3 out of 4 stars
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Grim’s Prodigies by Remmy Stourac is the first book in a new fantasy series called The Reaper’s Inception.
We know the Angel of Death as merciless, the sight of whom means the end for the unlucky soul. However, in this book, The Divine gives Grim a chance to begin a new life and shed his ruthless and soulless image. He also gives him a gift, one that will enable in him feelings he’s never had before: real emotions of caring for those he used to take away.
The story, set in the world of Ohm, follows Grim and four children who will be born again with new powers that would help keep the balance in a world filled with monsters and gods, many who would want those powers in their own hands. All main characters have their own chapters with the scenes projected through their own eyes in a third-person point of view. We meet the children who would eventually become powerful, and we observe them as small babies and toddlers trying to make sense of their new realities. The kids grow up in various parts of the world, in all vastly different places from each other.
We also get several chapters featuring Grim himself. These were the chapters I was mostly drawn to. The Devil, as the locals called the Grim, was an intriguing character, one I grew fond of. From a typical antihero, he slowly turned into the hero with the burden to save the world. His transformation happened in front of my eyes, and I couldn’t wait to read more chapters about him. At times, I even had ideas about which actors could potentially play him if the book were ever turned into a fantasy movie.
I found the story captivating, and the engaging writing style contributed greatly to my enjoyment of the book. I assume this is the author’s debut novel, and, except for the first two chapters that I found confusing, the rest of the book had a smooth flow to it. The detailed descriptions of the four different parts of the world and the various characters inhabiting them were spot on, and I could easily imagine myself watching the story unfolding live from the sidelines.
Having said that, the first two chapters, the Prologue and Setting the Pace, almost made me stop reading. The writing was awkward, bombastic, with plenty of sentence-structure mistakes (especially randomly mixing the present and past tense in a sentence or paragraph). I didn’t understand what was going on.
However, from the next chapter on, once Grim fell from The Divine for the second time, everything clicked into place. It was as if the author had suddenly found his voice, a strong and appealing one which he kept throughout the entire novel. So much that I am now glad I didn’t give up on the book.
I found several grammatical errors, but most of them were in those two initial chapters with constructs such as “I leaned over to let an ant crawl from the top of my foot to the tip of my finger. I watch its tiny legs…” and “I get back to my feet as I realized…” which are very obvious issues that stopped me in my tracks a few times. After the initial chapters, the grammatical mistakes almost disappeared. Still, due to my issues with that awkward beginning, I am forced to give the book 3 out of 4 stars.
I highly recommend Grim’s Prodigies to any epic fantasy lover who enjoys strong character development and plenty of action that keeps the pages turning. As to my only regret – after watching too many TV shows with kids saving the world with their superpowers, I was hoping the children would feature in the final major act of the first book, but the focus was almost entirely on the Grim Reaper. I assume the author will explore their fates further in the second book, and they will have a more prominent impact throughout the story. Overall, Grim’s Prodigies was a very enjoyable read, and I am eagerly looking forward to the sequel.
Grim's Prodigies: The Reaper's Inception
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