May 18, 2012

Review: Decoy, by S.B. Sebrick

Author: S.B. Sebrick
Title: Decoy
Series: Assassin’s Rising (#1)
Publisher: S.B. Sebrick (September 2nd 2011)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes.

Buy your copy: Kindle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The last few grueling years of training have served Kaltor well. He’s learned to harness the magic within his body, overcome a stronger opponent, avoid capture, and everything else an assassin-in-training needs to survive.
Or so he thought.
But when those they protect at an excavation site release a demon from the Abyss itself, Kaltor realizes just how poorly prepared they all are for what’s coming. Within a single night, their mining camp of one thousand people plummets to a couple hundred terrified survivors, the majority turned against each other by the demon’s potent abilities. Then he turns towards Shaylis, the largest city in the region, for the next stage of his plan.
In a constant battle of both steel and strategy Kaltor and his friends struggle to delay, deceive and defeat their opponent, who’s spent the last thousand years planning out every detail of her assault to perfection. As the number of casualties mounts and her final plan comes to light, Kaltor is left with only one option. He must draw on the secret power within himself, knowing if his true identity is discovered, his life and the fate of the world, will be changed forever.” GoodReads’ blurb

This book promised action and adrenaline, and that it does deliver. We’re dumped smack in the middle of a race for Kaltor’s life... and the end is only more tense than that.

The world Sebrick trusts us into is extremely different from ours, and if you think you’re going to find your average elves and wizards, you’re sadly mistaken. Special abilities for Kaltor’s folk are part of biology, and the creatures they face and share their world with are the product of a great imagination. It’s true that there are some things, like the Viper Hound’s ability to change shape, that actually made me stop and think... “is that biologically possible?” which I realize is a very odd question to be asking in high fantasy but that’s just me.

The fact is that I like my worlds to be as real and coherent as this one, and in that aspect there were things I liked and didn’t like so much about Decoy. On the one hand, I guarantee that this world is original, different, and very rich. On the other hand, there were so many things going on right from the start that I had to sit back and work it all out. This is probably something that only I, or other world-building obsessed folk would do, but it’s one of the reasons why I’d recommend this novel to all high fantasy and action lovers instead of to everyone and their mother.

The other reason has something to do with the reading experience itself, and it might be my inner linguistic speaking. The battles were amazing, the banter between friends casual and convincing, and in general I really enjoyed the author’s style... which made me notice when there was a repetition or an awkward sentence here or there. Still, this is not really bothersome, and certainly not a dominant issue.

I still recommend reading Decoy if you want to check out something different in a genre that, too often, feels fully explored and charted. If you want a fast read, with a complex world, an epic evil and more mundane worries to keep our hero grounded (loved his family relasionthips)... then you probably should read this one! To be honest, I intend to read the next volume as soon as possible, because there’s so much more detail I want about the world, the characters, the consequences to the happenings on this book..


  1. tnx 4the review

    i'll think about it

    1. Welcome! Glad to hear it was useful! :)

  2. Same thing happened to me at the beginning of Zach Rawlins's The Academy, which ended up being one of my favorites: the worldbuilding was amazing, but it's kind of sink or swim: you get thrown into the deep and you can either keep reading and try to figure things out as you go along, or just give up. Too much happening at once.
    fantastic review, Ron!

    (And thank you for the arc! I suck at keeping up with our shared email. Mine is

    1. I think you've just nailed it: either you sink or swim. Heh, I like that image.

      Then again, not so much because I think I might be part rock due to my ability to touch bottom when thrown into a body of water, but...

      Heh. Thanks for the e-mail! I'll add that to my address book ;) I hope you'll enjoy the ARC. I sure look forward to your comments!

  3. This book sounds kinda awesome. I normally shy away from fantasy type tales.
    This sounds pretty good actually.
    Thanks for the gr8 review.

    1. Fantasy was my primary and only genre until I got into YA and paranormal thanks to The Iron Fey and the blogosphere! If you're not into it though, I'd probably recommend other titles first... But that's because I always try to push my favorites first thing! :)