Thank you to Aconyte Books for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Waiqar: A Descent: Legends of the Dark novel is available now.
I’m beginning to associate Aconyte Books with fun. The last two Aconyte books that I read were entertaining adventures and, while Waiqar is dark and bloody, it has an underlying sense of excitement that begs you to suspend disbelief and join a fabulous fantasy world for a while. Author Robbie MacNiven balanced a classic gothic with a sense of enthusiasm, to brilliant effect.
Waiqar is set in the world of Descent: Legends of the Dark, which I have limited knowledge of. Previous experience isn’t required, though. The book jumps right in but has a gentle learning curve, taking the reader along with it. It begins with a poor hapless student who strayed a little too far down the path to necromancy. His “friends” betray him and he finds himself enslaved to Waiqar, necomancer extarordinaire. Think the worst of the worst, and you’ve got our Big Bad here.Except he isn’t the only Big Bad. He just happens to be the one calling the shots. Waiqar in turn gifts his slave to Tristayne, his protégé, who chafs at being the student of his undead teacher.
See, Tristayne can’t possibly achieve all that he dreams of while his necomanctic overlord controls everything. Thus, the stage is set for a novel that takes place through the eyes of the villains. This is the strength of the book. There are no heroes, no paths to redemption. There’s just evil, manipulations, lust for power, and a setting reminiscent of the best horror movies.
The pacing in Waiqar is snappy. There are no lags and I never got bored. The evil characters are unapologetically evil, not deigning to give a reason or excuse, which I loved. Backstories were short and to the point, never slowing down the storyline. The characters themselves were great, each offering a different brand of wickeness. Even Tomaz, the unfortunate student-turned-slave was unique in his own right.
While I enjoyed Waiqar’s brooding brutality (which was delightfully over the top from time to time, keeping the fun of a slasher movie), Tristayne was by far my favorite character. He was sulky and entitled, but also ambitious. His scenes were always a blast and I enjoyed seeing him plot against Waiqar. His confessions to his human slave, Tomaz, added extra layers to his pesonality. I thought the idea of using his slave as a sort of a diary was fantastic and often found myself grinning.
There was a ton happening within the pages, what with wars being planned, shifts in power being plotted, and lots of action besides. I’m not going to spoil the book by sharing how everything came together, but it was loads of gory fun. There were ghouls, liches, vampires, and battles aplenty. The ending was extremely gratifying and fit the tone of the book perfectly. Waiqar is a rip-roaring gothic adventure that I highly recommend to those looking for a bloody good read. Sorry, I had to permit myself a bad pun.
Pick this one up.