Dark, Fascinating Fantasy
S.E. Lindberg’s “Spawn ofDyscrasia” is the second book to appear in the world of Dyscrasia. I haven’t read “Lords of Dyscrasia,” but after having spent some time with “Spawn,” it’s definitely a work that has made its way to my ‘to-read’ list. Although “Spawn” stands alone, there were some times I wished I was a little more familiar with the world, and I think reading “Lords” first would have helped.
Dyscrasia is a pretty fascinating place, and you have to give this novel your full attention while reading. “Spawn” is a dark fantasy novel, but there are elements that provoke emotions that are similar to what you feel from other genres. Some of the early scenes involving artificial life forms reminded me of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”--but not the mindless slasher films the character has inspired, I’m talking about the philosophical, gothic masterpiece of a novel that started it all.
Energy is a major discussion point early on and these conversations reach beyond the scope of the novel. Some characters draw their energy from other characters and I was reminded of the magical system in The Darksword Trilogy that involved all magic users drawing their power through people referred to as Catalysts (it was the only interesting thing in that novel—and the idea wasn’t explored adequately, so read “Spawn of Dyscrasia” instead).
There is also a skull-faced character that reminded me a little bit of Garth the Overman from Lawrence Watt-Evans’s “Lords of Dus” trilogy. Both that series and “Spawn of Dyscracia” manage to generate the same sense of ominous foreboding. The characters are competent and powerful, but it seems like the elements of nature are too indomitable and inherently sadistic to ever be overcome.
I was impressed by S.E. Lindberg’s writing, his words are precise and intelligent. There is a definite purpose here, and you can tell that Lindberg is a well-educated man. Perhaps there are passages that become too didactic at times, but overall it worked very well for me.
This novel really goes beyond the fantasy genre, although I think it will take a few subsequent readings on my part to formulate an idea as to what comments the author intends. I like that kind of subtlety. I’ll probably revisit it again after reading the first volume and update my thoughts. In the meantime, grab your own copies of both of these!
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