Ever wonder what it would be like to read the dark fantasy equivalent of George Orwell’s 1984? Well, wait no more for because David M. Haendler’s The Shattergrave Knights has got that itch covered.
To say that I enjoyed this book would be an understatement; I did not simply enjoy it- I adored it! Everything about the novel is eloquent and superbly written. The characters are some of the best examples of excellent character development, the plot is rich and vivid while the pace itself is enjoyable without being bogged down too much on the details of each chapter.
Set in a depraved fantasy world we find two young protagonists: Jack and Olive Meriwether. Both are from a small village and from infamous stock: for they discover one day, after taking a small pastry to an old swamp-dwelling woman, that they are related to one of history’s most reviled war criminals making them, by extension, the last of the legendary Shattergrave Knights.
Such a detail, however, is not a cause for celebration for their nation’s police are rapidly on their trail. Set in a country called the Protectorate this is as close to Orwellian style writing one can hope to see realized in a fantasy setting. The Protectorate is an all controlling entity which keeps meticulous records on all of its citizens, enforces law and order through the use of a secret police, and even has a special brainwashing facility to “correct” rowdy citizens. In short: it uses violence to maintain its rule and rules as supreme.
However, to our young protagonists, who must flee from this evil empire and find freedom, these entity destroyers their life and throws them onto a path of war, redemption, and heartache. Their entire world is shaken to the core when they see their friends killed and family imprisoned. By the end of the book one will scarcely recognize the heroes for who they once were.
In short I implore you to give this book a read if you are a fan of the fantasy genre. Everything about it I loved, from its simple style to its deep themes, one possibly cannot go wrong in wanting something new and different if they give this tale a go.