The Drowning City: Filled with dark and scary places

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews Amanda Downum The Necromancer Chronicles 1. The Drowning CityThe Drowning City by Amanda Downum

Orbit Books sent me The Drowning City and I wasn’t sure it would work for me. The cover is awesome and the back-cover blurb is intriguing, but for some reason, I just got the feeling it was a story aimed more toward a female readership.

Before I even got to the map, though, I was impressed by Amanda Downum‘s choice of opening quotes. The first quote is from Emily Dickinson, which would have been impressive even by itself, but then just below that is a line from one of my all-time favorite bands, Rage Against the Machine. I said to myself, “Oh, Hells yeah!!” Any author who has the cojones to quote Rage Against the Machine has my complete attention and utmost respect.

Moving on to the novel itself, The Drowning City tells the story of Isyllt Iskaldur, a necromancer and spy. Isyllt’s mission is to help overthrow the Imperial government in the tropical island city of Symir. Symir is based on Southeast Asian culture around the time that they were starting to use primitive firearms. Downum’s choice of setting took me out of my comfort zone. I tend to prefer medieval, ancient, and sometimes Victorian settings in fantasy novels, and so Downum had a challenge in winning me over (despite her excellent taste in music). She succeeded, however, and I enjoyed The Drowning City very much.

The Drowning City is filled with dark and scary places, and characters that are often not quite what they seem. Ghosts, spirits, and demons are very real and a constant threat. Magic is more prevalent than what I usually care for in a story, but in this haunting tale it fits very well.

I’m a big fan of the Dark & Gritty Fantasy but The Drowning City isn’t quite that. I think I’d call it Dark & Haunting. Amanda Downum may just be a force to be reckoned with, and this is only her first novel. I’m anxious for the next installment: The Bone Palace.

The Necromancer Chronicles — (2009-2012) Publisher: Symir — the Drowning City. home to exiles and expatriates, pirates and smugglers. And violent revolutionaries who will stop at nothing to overthrow the corrupt Imperial government. For Isyllt Iskaldur, necromancer and spy, the brewing revolution is a chance to prove herself to her crown. All she has to do is find and finance the revolutionaries, and help topple the palaces of Symir. But she is torn between her new friends and her duties, and the longer she stays in this monsoon-drenched city, the more intrigue she uncovers — even the dead are plotting. As the waters rise and the dams crack, Isyllt must choose between her mission and the city she came to save.

Amanda Downum The Necromancer Chronicles 1. The Drowning City 2. The Bone Palace 3. Kingdoms of DustAmanda Downum The Necromancer Chronicles 1. The Drowning City 2. The Bone Palace 3. Kingdoms of DustAmanda Downum The Necromancer Chronicles 1. The Drowning City 2. The Bone Palace 3. Kingdoms of Dust


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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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