My rating: 2 of 5 stars
The best part of this story was the world building concept; however, even with a somewhat novel take on an apocalyptic world and magic system, it still falls short.
The basic premise is a dystopian aftermath from a war that destroyed the world in a magic conflict, and where people now live in protected conclaves under magic shields known as veils. The original combatants have presumably disappeared, leaving only the humans struggling to survive, ruled by a corrupt brotherhood of ‘bloodwizards’ (aka the Church) and capomagj (aka the mafia). There are noble families that have some power, but it is not clear how they have it (other than being first) and most importantly, how they keep it. Finally, there is an Imperial overlord who basically just serves as background for one of the main characters (a quasi-disowned imperial son).
Magic is based upon blood from slashing wounds with gem (ruby, safire, et. al.) based knives that apparently determine the strength of the wizard … thus the title obsidian being significant because of the type of knife used by the main character, Shade Nox (Night Night). Also apparently, magic tattoos heal the wounds so they can cut themselves again and again (sort of like a magic perpetual motion machine) … yeah … so maybe the magic system is not quite so well developed as some.
All of that still makes for a mildly entertaining story and would have scored better if I had actually liked any of the characters … who tended to always be dialed up to 11 for everything, which was super annoying. Frankly the interactions between the characters was so full of bravado, arrogance and generally all around I'm offended that it is amazing that every encounter didn’t end up in a deadly brawl ( I think I am offended that it didn't ) … it was so exhausting dealing with so much adolescent angst from what should have been more matured adults.
I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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