"Reality tore, prized open by arcane forces. A blast of frost washed through Tarrik, a frigid wind he could sense ethereally but not physically feel. A conduit was created, joining this world to an abyssal realm. The void beckoned. Tarrik Nal-Valim surrendered to its song."
I've read thousands of fantasy books by hundreds of fantasy authors. I've loved quite a few of them, some more than others. It would be hard, if not impossible, to rank them or their authors, in any order, and especially that of best to worst. But if you asked me for my 5 favorite authors, I would know what to answer. And I would know Mitchel Hogan would be one of them.
Shadow of the Exile, as with every other of Hogan's novels, starts slow. Maybe even painfully so for those who enjoy fast-paced books. Sure, there are quite a few action scenes in the very first chapters, and you find out some of the character's traits, personalities and purpose early on, but the book doesn't really take off until halfway through. But when it does.... let's say you're in for a treat.
I could talk about the book's prose, world-building, magic-system, and a dozen other things, as I usually do in my reviews. But this time I won't. Because in Mitchell Hogan's books, that's not what I care about, and I dare say you shouldn't either. There's only one thing important enough, and everything else pales before it. The story, and the story alone. And Mitchell Hogan knows how to tell one, better than most. Shadow of the Exile is a story about love, forgiveness and absolution. It's also a story about war, death, and destruction. It's, more or less, a story about a demon who's more human that the rest of us.
Shadow of the Exile is out today. Buy it. Read it. Forget about prose, pace, characterization (not that the book isn't excellent on that regard), and enjoy a good story instead. And then buy the rest of his books and do the same.