Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Into the Storm (Malcontents Book 1) by Larry Correia (Review and Recommendation)

Look, I'm picky about tie-in fiction. Really picky. When it comes to tie-in fiction, I hold it up to the same standard as any other sort of fiction - the book MUST hold up on its own, and NOT rely on the strength of the setting or characters as established by the original intellectual property.

(I'm looking at you, Star Wars.)

Into the Storm by Larry Correia is EXCELLENT tie-in fiction. So much so that even if you don't know the world you can still read the book and enjoy it. It's military fantasy (if that's a genre) that Larry did for Privateer Press, a game company. And while I have (had?) a longstanding set of prejudices against tie-in fiction due to some abysmal tie-ins I read in my youth, I like some of Larry's other stuff enough to give this one a try.

Into the Storm is described as The Dirty Dozen meets magical steampunk. Pretty good description. It's a war story, and Larry brings his strengths to bear here: cinematic writing, tight plotting, and fast-paced action. Giant magical robots, knights who shoot lightning from their swords, fanatical zealot warriors in the service of a vengeful god... Privateer Press let Larry Correia tell a tale within the enormous world of the Iron Kingdoms, and Larry delivered.

What surprised me was how much I cared about the characters. Larry describes himself as a pulp writer, as someone who writes stories for entertainment and not really to be remembered or thought about deeply. And while I didn't care about every member of the ensemble equally, the depth that he was able to give to some of these beleaguered misfits took me by surprise.

All in all - this book is exactly what it looks like. An adventurous, swashbuckling war story. Recommended.

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