Title: The Maleficent Seven.
Writer(s): Cameron Johnston.
Publisher: Angry Robot.
Release Date: August 10th 2021.
My Overall Rating:
How does one reconcile with someone after being betrayed? Can their common interests pave the way towards solidarity? Can they allow themselves to forgive one another, move forward, and attain their deepest desires through an unwarranted alliance? Maybe. Only if their most sinister intentions can be kept at bay. Unfortunately, this crew is filled with the most hateful and maleficent bunch who clearly won’t mind back-stabbing others to get what they want. However, their unison could also lead them to save the world and mend their reputation once and for all. In his latest stand-alone dark fantasy novel, author Cameron Johnston (Age of Tyranny) delivers a flamboyant and riveting adventure with an unlikely crew off to do the unthinkable.
What is The Maleficent Seven about? 40 years ago, Black Herran, a feared and terrifying demonologist captained a team of seven fearsome warriors: Maeven (a necromancer), Lorrimer Felle (a vampire lord), Tiarnach (a demigod), Amogg (an orcish warleader), Verena Awildan (a pirate queen), and Jerak Hyden (a twisted alchemist). Together, they went on to conquer countless continents within Essoran. However, on the day they were ready to proclaim complete dominion over the world, Black Herran jumped ship. Today, she looks to rally her former captains back together for another conquest to take place in the small town of Tarnbrooke in hopes to put an end to the growing strengths and victories of the Lucent Empire. Unfortunately for her, the task is far more complex than it ever was as the members, soured by their past experience, find themselves unable to trust a soul.
“Humans are strange beasts. Always using too many words meaning same thing.”— Cameron Johnston
Focused first on speeding through the world to find each member in their natural habitat, now accustomed to treachery, deception, and manipulation, the story then shifts its attention to the promised bloodshed. Despite its breakneck pace, inevitably cutting away at the journey and the time to bond along the way, writer Cameron Johnston nevertheless does a fantastic job in highlighting the most singular and exciting traits of his quirky band. Through snappy dialogues, witty comebacks, and a colourful prose full of baffling insults, he offers an entertaining journey where every little interaction highlights his characters’ most identifying traits and hints at their most sinful desires. Without sending these monsters on a quest to change themselves for the better, this adventure focuses on drawing out the best (or worse) of their being in an attempt to do something that might seem good on the surface but hides far more than they dare share.
With such a thrilling plot, delivered at an unquestionably fast pace, it had to suffer in terms of world-building. The upside is that writer Cameron Johnston delivers an incredibly diverse world that features classic villainous creatures. While he doesn’t delve deeper than necessary into their history, he allows their interactions to establish a dynamic and entertaining atmosphere that will fully satisfy readers as they follow the group’s formation and vicariously enjoy their bloody skirmishes. If there’s anything rewarding, it’s the fascinating execution of action sequences and the grim banter between the crew members. Although there isn’t much time offered to appreciate the setting, the fun essentially comes from the chaotic, rapid-fire, and unfiltered energy emitted from this crew.
The Maleficent Seven is an exciting, action-packed, and gruesome adventure following an unusual evil bunch in one last epic crusade.