When it comes to finding a new book to read – particularly in the realm of fantasy – it will boil down to a few buckets for me. First is from a series or author that I already enjoy, and am awaiting the next installment. Second, will be something new that gives a twist on some familiar elements in medieval fantasy (say, Brian McClellan’s Powder Mages). While I didn’t know it going into it, The Story of Evil – A Hero’s Downfall by Tony Johnson offers that second category.
Going into the book, you know right off the bat that this is different – evil is taking the center stage, and the heroic side is going to be taking a fall. Right off the bat, Johnson has his work cut out for him, as he’s introducing a completely new world, with it’s own mechanics and rules. For example, here, you’ve got cities of humanoids (humans, dwarves, elves, giants, and so on) but there’s also a culture of monsters which are at war with the cities.
Past that, Johnson gets into something I rather enjoyed – the fact that while there are magical effects, they are related to the various elements that the creature (monster or man) has access to and can control. You get to see this every early on in the book, as there’s a pitched battle that starts very early on, and various creatures are having different effects in the fight.
In fact, this very early part of the book can sort of hit you like an elemental whirlwind – you’re learning about this new world, trying to learn who the characters are, and what all these various flashes of power are. Oh, yes, and of course there’s a mysterious dark-cloaked person all at the center of this riding their own fearsome dragon, for good measure.
So, yes, you’ve got a whirlwind here going on, and some of it isn’t as smooth as I might prefer. Now, I’ll chalk that up to perhaps my own preferences or my own expectations going into it. It doesn’t detract from the enjoyability of the story, nor is it something that will leave you feeling shortchanged about how something is in the story. I’ll just call it out as something you might run into as well.
I will say this – if you’re looking to start into something new that starts in a much different place than so many others do (ie, a young innocent gets caught up in a world-ending prophecy, or something similar) then The Story of Evil – A Hero’s Downfall by Tony Johnson will definitely scratch that itch. And, if like me, you like seeing twists on how mystical power is harnessed (here, by leveraging the power of elements), then I think you’ll like what’s to be had here. You can find the book in Kindle format for just $2.99 (right here) – or if you have Kindle Unlimited, it’s available to you right now for free.
Speaking of free, there’s also a giveaway going to win one of three physical copies, and you can enter that right here:
This is the first book of a trilogy, so you can go for a longer ride. As with all things about what’s in the world, you don’t have to just take my word for it. You can check out what the rest of the folks taking part in this book tour are saying by heading on over here and see the rest of the tour schedule. For me, while it wasn’t what I’d call a perfect read for me, personally, it was still an enjoyable story to soak in.