I love a good, thick fantasy novel, let’s just get that out of the way, first. And we were to judge Savage Legion by Matt Wallace only on its size, it would be a winner.
Fortunately, it’s got a lot more going for it. It’s funny, has great characters and was just overall fun to read.
Today, we’re going to break down why Savage Legion works. And if you haven’t read it yet, we’ll also be talking about why you should.
The first thing that really stuck me with Savage Legion was that it’s set in the present tense. This was a weird decision that was, frankly, a bit jarring at first until I got used to it. It was one of those brave decisions that we all want to make, but we’re too scared to.
It did, as I said, take a bit of getting used to. But once I was accustomed, it was great. I felt more in the moment. This was not a tale being told. It was a story that was happening right as I was reading it.
Now, am I saying everyone should start writing all their books in the present tense? No, probably not. But it wouldn’t hurt to take a few artistic chances. They might lead to the best thing you’ve ever written.
Now, let’s talk about Taru. Taru is the first and only non-bionary person I’ve seen in a fantasy book. And instead of their whole story being about that, they’re an actual person who has thoughts and opinions outside of their sexuality.
What a concept!
I’m sure I’m missing a ton of non bionary characters out there, but the only one I can remember was on an episode of Bones. They were not handled well, to say the least.
Taru is loyal, funny, brave and scary as hell. And if you want to write about a non bionary character, this is how you do it.
Another thing done well in this book is the world building. This world, and the city of Crache feels real. It feels like something that would evolve in our own world. The politics, because there’s a lot of politics in this book, make perfect sense. The enemies battling Evie and the other savages feel real. And when the characters, one by one, come to horrible realizations about their government and the people who run it, that feels real too.
Finally, let’s talk about connecting plotlines. Early in the book we’re introduced to three very different women. Evie, Dyeawan and Lexi. It’s only as their stories progress that we find that they are very much tied together in the deadly web those in power are weaving.
Now, I’ve seen this done well and I’ve seen it done poorly. I’ve seen it done as a plot device to simply show the world from diffrent points of view.
That’s not what’s going on here. This is giving vital understanding of the scenes and plans unfolding that we just wouldn’t have with just one character. While the three main characters meet face to face only once or twice, their stories are barreling head on towards each other. I’m honestly not sure who’s going to be enemies or allies when that time comes. And that’s the sort of thing that gets a reader itching to read the next book.
So that’s why Savage Legion works. It takes chances, it depicts people from different walks of life well, and it shows multiple plotlines coming together in surprising and wonderful ways. But now I want to hear what you think. Have you read Savage Legion? Why do you think it works? And what would you like to see me talk about next? Let us know in the comments.
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