Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have mixed feelings about this book. At times I liked it, and at others I was annoyed at it. It’s a dark fantasy told in the first person about a man that wakes up with no memory and unable to move. From there, he takes us a on a violent road trip to an unknown destination to find answers to burning questions like, “what (not who) am I”, “why am I so angry” and “why do I have a thirst for revenge”?

Stratus wakes up in the middle of a field, unable to move, with no memory of who, or what he is, or how he got there. He’s got enormous strength, killer (literally) fighting skills, and powerful sorcery that gives him an edge at survival. He sets out to figure out what he is and what happened to him, stumbling through a land torn apart by a ten year war that is escalating to new heights of savagery and dark magic.

Stratus has no interest in these kingdoms’ war, but he gets sucked into the struggles nonetheless. It’s only at the very end of the book do we discover what Stratus is and why he has a deep need for vengeance, although frankly, I had it figured out less than half-way through the book. It wasn’t difficult with the clunky foreshadowing sprinkled throughout the book.

I generally don’t like books told in the first person, and at first it really annoyed me. I got used to it a bit as the book progressed, but it still bugged me. The book is uneven and there is little to no world building and character development. Stratus is ruthless in his quest of discovery, carelessly using people until they’ve served their purpose, and then killing them. He even eats a brain or two. The book is pretty bloody and gory, but that’s to be expected in a dark fantasy book. It took me a long time to get into the story, but once I did, it flowed pretty quickly from there and I enjoyed it. I did like Stratus’ interactions with some of the characters in the book, and he even developed a friendship, of a sort.

It will take the reader a while to get into the book, but once they do, it’s an enjoyable read. I even liked it enough to read the next book in the series.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and Del Rey books in exchange for an honest review.