you from the storyat all. The story is rather complex, at some point I had to slow down with my reading because I was missing too many things.¬†As well as being a great story, it’s also unique and not typically¬†Grimdark like Mark Lawrence or Joe Abercrombie, it’s got a blend of Tolkien as well. There are antiheroes, heroes, and villains.

Spectacularly thought out Themes

We have the usual evil vs good theme which is usually the case with nearly every work of fantasy, but it’s cleverly covered with other layers. The entire idea is intriguing enough to distract you from the main theme in the story which is the fight against an unknown evil. The antiheroes make you root for them! Their gritty, dark deeds blend with their odd but righteous sense of justice.
Love is a lightly treated issue, and I prefer it that way.

Little to No World Building

Much of what happens in the book only occurs within the city of Wesson. There are no mind blowing descriptions of the continent of Brisance, or the countryside. Despite the book’s really epic scope, it’s more plot driven and doesn’t dwell too much on the setting.

P.S: It’s a really great read. I recommend it to anyone and everyone who reads this review.


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