Dead Reign, by T.A. Pratt

Written by Steven Klotz

Marla Mason is a normal ass-kicking sorceress. For very special values of normal. She’s no stranger to violence, and she’s tussled with a god or two. In Dead Reign Marla’s foe is Death himself, and in his wake we’ll encounter ghosts, zombies, necromancers, lich, and even a mummy assassin. Poison Sleep introduced the major magical players in Felport and a number of these have their back story filled in a bit during this installment.

Pratt weaves the theme of death through the entire novel. Marla has killed people, both in the rise to her position as Chief Sorceress of Felport and during her tenure as such. As baddass as she is, this doesn’t sit well with her, and we get a lot more insight into her character this volume, as she deals with death as well as Death. Her discomfort with death sparks the events of the novel as she makes an enemy out an old, bumbling, and very confused necromancer. A quick string of events and Marla is locked in a battle with the incarnation of Death for control of her beloved city.

My favorite character in this series so far is the enigmatic Bay Witch, and even though she remains enigmatic she gets just enough face time to tickle my soul. (Tim, please tell me you have some short fiction featuring the Bay Witch.) I also love Marla’s new companion, and he plays an important role in her realization that her goal in life is still shifting from martial sorceress to Protector. As Chief Sorceress of Felport, Marla has been a Protector the entire series, but her methods have always been to use magic as a brute force weapon. It’s good to see her growing beyond that a bit.

Just as Marla accidentally sets in motion all the deadly shenanigans in Felport, Death lays Marla’s path out before her and they all curve back into a tightly written conclusion. The structure lends itself to a clean reading as a stand alone novel. That said, there are many strong ties to the earlier books, and I’d highly recommend you check out both Blood Engines and Poison Sleep. If this sounds like something you’d like to experience, be sure to sign up for the giveaway (running until July 25th) for copies of the first 2 books.

P.S. I’ve had to correct almost every instance in which I typed Dead Reign, as I want to type Dark Reign which was my favorite RTS for months in 1997 until Starcraft ate my soul. Please let me know if you find any instances of such mistakes.

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  1. […] you find any instances of such mistakes. [update 2008-08-06] This review has been republished on Adventures in SciFi Publishing Posted by mentatjack Filed in Review Tagged: book, fantasy, Tim Pratt, urban […]

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