Roil – Trent Jamieson

Where once there were twelve great cities, now only four remain, and their borders are being threatened by the growing cloud of darkness. The last humans are fighting back with ever more bizarre new machines. But one by one the defences are failing. And the Roil continues to grow.

With the land in turmoil, it’s up to a decadent wastrel, a four thousand year-old man, and a young woman intent on revenge to try to save their city – and the world.

Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: 30th August, 2011

I picked this book up via NetGalley as it sounded like an interesting read. While a little confusing to begin with, it didn’t take long to get a picture of what was going on. The author really does throw you in the deep end, though it is well worth sticking with because even if you feel like you’re playing catch up, it’s an exciting place to be in!

It’s been a long time since I’ve hit upon such a richly imagined world. It was so alien, so new, so fascinating, and so beautifully described. I easily lost myself in it, and look forward to having that opportunity again in the second book in the series.

The Roil – the rolling, hot, massive darkness that seems intent on devouring the whole world – is a character in it’s own right. Populated with scary and intriguing creatures, we learn throughout the book the ways in which is has evolved. I particularly enjoyed the ‘witmoths’, beautifully creepy critters which infest humans to bring them to the Roil’s side.

The other characters are all unique and interesting as well. The heroes of the tale are a drug addicted guy, an Old Man (who is creepy and dangerous), and a young woman who has escaped a fallen city and is intent on getting revenge against the Roil, which took her parents. Initially their story lines are individual, but they all meet up eventually, and find that they are walking the same path. Cadell, the Old Man, in particular is a fantastic character. I really loved learning more about the Old Men, they are so creepy, and horrific in some instances, but definitely working against the Roil.

Wound throughout this are secondary characters with their own back story and motivations – a lot of those political – which add to the depth and richness of the story. It’s a complex world, with a lot going on it it. Over the course of the novel we learn a fair bit about the history of the cities, the Roil, the world and the different groups of people that populate it.

This is a pretty dark book, with lots of unpleasant things happening in it – LOVED it. If I had to say a few negative things it would possibly be that while I enjoyed reading the characters and found them unique, I didn’t really connect with any of them on an emotional level. Also, while you are thrown into action initially, it takes a little while for the story line to really get moving. By the time I hit half way I was well and truly caught up in it, but if it’s not up your alley, you might struggle a little to begin with. I lost track of how far through I was and the end hit me pretty quickly. When I read it, I didn’t realize it was the first book in a series so that came as a bit of a shock – I really can’t wait for the next book to come out so that I can immerse myself in this world again.

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