Title: The Deadbringer
Author: E.M. Markoff
In the aftermath of the Purging, the Deadbringers are no more. The Ascendancy has positioned itself as the land’s dominant power by exploiting the people’s fear of the Deadbringers’ innate abilities to summon souls and reanimate the dead. Yet its hold is not complete, for in the North the Bastion stands in the way of the Ascendancy and its iron-willed elite soldiers, the Sanctifiers. But, somehow, a single Deadbringer has managed to survive. Kira Vidal, a boy of fifteen, has remained hidden, living peacefully with his uncle in the northern city of Opulancae under the Bastion’s protection. But it seems their luck is at an end when rumors begin to spread, and a strange man shows up at their door, seeking the forbidden services of a Deadbringer. Aware of the dangers should word of his nature reach the Ascendancy, Kira makes a promise to himself to protect his beloved uncle at all costs, even if it means pursuing the limits of his powers … and learning painful truths.
The concept of The Deadbringer is fantastic. I have never read a book even remotely like it, and I couldn’t put it down. I ate up the cryptic ideals and story line, and fell into E. M. Markoff’s world easily.
Markoff has the unique old world writing style that links folklore with modern ideals, and her work read to me like that of the darker authors such as Edgar Allan Poe. She effortlessly wound youth and death together, while casting a darker shadow on life and on the world as it is and has been. It was clear to the reader that she has her own take on life and life after death, and when reading her novel I was so convinced with her ideals that it didn’t take me long to see them as fact. Her story was so vivid and original that I had a hard time separating it from reality. It was a story so real that I could see it existing in today’s world and in our history, and I wanted to meet her characters myself to discuss with them what I read about them.
The concept of bringing the dead back to life can come off as grotesque in most writing, but with Markoff’s novel it came off as art and a brilliance that I haven’t seen in other works. The Deadbringer is a perfect novel for those who aren’t fond of darker novels, because the center of it wasn’t on the darker aspects; instead, Markoff made sure that her novel was about folklore and written in a way that didn’t scare the reader. She wanted the reader to be an active thinker and participant in her story, and I didn’t feel alone whenever I opened her book. The story and characters just jumped off of the paper, and I had to remind myself as to where I was whenever I was done reading. I am excited that this novel is only the first in its series, and I plan on reading the other books as they are released. I have been yearning to read a quality darker novel for some time, and The Deadbringer exceeded my expectations.
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