The Ingenious is a fantasy novel that throws you into a fascinating, intensely original world, filled with creatures, magic, and intrigue around every corner. Hyper-realism is used perfectly, showing us the gritty underbelly of a world that defies logic. I love the writing style with its focus on dramatic and grotesque descriptions. This is a novel that lives up to every expectation of a fantasy novel, and moves beyond with its brilliant use of setting and magic that feels both mystical and evil in turn.
The real gem of the novel is the well-developed setting. It acts as a character on its own from page one, revealing excrement covered streets filled with shady and salacious characters you wouldn’t want to meet. I love an author who doesn’t shy away from the realities of life in a city teeming with pre-technology people. In some ways, the city transcends the typical fantasy setting with its strange mecha creations and the magic that feels modern but is actually quite ancient. The villains are especially terrifying, masking themselves in dark corners and transforming into the beasts of nightmares.
Our featured band of protagonists bring a sense of tragedy to the action with their storied pasts and their desperate attempts to return to the lives they’ve lost. While I enjoyed following their journey, I kept coming back to this strange place. Prepare to be swept away to a city that’s as much alive as the group of bandits who roam its streets, plotting their revenge on enemies hiding in the shadows.
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
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