“Keep your blade sharp, but your wit sharper.”
– Proverb of the Freeblades Guild
The Blighted City is a dark epic fantasy novel with a sprinkling of character humour and a splash of horror mixed with adventure and drama, set in a richly-detailed secondary world. It is an entrant in SPFBO 4 (2018), and has been endorsed by Tom Lloyd, Gollancz author of the Twilight Reign series. The book is aimed at adults and is also suitable for mature teens who are looking for a more adult-oriented read. The Blighted City is a standalone story and also the first full-length entry in the Fractured Tapestry series.
Excerpt of review by Josh Mauthe: Fans of Joe Abercrombie and George R.R. Martin will find a lot to love here. If you like those, give this a read. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in the least.
Excerpt of review by Electa Graham: Never have I read a book that had everything I love about reading all in one book in such perfect measure. It has a vivid world fleshed out so by the end you know it as well as your own. The characters are three dimensional and vivid. Their relationship with each other makes you want to be a part of their circle. The dialogue will have you laughing one minute and crying the next. The descriptions and carefully crafted scenes put you right in the middle of the action. This epic fantasy, adds a dash of comedy and a splash of horror and mixes together to form a book you can’t put down until the very last page.
Excerpt of review by Elizabeth Frenette: I cannot overstate how much I enjoyed this novel. It is an absolutely stunning read and not to be missed by lovers of epic fantasy. I will be shocked if this doesn’t gain recognition as a classic in the genre. The world was vividly brought to life by the author – and it’s a very interesting place to be! The characters are three-dimensional, each having strengths and weaknesses. The scenery – geography, architecture, and culture – are all fleshed out enough that the language and setting are clear to the reader, without being intrusively described. I found the female characters to be especially noteworthy in their strength and intellect. They don’t define themselves by the men in their lives. I think they set a wonderful example and yet, they come across in the author’s writing so naturally – they don’t read as though it was a struggle to write them. For me, the level of craftsmanship on display in this novel (realism, attention to detail, extremely well-drawn characters) puts Scott Kaelen on par with some of the great fantasy writers including: Andre Norton, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and George R R Martin.
Excerpt of review by Nick T. Borrelli: Upon reading the opening chapters of THE BLIGHTED CITY, I made the remark on Goodreads that it reminded me a lot of one of my favorite dark Fantasy books of all-time, The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells. The shadowy atmosphere and the whole thievery angle were very reminiscent of the feel of that wonderful book. I stand by that assertion now that I have finished Scott Kaelen’s book and I add to it that while bearing similarities, THE BLIGHTED CITY stands on its own when it comes to an exceptional Fantasy read. One of the things that I loved about the book was the city of Lachyla and the mysterious history of its cursed past. I am an absolute sucker for a great and multi-layered history when it comes to the stories that I enjoy. When an author takes the time to build a solid history, I believe that it adds so much depth and mystery that just make it a joy to read. Scott Kaelen has accomplished that tenfold with THE BLIGHTED CITY. Another aspect that I thought made this a compelling read were the characters and how they interacted with each other. This is a book that has spurts of action and then significant lulls. If put into the hands of a less adroit author, the lulls could lead to moments of boredom. That is never the case with this book and that is completely due to the characters and how they spend those down moments. The dialogue is crisp, the personalities are unique and bold, and the way that they behave faced with the most inexplicably horrific creatures hunting them is an amazing thing to behold. This book had virtually every box checked off that I love in a great Dark Fantasy read. The mystery of the city is always present in the story, making the reader yearn to find out more about it. Scott also ratchets up the tension quite a bit and where the story really excels is in the development of the story itself and the characters that make it a truly wonderful book to read. If you are looking for a really good book that has creepy undead antagonists, heroic protagonists, and world-building that is of the highest quality, I recommend Scott Kaelen’s THE BLIGHTED CITY without reservation.
To challenge the gods is to invite their wrath. So it is written of Lachyla, the Blighted City, in the Codex of the Ages. But who reads codices? And who really believes the tall stories of the Taleweavers?
Dagra does. If it’s a story about the gods – even a dead god – he believes every word. When his sellsword team is offered a contract to cross the Deadlands and find a burial jewel in the crypts of the Blighted City, Dagra wants no part of it. His companions are undaunted by the legend; to them, the blurred divide between the living and the dead is superstitious nonsense. Completing the contract would earn their guild’s failing reputation a much-needed boost and secure them the bounty of a lifetime. They’re going, with or without him. Torn between the convictions of his beliefs and the importance of his friendships, Dagra reluctantly journeys into the godless region in search of the fabled city. But the Deadlands are only the first challenge.
The sellswords uncover an age-old deception when they learn that Lachyla’s foul seed is much darker than its legend, that its truth must forever remain untold or risk plunging humanity into an eternal nightmare. Snagged on the barbs of the blight, Dagra faces the toughest choice of his life … and of his death.
Notable Book Blogger Reviews of The Blighted City
And now here’s an otherwise unpublished poem. 🙂
Paragon of Pointless Poetry
I’m fully aware with these first words
as I prepare to pen this tasteless trash,
that, just like a waterfall of turds,
this poem will close with a calamitous crash.
While pointlessly penning each new component
of this clearly nonsensical mountain of sludge,
collected in verse with no hope of atonement,
I can quite understand why you might hold a grudge.
There isn’t a single redeeming feature,
except perhaps an element of rhyme.
I can only hope you forgive this foul creature
for completely and utterly wasting your time.
It might have been wise to bring an umbrella,
to shield yourself from this shower of vomit.
Just count yourself lucky it’s not a novella
hurtling to Earth like a brown-tailed comet.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Kaelen