The Inquisition by Taran Matharu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"Well, it would've been, could've been, worse than you would ever know..."
-Modest Mouse, "Dashboard"
I'm sorry to go there right off the bat, but that title is just begging for this point to be made:
And as for that cliffhanger Matharu left us with last time, along with the one he gave us this time, I hereby present my idea of what must be going on in his head:
So...The Inquisition. Mercifully, the title group only really appears during the first quarter of the book or so, because as interesting and high-stakes as the whole trial thing is, it turns into an absolute farce - and not in a good way - very quickly. It pretty much takes on the sort of kangaroo-court proceedings my fellow Americans and I can expect if the Nazis - sorry, the GOP - win the White House this year. (God forbid.) And speaking of all the Nazi horrors Der Fuehrer Drumpf must have in mind for my country, in this second book, Matharu raises the racial-tension theme up to eleven (almost said "up to elven" there, haha). By the end of the book, it becomes clear that the orcs aren't all the enemy, not even close. And that there's a certain conservative-type cabal in Hominum, bound and determined to reshape human society in their own image. False God much?
As for our heroes, it's been a year since the end of The Novice, and none of them are, well, novices anymore. Training is over. These guys and gals are pretty hardened now - especially Fletcher, who's noticeably grown up (but still can't grow a decent mustache.) And on the demon side, there's none better than our little Toothless-esque Salamander, Ignatius, who takes all the levels in adorable in this book.
Together, they journey into the dangerous jungles of the orc world - the same jungles featured on the book's cover, where Everything Is Trying To Kill You. Just look at the description of the guy who accidentally wiped his arse with the wrong leaves (and in a place like this, are there really any right leaves for the job?)
All this action and adventure, of course, leads up to a cliffhanger even more gnarly than the first one, if anything. Well, it's much less sudden than that of The Novice, but still. I reiterate:
Taran Matharu, you bloody genius.
I really, really hope that next year, my library gets with the program and orders The Battlemage well in advance of its release. Seriously, library, being forced to do special orders like I did for the first two Summoner books is not helping your business.
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