SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1444 False Covenant, by Ari Marmell Book Review |

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False Covenant, by Ari Marmell
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Pyr
Published: 2012
Review Posted: 5/31/2013
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

False Covenant, by Ari Marmell

Book Review by Joshua Palmatier

Have you read this book?

Just finished False Covenant, the second Widdershins novel, which I read immediately after receiving it since I liked the first book, Thief's Covenant. These are YA books, which I don't normally read, but the first sounded interesting (kind of like my own Throne of Amenkor series) so I decided to check them out. I'm glad I did.

The premise of this book is that Widdershins, a thief in the city of Davillon, has taken control of her friend's bar and is discovering that it isn't as easy to run as she thought it would be. Part of this is her own lack of experience running a bar, but most of it is because the Church has declared Davillon off limits to traders and travelers because of the recent murder of the visiting archbishop. The city is in desperate need of an economic boost. Unfortunately, after fending off a summoned demon the year before, another supernatural creature has begun stalking the streets, preying on everyone but targeting children in particular. And it appears that Widdershins and her own personal god Olgun may be the only ones capable of stopping its reign of terror. But Widdershins is distracted by a budding romance with a local guardsman . . . and an aristocrat and excellent duelist intent on killing her for a crime against his family.

As you can see, lots going on, and Widdershins quick wit and sparkling personality is still front and center here. She's one of the best parts of these books, but in this case I'd have to say the creature that's stalking the city steals the limelight. It's what snags your attention in this novel and keeps you reading. It's cruel and deadly and the fact that it's main focus is stalking children (not to mention all of its physical features and voice) is downright creepy as well as horrific. I'm sure that it will haunt some readers' dreams, even though this is a YA book.

That said, this wasn't as intense in terms of horror as the first book, and it certainly didn't feel as fast paced. It rockets right along, but still felt somewhat relaxed. One aspect that has also changed is that there aren't multiple timelines with the author having us jump from one to the other. In the first book, this was rather distracting, honestly, so the linearity of this book was better. But somehow it didn't have the same impact as the first. It just wasn't as . . . gritty and dirty and rough as the first. I rather enjoyed that roughness.

So, I enjoyed the book, but it wasn't as satisfying as the first (even factoring in the sometimes confusing time jumps in the first). This book was more tame in comparison. A fun read--Widdershins and her antics with her personal god are always fun--and with a goodly touch of horror with the creature stalking the streets, but just not as satisfying as the first.
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