#Book Review – Merchants of Knowledge and Magic; E. McCorkle

Book review stop! Today I’m delighted to be the host for Merchants of Knowledge and Magic, a fantasy book written by E. McCorkle.

First thing first, let me thank the publisher, Shadow Spark Publishing, for providing me with an e-copy of this book. Much obliged *hat tip* 

MEET THE BOOK

On one of the many planes of the Pentagonal Dominion, priestess Calinthe trades in information, collecting valuable secrets for her demonic employer. Calinthe has a secret of her own: she’s intersex, making her a target for the matriarchal slavers of the Ophidian Plane whose territory she must cross in her search for hidden knowledge. But thanks to her friend Zakuro’s illusions, Calinthe presents as a woman- a comfortable, if furtive, existence in a world determined to bring her to heel.

But when, instead of a mere secret, the priestess uncovers an incalculably powerful artifact, Calinthe finds herself in a high-stakes negotiation with the same matriarchs who sought to enslave her. On the table: Calinthe’s discovery, a charm powerful enough to transform a mortal into a god… against a secret so deadly it could quell all life on every plane of the dominion. If Calinthe plays her cards perfectly, she and Zakuro could escape Ophidia wealthier than either of them ever dreamed possible.

But if she plays them wrong…

…she’ll learn slavery in her pursuers’ hands is a fate far worse than death. 

530 pages
Fantasy
The Pentagonal Dominion series, book #1
Publication date: 08/04/22
Purchase links

Amazon.com

READ MY REVIEW

Cover: Not a fan. It looks too amateurish, and it’s a real shame because it doesn’t do proper justice to the book itself.

Fantasy is not really my to-go genre anymore, you know. I used to love it when I was younger, then I ventured toward different topics and I seldom looked back—people change, tastes change, the works. What I mean to say is, it’s not a grudge about fantasy itself or whatever.

Still, every now and again I happen upon a fantasy that waters my crops, clears my skin, and removes those twenty-odd years from my soul in zero point five. One page in and I’m that girl again, squeeing at world-building or raving about fantastic MCs.

Merchants of Knowledge and Magic is one of those books. The sheer length of it might intimidate people a little, but! Ignore that. Finish reading this review and grab yourself a copy.

First thing first, McCorkle’s writing skills are superb. First POV is hard to handle, as there’s a fine line between action and introspection: too much of the former and you’ll get a book peppered with ‘I, I, I, I’, too much of the latter and you’ll get a book where nothing happens. Treading that line is hard and not for everyone. Kudos to McCorkle for being a natural at it 😀

Good grammar, impeccable world-building, and a great rhythm are nothing without a captivating story, though. Is it dark? Yes. I noticed other reviewers took care of enlightening that detail and yes, some parts aren’t of the cute and cuddly kind—quite the opposite. Still, it doesn’t bother me as much, because the slavery topic is organic to the story. It’s not just there for mere shocking value.

Calinthe, the MC, has a deep inner voice and is characterized in a beautiful way—she’s not afraid to swear too, which is a refreshing take in itself. More often than not, people swear: it’s realism! Indulge in it!

Anyway.

Calinthe paired with Zakuro, whose arc feels like it’s still in the making and therefore reads a little less strong.

Fantasy means dealing with a huge cast of characters, another hard aspect to handle. How do you juggle a lot of them without having them all sound alike? I’ll have to ask McCorkle about her secret because they’re vibrant and easy to tell apart, each with their own voice.

Flaws, hm. If I really have to split hair, I’ll go back to the length of the book. The genre calls for huge stories, but maybe separating them into smaller sections would help attract more readers.

4,5 stars on GR, rounded up to 5.

MEET THE AUTHOR

Erika McCorkle (she/her) is an avid world-builder and consumer of all things fantasy, whether that be books, video games, or anime. She has been developing the Pentagonal Dominion for 22 years and figured it was about damn time to publish her books. She has a Bachelors of Science in Biology and works as a laboratory technician on the graveyard shift at her local blood bank, which qualifies her as a vampire.

She can be found on twitter @Kiraofthewind1 or on her website, www.authormccorkle.com

The purchase link for the book is on my page on SSP’s website:

https://shadowsparkpub.com/erika-mccorkle

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