Book Review - DEMON'S REIGN by David Estes & Ben Galley

(Title: Demon's Reign / Author: David Estes & Ben Galley / Publisher: Wraithmarked Creative / Publication Date: October 25, 2022 / Total Pages: 642)

Back Cover Blurb
Tarkosi Terelta is a nobody. A nobody who will save his world from demons and the hellfire they bring.

The third-born of a shamed family, Tarkosi's lot in life is to spend his days as a worker, feeding temperamental lancewings under a harsh master. His days in the bloodwood city of Shal Gara are full of drudgery, tedium, and pain, his own ambitions cast aside in the name of order.

That is until demons from a broken world invade the forest realm of The Swathe, and an accident born of violence and dark magic intertwines Tarkosi's fate with the greatest among them.

Forced onto the frontlines of a war forgotten by history, Tarkosi must balance battling the royal demon bound to him with the rapid progression of the magical abilities its presence has bestowed. Risking everything, he will need to tread a thin line between hero and heretic to keep Shal Gara from falling into ruin and chaos. 

Both David Estes and Ben Galley have written some of my all-time favorite fantasy stories. Estes' Fatemarked series blew me away when I read it a couple of years ago and likewise, Galley's Chasing Graves trilogy and his Scalussen Chronicles are two that I think every fantasy lover should read immediately if they haven't yet. So when I saw some promotional tweets announcing that the two had just collaborated on a new book/series?!!! Well, let's just say I couldn't pick this one up fast enough and was really eager to get started on my journey into the Bloodwood.

The first thing that struck me right away was the map - a giant tree that is labelled showing each branch being a different part of the city of Shal Gara. Yes, you heard me right, an entire city - IN A TREE. A huge tree mind you, so huge in fact that some branches are hundreds of feet wide and can house temples. So that in itself struck me as a completely fresh and different approach to worldbuilding that I had a feeling would result in endless possibilities for where this story could possibly go. And I was right.

This book felt like a whirlwind adventure from the very opening pages and it didn't really let up at all throughout. That's extremely rare for a doorstopper that tops out at 600+ pages but honestly, it felt like the story just flew by because of the unbelievable action sequences that Estes and Galley so brilliantly and skillfully convey. In a book this size you would expect some lulls but there really isn't a lot of standing around and long winded dialogue here. And yet there's enough to get a firm grasp on each character so even though this is a breakneck story with a lot of action, the characterization doesn't suffer at all in my opinion. 

As with any Galley and Estes book, the magic is particularly top notch and of the dark variety. You can tell that the authors made it a priority to come up with a magic system that is both bold and takes chances but also fits within the world seamlessly and with the characters who wield it. And who doesn't love a fantasy book where vile demons run amok causing havoc and destruction in their wake?

This is a seriously fun book if you claim to enjoy fantasy that stretches boundaries and doesn't fit into the usual mold. I love what the authors have done here and this is some of the most unique stuff I've read in fantasy in a long time. Everything about this book made me smile widely because it shows you that there are no rules in fantasy and that you don't have to stick to the same old formulas to weave some amazing storytelling at the highest level. To say this book is entertaining would be like saying the Grand Canyon is just a hole in the ground. It goes way beyond that into the extraordinary and I was so delighted that I got a chance to experience DEMON'S REIGN in all its glory. Now my only problem is that I need the next book in the Bloodwood Saga! Hopefully it won't be too long of a wait because this one just served to whet my appetite for the larger adventure to come.



Contact Form


Email *

Message *