5 star rating
The Book of the Forsaken
The Game series, Book #1
By Yannis Karatsiorus
ISBN# 978-1477647875
Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Scott

the-book-of-the-forsakenFrom the prologue on The Book of the Forsaken sets you up for an urban fantasy that you’re not likely to forget. Exquisitely written and plotted, this novel engages the reader in a web of deceit and lies, never sure of whom the real main antagonists are. It weaves these webs so deep that even with the authors prodding, you don’t get the immediate “big picture.”

The “puppets” (alternatively called “pawns” – the chief antagonists) and the “players” are the characters involved in “The Game” and are introduced rag-tag with a delightful playfulness and the viewpoints often shift amongst third person and third person or first person omniscient within paragraphs. Karatsiorus seems to enjoy the play of reader response theory, and that’s what immediately caught my interest. The writing is a treat to behold.

The second thing that endeared me to the novel was a unique cast of characters: the black magic wielding Russian assassin Igor, the perpetually drunk Irishman, who can see through others eyes, Cassidy, and the reclusive French teleporter Daniel; all made compelling characters that held my interest throughout the book.  At no point were their actions contrived or out of character. Their individual mannerisms completed the task of building living, breathing, three dimensional characters. Time travel by train sealed the deal.

“The Game” itself, of which you only get glimpses into, permeates the story and revolves around the Forsaken: the trolls, vampires, shapechangers, and other fantastical creatures saved from extinction by folklore. It is played out every 5000 years or so with, so-far, the winners being the secret orders over the Forsaken. It’s this slightly alluded to (and strongly in other places) premise upon the crux of the series will assumedly follow. Coupled with the staples of myth and Tolkien-esque legend, and an underlying conspiracy between mysterious factions, the Order of the Dragon and the Magi, the novel had me hooked. Not to mention the time travelling Occidental Express (I just love time travel in novels).

As a first book in the series, this clearly shows promises of strong sequels. At no point do things feel pushy or rushed, and there is enough of an infrastructure present that you just know the author has planned events for later works. It’s self-sustaining, and stands on its own quite well, providing just enough closure, although there are a few stray ends left open. What would you expect, however, from the first book in a series?

Overall, anyone who enjoys urban fantasy, conspiracy literature (with a twist) or a good solid read that makes you think. The Book of the Forsaken is a definite pick-up for anyone’s reading list. The writing is especially well done and it’s a smooth and slick ride’s reading to the end of the book, leaving hopefully, like me eager to get the second book in The Game.

*OBS would like to thank the author for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*