BOOK REVIEW: OLD MAN’S GHOSTS / AUTHOR: TOM LLOYD / PUBLISHER: GOLLANCZ / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Old Man’s Ghosts is the second in Tom Lloyd’s Empire of a Hundred Houses series, but there’s a recap of previous book Moon’s Artifice so it doesn’t matter if you’re coming to the franchise blind.
The mark of modern fantasy fiction is a more stripped back approach to writing, and Lloyd embodies that doctrine to an impressive fine-tuned degree. The rich prose is precise and well calibrated, but it doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself from the crowd. Indeed, at times it feels like you’re reading fellow brit Joe Abercrombie. But the considered world-building more than makes up for it. Lloyd demonstrates a beautiful vocabulary he’s keen to show off and a forensic understanding of grammar that culminates in a tightly tuned, intelligent novel.
The constant reminders to characters’ black skin does disrupt the immersion and smacks of larger problem in describing characters without resorting to tired clichés to an audience that assumes every character is white. Nevertheless, the attention to clothing and the functionality of the world he’s weaved is impressive and it practically flies off the page.
A strong, confident effort from Lloyd, who is surely set to dominate the genre with an opulent, tangible world, captivating readers’ imaginations. It’s even worth reading for the wonderfully inventive exclamations and cuss words alone.
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