Book Review: The Thousand Names by Django WexlerFriday, July 05, 2013
The Thousand Names
#1 in The Shadow Campaigns series
Format: Ebook, 544 pages
Published On: March 25,2012
Publisher: Roc (imprint of Penguin)
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First Sentence: The new supreme rulers of Khandar met in the old common room of the Justices, the cudgel-bearing peacekeepers and constabulary that were now the closest thing the city of Ashe-Katarion had to a civil authority.
Enter an epic fantasy world that echoes with the thunder of muskets and the clang of steel—but where the real battle is against a subtle and sinister magic....
Captain Marcus d’Ivoire, commander of one of the Vordanai empire’s colonial garrisons, was resigned to serving out his days in a sleepy, remote outpost. But that was before a rebellion upended his life. And once the powder smoke settled, he was left in charge of a demoralized force clinging tenuously to a small fortress at the edge of the desert.
To flee from her past, Winter Ihernglass masqueraded as a man and enlisted as a ranker in the Vordanai Colonials, hoping only to avoid notice. But when chance sees her promoted to command, she must win the hearts of her men and lead them into battle against impossible odds.
The fates of both these soldiers and all the men they lead depend on the newly arrived Colonel Janus bet Vhalnich, who has been sent by the ailing king to restore order. His military genius seems to know no bounds, and under his command, Marcus and Winter can feel the tide turning. But their allegiance will be tested as they begin to suspect that the enigmatic Janus’s ambitions extend beyond the battlefield and into the realm of the supernatural—a realm with the power to ignite a meteoric rise, reshape the known world, and change the lives of everyone in its path.~ taken from Goodreads
The Thousand Names is one of the books I was eagerly awaiting in 2013. I have never read anything written by Django Wexler before but awesome cover, genre and the fact that heroine, Winter Ihernglass, is disguised as a man, promised that The Thousand Names will be a book I will thoroughly enjoy. And luckily for me, the promise was kept.
The Thousand Names turned out to be something I did not expect. A military fantasy epic. I thought The Thousand Names will be much lighter and less serious in tone. The theme of female main character enlisted in military reminded me of Mulan, so I expected that focus will be on her personal drama and reasons why she is in that particular situation. Although these topics are briefly explained the focus of The Thousand Names is war.
But somehow as marches and battles alternated and the stakes got higher, I found myself unexpectedly enjoying The Thousand Names. Django Wexler does not overwhelm you with unknown terms or fancy military expressions, so although I did not have any experience in that field, I was sucked into the battle, cheering for our heroes and literally devouring the pages.
I can not say I had a favorite character. I was charmed by quirky and mad genius of Colonel Janus, loyal and truthful Captain Marcus and, of course, Winter Ihernglass. But there were a lot of side characters, ordinary soldiers but heroes never-the-less who I also loved. There was a lot of friendship and warm moments amidst the battles that brought smile to my lips. Django Wexler managed to transfer a sense of accomplishment and good teamwork trough the pages to me and I found myself unexpectedly cheering for the whole Vordanai army.
As for the fantasy elements: we have imaginary world where two countries fight over one territory. Most of the battles will be won by wit and cunning, not by magic. In fact, magic is not part of everyday life.
"Wizards and demons were something that happened to someone else, in some far-away country, or else deep in the past where they belonged, with the Saints and knights in shining armor."
And then there will be a big finale that will resolve most of the questions, but still leave you wanting for more. More battles and more from our heroes. And, lucky for me, since The Thousand Names is first part of the series The Shadow Campaigns, my wish for more will be fulfilled. There is no info, title or publication date for the next part of the series but I can be optimistic and hope that we will get more to read next year. :)
In The End...
The Thousand Names is a book that will appeal to both seasoned veterans and newbies to the military fantasy genre. It's full of epic battles, friendship and vast array of characters that you will find hard not to admire, love and cheer for. In a flock of fantasy books that are published this year, this is a gem that should not be missed and I warmly recommend it to all fans of fantasy.