Book review stop! Today I’m delighted to be the host for A Phantom’s Vengeance, a fantasy novel written by Marco Mizzi.
First thing first, let me thank the author for providing me with an e-copy of this book. Much obliged *hat tip*
MEET THE BOOK
The kingdom of Mesanda is embroiled in civil war...
High Lord Shorid of Malktown has risen against his brother King Marnol, conquering the entire south in less than a year. With armies growing stronger every day, he has now set his sights north, ever closer to Caposia—Mesanda’s capital and the king’s home city. For now, Marnol can breathe relief after his army manages to defeat an enemy force in the northwest.
Danio, a soldier in the king’s army, has survived the battle and is now returning home: to Caposia, to his wife and daughter. However, a fate worse than falling in battle awaits him within the safety of the capital, as he inadvertently stumbles upon a treasonous plan leading to deceit, danger, tragedy, and—ultimately—a quest for vengeance.
Publication date: 25/11/21
READ MY REVIEW
Cover: I’m in two minds about it. I mean, I like it, but it also reminds me of Assassin’s Creed. It’s a bit of a shame, because I think Mizzi’s work deserves its own brand.
Fantasy can be tricky. It’s hard to pull it off, and it’s hard to pull it off well—well enough to keep the reader engrossed in it and willing to come back for more.
A Phantom’s Vengeance, Mizzi’s debut, hits all the high notes of the genre: a troubled and wronged MC, tragedy striking, a quest for vengeance, and the beginning of a saga. It’s classic fantasy through and through, and the story itself follows the classic book structure to a T (I checked XD).
This is a slow-paced book, full of descriptions—again, it’s genre-appropriate—and fighting scenes, with a pleasant rhythm and a nice flow for most of the story. The MC, Danio, is well-crafted, and it’s easy to empathize with him right from the start. The supporting cast of characters is as big as I expected it to be, but everyone has their unique voice, with a pretty defined distinction between the good guys and the bad guys. Here I’ll admit I would have loved some shades of gray, but I know it’s not an easy feat to handle so many characters, and Mizzi did it in a graceful way.
What I like the most, however, is how Danio’s first issue gets solved before the middle point rather than being dragged until the end. That’s a nice spin, one I didn’t foresee, so bravo! Mizzi’s writing style is clean and engaging; he might need a little polishing here and there, but it still takes natural talent to write a debut as good as this one.
In the Nay section, there are only a few comments I want to make. Other than a few grammar imperfections and a couple of tiny POV switching, some parts could have been tightened up. The story would have not suffered in the slightest, and it would have improved the flow.
All in all, A Phantom’s Vengeance gets 4 stars, and I’m interested in reading the next installments 😀
MEET THE AUTHOR
Marco Mizzi was born in Malta, a small (316 km²!) island nation in southern Europe.
At an early age, he became fascinated with swords and magic, mainly due to video games like Dungeon Master, Golden Axe, and Eye of the Beholder. Prolonged no-video-games-punishments led him to reading.
Then, in 1996, his father introduced him to A Game of Thrones.
Marco instantly fell in love with fantasy fiction, gradually leaning towards Grimdark as the years went by. However, his relationship with printed words never ventured beyond absorbing them. That changed in 2017. Marco decided to write a book to his then-fiancée Kelcy as a wedding gift—a story about their own story set in a fictional medieval world with characters brazenly based upon themselves, family members, and friends. Fast-forward to after the wedding and Kelcy—a qualified EFL teacher—wanted to know who had written the book.
A month later, Marco started his work on A Phantom’;s Vengeance, a stand-alone book at the time.
Having a full-time job, the hours were very limited and progress was slow. The birth of their daughter Alena two years later strained what little time he put aside for writing, but after four years, A Phantom’s Vengeance was finally finished; the first book of a planned trilogy (War of the Unborn) and set to release in late 2021.
Marco works as a software developer and resides in the small seaside town of Birżebbuga together with his wife, daughter, and a chunky British Shorthair cat called Rocco.
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