Review: Warrior Prime by Victor Gischler

As culturally valuable to the fantasy genre as works like Lord of the Rings are, it is refreshing to absorb oneself into the pages of a fresh adventure that goes beyond the archetypical sword and sorcery. Surely readers adhere to the popular tomes of magic in faraway places, but sometimes we need our stabby fireball flinging stories to be more than just a quest of atonement or fulfilling a prophetic destiny. Sometimes, we just want compelling characters to entertain us with a good story.

Available in print, audio, and eBook, Warrior Prime: Ink Mage Legacy from 47North is the latest book from Victor Gischler set in the same realm as his earlier Fire Beneath the Skin trilogy, all of which were reviewed here at Amazing Stories. The series includes Ink Mage, Tattooed Duchess, and A Painted Goddess. Don’t fret if you haven’t read any of these yet. Other than a handful of returning landscapes and characters, the story is stand alone and easy to jump right in. But keep int mind, the other books are just as fun and highly recommended if you enjoy this latest edition.

Close friend of the king, Peyne Erlich finds himself on a return mission as envoy to report an increased involvement of ink mages in a neighboring kingdom that could tip the balance of power. With a penchant for beautiful women, strong alcohol, and a full purse, his focus may not always be on the task at hand. Sold into slavery by an impoverished father, the young girl Zayda Yond is thrust into the magical world of ink mages. Tattooed with artwork that gives her extraordinary powers, the enchanted collar around her neck is the only thing preventing her freedom. Maurizan is a stunning mystery with powerful tattoos of her own. When their worlds meet, the kingdom will never be the same.

Gischler’s storytelling excels with simplistic characters burdened by realistic flaws and throwing them into unthinkable situations as we watch them evolve. When the hero role falls on a number of compelling characters and the face of the villain can change with the turn of the page, the story is no longer a singular quest typically found in modern fantasy. This story is about a collective of journeys and the continuously changing priorities of the players.

Victor Gischler is noted for works in noir crime, science fiction, horror, and a long list of successful comics. Even though his recent thriller No Good Deed my not have ended up on the radar of some Amazing Stories readers, it is yet another example that the guy can write in any arena. For those unfamiliar with the author, Warrior Prime: Ink Mage Legacy is a stellar jumping in point. And for those who are already familiar? Well, you probably already have the book.

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