Corvus - Paul Kearney Was feeling in the mood for a military fantasy, and for me it was a good opportunity to return to the world of the Macht in this trilogy by Paul Kearney. I very much enjoyed the first book The Ten Thousand which was a fantasy retelling of the historical events from Xenophon's Anabasis. As far as I know, however, Corvus is an original story, though the charisma and the military genius of the eponymous young general in the book naturally brings to mind the life of Alexander the Great.

There's a gripping plot in this novel, one that both fascinated and disturbed me, but I have to lay it out there and let it be known that this is the kind of series that revolves around bloody battles. If that's not your thing, then this book isn't going to appeal to you much. But if you enjoy war in your fantasy and lots of it, or the kind of battle scenes made famous by tales like 300, then Paul Kearney's your guy. The final scene ending the siege of Machran was so well done I could practically see and hear in my head the crush of men, the screams of the injured and dying and the rivers of gore and smell of sweat and blood and terror in the midst of such a large scale battle.

One thing I noticed the author did better in this sequel than in the last was his character development. I appreciated the fact that the antagonist in this novel is someone you could respect and even like, and I would even hesitate to call him an antagonist or a villain as he's clearly an honorable man just caught on the wrong side of a war. It's easy to hate a bad guy when the author makes him a horrible immoral lowlife, but it's another thing when Paul Kearney makes Karnos out to be a man who genuinely cares for his city, and would give up his cushy life to fight with his people for it. He was probably my favorite, just because of the many layers he had to his character.

One other thing that intrigues me about this series are the black cuirasses that some of the Macht warriors wear, the mysterious armor pieces that the people say aren't of their world and that they call "The Curse of God." Ever since reading the first book I'd been interested in learning more about them, and was happy to see that this second installment dropped more than a few pieces of lore about them to pique my curiosity further.

This book can probably be read on its own, though reading the The Ten Thousand first would help give a bit more background information and history. I read the first book a while ago and was probably fuzzy about half the events of it, but was still able to follow the story with no problems.