Book Review: The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers
This review is printed in Bull Spec Issue #4, which is the current issue available on newsstands. Why is it you haven’t picked up a copy yet?
Two hundred years ago, the god Morgan was betrayed and slain by his brother god, Amon. Alexander, another brother god, brought Amon to justice, slaying him as well for his murderous deed. Alexander declared himself godking of the Fraterdom, enslaved the remaining members of Amon the Betrayer’s cult, and claims the throne.
Thus sets the tone for the world created by Tim Akers in The Horns of Ruin. Deep resentment runs between the cults living together in the city of Ash, built by Amon himself. In this story, we follow Eva Forge, the last Paladin of Morgan, as she tries to uncover a plot to destroy the last of her cult. As she moves closer and closer to understanding, Eva is forced to adapt to her changing world, or perish right along with her cult.
The fantasy steampunk setting Akers created is beautiful and well-imagined, quickly and easily pulling the reader into the city of Ash. You can almost smell and taste the city, with its rapid train system to its crowded streets. It’s refreshing to see a steampunk story set somewhere other than Victorian Britain, in this case a new and different world, one with technology and magic working together.
Sadly, it took me fifty pages to start to like Eva. Even at the end of the book, despite the first person narrative storytelling, I found I had never connected with her on any level. I never found the female perspective to be convincing. It can be done, but it’s not easy to get into someone’s head, especially if the writer and the main character are of the opposite sex.
Despite this shortcoming, the story is packed with action and doesn’t allow you to grow bored before Eva is off chasing down another lead or looking into another mysterious happening. The plot twists and turns so much that you never really see what’s coming. And while the ending is good, it isn’t entirely clear what happened to Eva—while you suspect something major has happened, you have no concrete evidence to justify that suspicion.
Horns of Ruin is a solid fantasy steampunk tale that will please all fans of the genre, but be prepared to tough through the first fifty or so pages to start getting into the main character. After that, this book is loaded with action and boasts a complex and compelling plot sure to keep the reader turning pages into the small hours of the night.