Kell’s Legend: So bad it’s good, almost…

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews Andy Remic Clockwork Vampire 1. Kell's LegendKell’s Legend by Andy Remic

An albino army invades the kingdom of Falanor, and the first to fall to their merciless onslaught is its most northern city, Jaldar. As it happens, this is where the famous warrior hero Kell has retired. As the invaders begin the slaughter, Kell hurries to rescue his grand-daughter, Nieanna. The dire circumstances call for an uneasy alliance between Kell and a dapper, swashbuckling thief named Saark. After a daring rescue of Nieanna and her friend Kat, the four become refugees, and they may be Falanor’s only hope against the clockwork vampire horde.

Knowing the premise of this book, I had my misgivings. However, I also knew that this story was supposed to pay homage to the late David Gemmell, so Kell’s Legend gnawed at me until I finally decided to give it a go. Vampires, in my opinion, are being done to undeath nowadays. Unfortunately, the steampunk series title, The Clockwork Vampire Chronicles, and the badass barbarian that graces the cover couldn’t bring Kell’s Legend back to life. Instead there are too many elements to carry, and I wasn’t far into the novel before the flaws became obvious. All due respect to Andy Remic, but my initial perception was right.

For the first few chapters, Kell’s Legend is entertaining in a sick kind of way — so bad it’s almost good. It’s a little like how a cheesy, low-budget movie can be so much fun that you can’t stop watching it over and over. However, that guilty pleasure story is a lot harder to pull off in a book. Plus, I don’t believe it was Remic’s intention to write a cheesy, low-budget novel.

So I did not finish this novel.

Ultimately, the clockwork vampires, called “vachines,” were just too much to swallow. The vachines are a warrior race made from a combination of dark sorcery and clockwork engineering, and they sustain their near immortality by consuming a mixture of blood and oil. Their culture is confusing, like it was being made-up as the story went along.

Still, Remic has an unorthodox writing style that I can appreciate, and his prose has an edge that reminds me of the lyrics of a hard-rock band like Soundgarden. I’m a fan of descriptive writing and at times I liked Remic’s visual imagery, but it soon became repetitive.

Mostly Remic just needs someone to rein him in. I could handle the borderline pornographic sexual interludes until reading of a “great erection” complete with clockwork testicles. That one almost gave me an attack of acid-reflux. I held on for a few more chapters, but could no longer justify continuing, especially with so many other books on my TBR list.

Despite, not liking Kell’s Legend, Andy Remic has potential. There is something in his style that appeals to my somewhat twisted taste. I may just have to check out his other books.

Clockwork Vampire — (2010-2011) Publisher: Ferocious fantasy from a real-life hardman come to claim the post-Gemmell world. They came from the north, and the city fell. It is a time for warriors, a time for heroes. Kell’s axe howls out for blood. The land of Falanor has been invaded by an albino army, the Army of Iron. A small group set off to warn the king: Kell, a magnificent and brutal hero; his granddaughter, Nienna and her friend, Katrina; and Saark, the ex-Sword Champion of King Leanoric, disgraced after his affair with the Queen. Fighting their way south, betrayal follows battle, battle follows deviation, and they are attacked from all quarters by deadly warriors, monstrous harvesters who drain blood from their victims to feed their masters. As Falanor comes under heavy attack and invasion, only then does Nienna begin to learn the truth about grandfather Kell — that he is anything but a hero. Ferocious fantasy from a real-life hardman come to claim the post-Gemmell world. FILE UNDER: Fantasy [A City Besieged / A Dangerous Hero / Bloodsucking Hordes / Epic Battles]

Kell's Legend Clockwork Vampire 1. Kell's Legend 2. Soul Stealers Kell's Legend Clockwork Vampire 1. Kell's Legend 2. Soul Stealers 3. Soul StealersKell's Legend Clockwork Vampire 1. Kell's Legend 2. Soul Stealers 3. Soul Stealers


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GREG HERSOM’S (on FanLit's staff January 2008 -- September 2012) addiction began with his first Superboy comic at age four. He moved on to the hard-stuff in his early teens after acquiring all of Burroughs’s Tarzan books and the controversial L. Sprague de Camp & Carter edited Conan series. His favorite all time author is Robert E. Howard. Greg also admits that he’s a sucker for a well-illustrated cover — the likes of a Frazetta or a Royo. Greg live with his wife, son, and daughter in a small house owned by a dog and two cats in a Charlotte, NC suburb. He retired from FanLit in Septermber 2012 after 4.5 years of faithful service but he still sends us a review every once in a while.

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