The Copper Promise (The Copper Cat, #1)

Write on: Thu, 11 Jan 2018 by  in Archive Read 3588

 3.5/5 stars. 

The Copper Promise is a good debut from Jen Williams; one which harkens back to the days of classic sword and sorcery fantasy with a quest or adventure, mages, knights, dragons and gods.

 This novel is a bundling of four published novellas, which resulted in a slightly disjointed narrative structure with each 'book' having a self-contained arc. 

UK covers of the published novellas.

The worldbuilding is essentially classic medieval fantasy, save for the absence of elves, dwarves and trolls.  There are also some interesting touches around the magic system which combined the power of words with the might and magic of will; even though not the most original of concepts, the execution was respectable.  What is missing, however, is a map of the world which I personally view to be an important component in fantasy books.

I found the plot to be straightforward, but even in its relative simplicity, the story is fun and enjoyable.  The simple prose and tone of the writing also fit the narrative pretty well.  Although there are some dark parts while dealing with the more villainous elements, it is overall not a grim, nor philosophical tale.

In The Copper Promise, we follow the third person perspective of three main characters.   I would say that the narrative is almost straddling between limited and omniscient in that while the reader does get some insight into the thoughts and emotions of the characters, it just did not feel personal enough.  

Wydrin, the titular Copper Cat, could have quickly fallen into the trope of the typical femme fatale protagonist - competent, resilient, but bitchy.  Fortunately, she does not.  Wydrin is badass, funny, and wholly blunt and direct in a refreshing manner.  Her companion, Sebastian, initially reminded me of a favourite character of mine, Hadrian Blackwater from the Riyria series by Michael J. Sullivan.    While he has similar characteristics with Hadrian that made me like him, there is also a certain touchiness about him which did not endear him to me as much.  

Aaron Frith has the most interesting character development; a broken lord who was hell-bent on seeking vengeance against those who had slaughtered his family.  Those who also tortured him to obtain the location of a secret vault, and then usurped the family's land.   It did take me some time to warm up to him as his vengeful anger resulted in some less desirable actions on his part.  In the end, though, he became quite a worthy champion in my eyes. 

What I appreciated most about this story was the portrayal of two different sets of antagonists.  One is your typical villain who displays marked cruelty and brutality for the greed of money and power.  The other group are magical creatures whose very creation was meant for destruction. It was fascinating to understand the perspective of the latter and realised that the concepts of good and evil just might not exist in a particular entity's consciousness or awareness at all.  Even more intriguing was observing these supposedly evil and destructive beings gaining some semblance of understanding and adopting human concepts. 

While I found the characters likeable, I did note a lack of suspense throughout the book.  It is not dull by any means.  In fact, there are lots of action, some of which are quite good.  However, I never really felt that our main characters are in real danger.    Nonetheless, the climactic ending is satisfyingly heroic and for a moment there, I honestly thought something unfortunate might happen.

The Copper Promise is a fun and entertaining read, and enjoyable enough to ensure that I continue with the series to know where the author is taking our Copper Cat, Sebastian and Lord Frith next.


Last modified on Thursday, 11 January 2018 15:02

A self-professed geek and proud of it, I started reading at a tender age and never really stopped until work got in the way for several years.  I regained my voracious appetite for books a few years back and then started to enjoy writing down my thoughts.  I am more of an emotional/instinctual rather than a critical reader. 

Aside from reading, I enjoy outdoor sports (running, hiking, cycling, an occasional frisbee game), photography and travelling.