Sunday, July 23, 2017

Review: Hellknight by Liane Merciel

Author:   Liane Merciel
Series:  Pathfinder Tales 32
Publisher:  Tor Books, April 5, 2016
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages
List Price:  US$14.99 (print); US$9.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780765375483 (print); 9781466847354 (eBook)

Paizo Publishing is the award-winning publisher of fantasy role playing games, accessories, and board games. Liane Merciel's Pathfinder Tales: Hellknight is a thrilling addition to their popular novel series.

The Hellknights are a brutal organization of warriors dedicated to maintaining law and order at any cost. For devil-blooded Jheraal, even the harshest methods are justified if it means building a better world for her daughter. Yet when a serial killer starts targeting hellspawn like Jheraal and her child, Jheraal has no choice but to use all her cunning and ruthlessness in order to defeat an ancient enemy to whom even death is no deterrent.

Brannigan's Review

Liane Merciel’s Hellknight from the Pathfinder Tales universe is an engrossing mystery. The story takes place in Cheliax region and the city of Westcrown. The city and its history blends into the story. What was once a beautiful proud city has fallen under the rule of a noble family that openly works with demons and dark magic as well as the Hellknights, a brutal organization that demands justice and order at any cost. Most of the races in the Hellknights are devil-blooded humanoids that wear their ancestry in the forms or horns, scales, fangs and other frightening visages that cause them to be outcasts from normal society, but as Hellknights they find a purpose. In Westcrown, it is to keep order. Parts of the city have fallen to ruins that are overrun by monsters.

The story starts in the ruins when devil-bloods or hellspawn are killed by Sechel, an assassin who kills in an unusual way. She rips hearts from her victims’ chests, but instead of dying the victims remain in an comatose state with a hole in their chest. Jheraal, a Hellknight investigator, is assigned to investigate the crime and stop the murder. Ederras, a Paladin fighting at the Worldwound, finds out his brother, a noble in Westcrown, is murdered, leaving him the sole heir to his family name and wealth. Ending his self exile, he returns home to find his brother’s killer. It’s not long before Jheraal and Ederras, two opposites, are working together to find and stop the murderer. As they investigate, they only discover this mystery is deeply rooted in their families’ and city’s history.

Merciel’s two main protagonists, Jheraal and Ederras, are the primary POV characters. They each take turns showing you the world and story through their perspective, giving the reader several unique ways of looking at the story.

The characters are all well developed. Merciel does a wonderful job of giving them a life outside of the main story and allows them to grow and develop. I actually fell in love with Sechel and would relish reading more about her in her own book. This shows how well Merciel did in humanizing her characters, even those that don't have as much time on the page.

I highly recommend Hellknight for anyone that enjoys a fast paced fantasy mystery. For those that have no knowledge about the Pathfinder universe, don’t worry, I didn’t either until I started reading the books and I’ve never felt left behind. Don’t let a good mystery slip away. I would recommend this book for young adults as well as adults. There is some descriptive violence and minor adult situations, but nothing I would be worried about my teenager reading.


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