Book Review: The Copper Promise by Jen Williams
Series: Stand Alone (Collects 4 parts)
Publisher: Headline (February 13, 2014)
Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Copper Promise came out earlier this year in its full entirety from Headline Books, but with nary a US release date in sight. Argh, doesn’t that just drive you insane?! I kept my eyes and ears open for any news. And waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I needed this book in my life. Being on the wrong side of the ocean be damned, I just went ahead and ordered my copy from the Book Depository. From there, this oh so gorgeous book found its way into my hands at last.
Was it worth it? You betcha! I craved for this book so hard because I thought it sounded amazing. And as it happens, it contains a lot of things I like. We’re talking classic quest narrative here. And don’t forget mages, knights, and sellswords. Hey, there are even pirates! Oh, and did I mention the dragon? Not just any old dragon either, but a dragon god of destruction. Unleashed after an eternity spent imprisoned in the dark depths of the Citadel, now all she wants to do is tear the world asunder.
Enter an unlikely group of heroes who may be the world’s last hope. Unique and intriguing, the characters are what made this book so awesome. We have Lord Frith, jaded and broken, thirsting for revenge after witnessing his whole family killed by usurpers who then nearly tortured him to death for the secret location of his treasure vault. Then we have Sebastian, the exiled knight whose only crime was falling in love with another man. And last but not least, we have Wydrin, the cheeky mercenary who calls herself The Copper Cat. She’s great — and has a scary obsession with sharp blades too, I might add.
I enjoyed how naturally the character relationships seemed to flow with the story. Each person had to overcome their own individual challenges at some point before coming back together again to resolve the final conflict, but this was done so artfully that their separations and reunions always felt so right. Somehow, characters were exactly where they needed to be, but always in a way that made a lot of sense and didn’t feel forced. Even with the complex relationships and switching between perspectives, I still felt a closeness with each character and this made their interactions easy and entertaining to follow.
The novel’s format had a lot to do with this. I was glad I knew something about it before heading into the book. The Copper Promise is actually a collection of four serialized novellas – Ghost of theCitadel, Children of the Fog, Prince of Wounds, and Upon the Ashen Blade. Together they form the overall story arc, every section being a part of the whole. In spite of this, I also noticed that each part had its own dramatic structure – a main conflict, rising action, etc. So in a way, it’s a bit like getting four exciting climaxes in a single book! But even with the almost seamless transition between the parts, if I hadn’t known about the serialized format I imagine reading all four of them together would feel like a pretty uneven ride with lots of ups and downs. It also gives the book that “pulpy” feel. I was prepared, so it probably wasn’t as distracting for me.
More importantly, the four parts come together remarkably well, showing us the bigger picture. It’s true that they work as smaller narratives by themselves, but believe me, it’s a lot more rewarding when viewed it as a whole. Grab this book to have them all together, and enjoy it all at once. I know I certainly had a good time doing so.
Great book. Simply good old-fashioned adventurous fun, with just a touch of grit. Sound yummy? Then you should definitely check it out too.