They came by night. We couldn't stop them. Io burned.
It is the 107th year of the Fourth Age. Our conquerors, the Demonic Dominion, have solidified their rule over our homeland. The Humans are in shackles. The Elves are in exile. And we, Io's proud Majiski battle-mages, are standing at extinction's edge. The mighty Grey Wall has sealed us all inside the Demons' cruelty…and after a hundred long years, the world beyond is all but forgotten.
The Genshwin are all that remain of the Majiski: just a few hundred survivors sequestered in an underground fortress—masters of shadow and steel. In secret, they work against the Dominion. But how much can three hundred Majiski really expect to accomplish? Especially when their Patriarch is keeping more secrets than the Demons themselves.
Racath Thanjel is the best the Genshwin have to offer. He’s young, fast, strong, and brilliant…and constantly at odds with his Patriarch’s rules of discretion.
But something's changed. Soon, Racath finds himself swept up into a spider web of conspiracies, lost knowledge, and the prophetic pages of ancient scripture. And now, all his hopes depend upon a girl with golden hair, an aging Majiski warrior, and a sword wrought by God Himself.
S.G. Night has had stories growing in his head since birth. He began the final version of "Attrition" at the age of 14, and finished shortly before turning 18. He's a storyteller, a cynic, and a libertarian - he does things his own way. A sucker for puppies and English musicals about French people, Night enjoys the winter, writing before the break of day, and the company of fire.
I have to admit, I was a little intimidated beginning this book. It's written by an 18-year-old, which makes you wonder about how well it will be written. It's a thick book with small type. No one is reading this in one sitting, unless you don't sleep. Whenever you pick up a new author, there's always the chance that it'll be terrible and you'll have to force yourself through to the end. In this case, 582 pages. To recap, I was nervous. This book is large and written by a 'kid'.
I'm an idiot!
From the first page I was covered in goose bumps. This so-called 'kid' isn't merely a writer, he's a wordsmith. I don't say this often, but Night was born to write. It's that simple. This book was pure perfection.
Night has created an entire new world with new races of people. He has taken old classic 'monsters' and given them new life. What could have been a droning, dull, confusing tale is actually a masterpiece. You find yourself immediately immersed in this world and it's surrounding peoples and it's painless! You don't have to think and process, you just exist there. Each character becomes a piece of you at the moment of introduction. You become immediately invested in not only each one, but their plight as well.
The action! Adventure! I could see it all so clearly in my head! The funny thing is, this wasn't as simple as reading a story and getting involved. At least, not for me. This has become a memory. I was there. I remember the sights, the smells, the tones of voice for each moment. Feelings and emotions still pulsate with each memory.
Earlier, I stated that Night is a wordsmith, and I want it known that I'm not exaggerating. "Small sparks and static flitting between his upraised fingers. The arcs were white, pale and bright. They crackled and snapped, twisted, writhed, like a cosmic song and dance." A few short sentences paints such a vivid and bright picture in your head. You can actually see it. Not only that, it just sounds pretty. It's poetry.
This book is intended for the young adult, but I can't imagine any adult not loving this. If fantasy and sci-fi seem a little overdone to you, seriously, give Night a shot. He's taken classics and reworked them into brilliance. I'f you're an action junkie, this book will surely deliver. The drama, the passion, the magic. If you're entertainment budget only allows for one book this year, make it this one. It's going on the top shelf of my Keeper Shelf along with my favorite classics.
I was spellbound from the first page; absolutely spellbound with the depth of each sentence and the creative genius that brought to life an entire world, from its magic to its demons to the humans caught in the middle of the war between good and evil. Attrition: the First Act of Penance by S. G. Night is probably one of the most fascinating dark fantasies I have ever read! The Demonic Dominion has taken over the world. Under their harsh rule, most humans have become meek slaves to evil, barely existing, the will to fight back is gone. The few humans who have made a truce of sorts with the demons have become traitors to humanity, all in the name of greed. Only one magical race of beings could dare stand and battle against the Dominion, and they are a dying breed. The Majiski, mage warriors were slaughtered enmasse when the Dominion took over, betrayed by those they protected. The few who remained stayed in the shadows, acting as assassins and spies. One such warrior became the driving force to take back the world and drive the demons out. Racath Thanjel saw injustice and fought to give others the strength and will to fight for themselves. His story is being told and recorded in almost hushed tones, long after the battles were over, the deceits uncovered, the traitors revealed.
S. G. Night has truly dazzled me with his epic tale. This is fantasy, dark and foreboding. S. G. Night’s ability to paint each scene with such clarity and precision allowed me to envision every detail, playing in 3D in my mind, using all of my senses. His villains are unquestionably the dregs of the earth, their acts are horrific, graphic and brutal. His heroes are larger than life, the stuff legends are made of, full of heart, able to swallow fear and do what needs to be done. As far as the main character, Racath, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a better depiction of that over-the-top kind of champion, because I saw his weakness, his strength, his heart and what he wanted for the world.
Attrition: the First Act of Penance is NOT light reading, it is intense, this isn’t an imitation of a different world, Mr. Night started with a blank page and built his world from the ground up, even naming his own days on a calendar he devised. The money system? Same thing. Even the games, although sounding totally familiar, are re-born with new names! Epic is a word I rarely use, but it is the best one to describe this book, and what should prove to be an “epic” series.
If you’ve ever considered looking into dark fantasy, and asked me what I would recommend, this would be it! I WILL definitely read more from this author, so he better be writing fast!
I was fortunate to receive a review copy from S. G. Night and for that, I thank him for sharing this with me!
G.S. Night, Wow! Such a young writer to achieve and express so much in his first published book. At times reading this work I was blown away at some of the depth, experience, and the wisdom the author possessed. There is so much that appealed to me, assassins, magic, teamwork, strategy, relationships, development, valor, retribution, mammoth tasks, etc. The author created an incredible word where his story takes place. G.S. Night has a wonderful flair with words that became quite obvious as I started the book. I was pretty impressed. There was a lot for me to like about the book and a few minor things that I stumbled on as I read across them. Some of the dialog and character interaction was a little adolescent at times. I was hoping for Racath to become a little more humble as he matured in his arts. I assumed the author might have done this on purpose to remind us of the hero’s ‘s age, his burden, and the pressure he is under. A few times Racath replied in a way that I was surprised; he came across one-dimensional. There were a few typos/ edits, a minor issue. That’s it. After those few minor mentions, the majority of the book was very good. I am looking forward to his next two follow up books in the series. G.S. Night is a wonder and I really look forward to his future works.
This book, one of three in the series, is THE best book I've ever read and I cannot wait for the other two. Night's style allows the reader to see, through Sacarri's eyes, Racath's journey to become the Savior Io needs. Attrition is separated into three parts within the novel. The placing of these and the chapter breaks flow so perfectly, I'd hardly noticed another chapter had started. Every single character is so real, you can literally feel their laughter and warmth through the cold, Ioan rain. Every word attributes to Night's brilliance and the perfect diction to set the mood. Night's knack for storytelling is peerless. It is through third person the story is told, and yet we see the story through the individual. You can feel how they are feeling, know their thoughts, understand their pains. Night has taken care to learn his characters in full and transferring this knowledge to his readers. The combination of the past, present, and future events of this plot help the reader to understand the characters and how they will react.
I'd been looking forward to reading this for sometime. In fact, ever since I came into contact with S.G. back in June. To say it was worth the wait is a huge understatement.
I recommended this book to a friend and told them it was the best book I'd read in the past 5 years. At that point I'd actually only read the first 10%. But already I knew. Now upon finishing the epic fantasy novel, I'm racking my brains to think of a better book I've read...ever. The world building is so effortless, the characters so deep and the story pleasantly original.
Big things are ahead for S.G. Night, this is truly a debut novel to be proud of. If the Second Act of Penance tops this, they really are going to need to allow me to give it 6 stars!
"Attrition: The First Act of Penance" is a heart-stopping, gut-wrenching story that will leave you on the edge of your seat after every chapter. The story line is beautifully crafted with impeccable characterization and refreshing style. Night has a remarkable talent far beyond his years. You don't want to miss out on this amazing book!
Fans of Brent Weeks and assassins in general could do a lot worse than to pick this work up. I highlight Weeks in particular because he was also very young when he wrote his first book. We'll get to that later though.
Attrition is a recollection of a scholar/chronicler about the legendary Racath Thanjel and begins in vaguely Name of the Wind fashion. A biography of his fame as narrated by another.
Majiski are a near-extinct race, and Majiski assassins are a most dangerous kind of breed. They hide in the shadows of an all-powerful Dominion in the hope of one day covertly bringing it down.
Sounds great so far, doesn't it? So why only three stars?
It's not the occasional glaring typo, it's not the world-building or the prose, which are both excellent. It comes down to the characters and the dialogue.
While it's unknown whether it was intentional or not, Night has produced Joss Whedon style characters. The quirky humorous sort that quite frankly seem completely out of place in the world they inhabit. The dialogue repeatedly attempts to reinforce the endearing banter between the characters, and while it might work for a television series or a video game, it struggles here.
Therein lies the problem with the action sequences too. When I read Robert E. Howard I feel like I'm tearing the enemies apart with my own hands. When I read S.G. Night, I feel like I'm in some elaborate set piece from a Ubisoft title. This isn't a bad thing as such, as it's all competently written. It just felt out of place.
While fantasy is meant to take a reader out of the world around him, Night tries to have both the gritty world of his contemporaries and the light-hearted humour of superheroes as they take on the baddies. His attempt to have his cake and eat it is jarring and takes me out of the story and the stakes involved.
Now to address the elephant in the room: S.G. Night wrote this when he was seventeen, as has been repeatedly mentioned by almost every review of the work. Unfortunately for Night, age can excuse the flaws in this work, but it cannot erase them. When compared to the works of the relatively elder statesmen that populate the fantasy world, this doesn't quite hold up.
On the plus side, Night continues to write. His Inspector Vego mystery shows a maturity that parts of Attrition lacked, and you wouldn't bet against the man becoming something special as he continues to learn his craft.
Attrition is definitely worth a look, so long as it is viewed through eyes that acknowledge the prodigious youth that wrote it.
This is probably of my favorite books of all time. The detail of the book is so deep, and the imagery created by SG Night makes you feel like you're in Talkrilia. In every single chapter, there is something incredible to look forward to, whether it be a fight or mind-blowing information about the plot. The chemistry of the characters in the book is something else in itself. The way that SG Night makes you connect to his characters just adds so much more to the book. You can really sympathize with them and step into their shoes. SG Night does a fabulous job making the world come to life, but more importantly, he knows how to catch your attention. Recommended to all people who enjoy a good read!
This has become one of my all-time favorite books! SG Night does an excellent job of relating Racath Thanjel's epic tale--the plot is riveting, and there is a perfect blend of action, background, and plot development. Each scene flows perfectly to the next, and the end of each chapter leaves you excited to turn the page. The characters are fabulously developed, and I found myself very attached to all of them by the book's end (I love you Notak!!). This novel definitely paves the way for an excellent career for young Mr. Night (just 18 years old?? How awesome is that??), and I am currently counting down the days for the next "Penance" novel.
Don't hesitate to pick up a copy - money well spent.
This book gave me chills. It all felt so real. On my long metro commutes into work, tired as I was from getting up early, I would still be happy to be awake because I had this book with me. Sometimes I wanted to miss my stop just so I could keep reading. On other days I would walk down the street towards the office still reading, or keep reading it in the elevator up to my floor, or while my computer booted up at my desk. I walked into things more than once because I simply couldn't put it down.
I am an avid fantasy reader and I can honestly say I haven't read a book this gripping in months, if not years. SG Night will be one of the great authors of this genre. I am so impressed that he is only 18. I hope he has many, many more stories to tell.
This book was SO SUPER AWESOME. I fell in love with the writing (it was perfect!) and the characters. The plot was typical but interesting. It was long, but it held my attention and was easy to get engrossed in. The descriptions and settings were wonderfully done. It was a bit lacking in romance, but that could change with the rest of the series. Would I read more by this author? Definitely! I will indeed. Would I recommend this book to others? I have already done so, and will continue to recommend it to anyone I see!
Great story! A war between good and evil played out in a dark fantasy universe with great depth and history. With main characters that you can't help but root for.
Couple of slight niggles for me: I thought the last fight sequence was a bit too predictable and there was the use of too many unconventional words. The latter wasn't always required and got me checking my dictionary a bit more then I wanted to - grateful to my kindle's built in dictionary! That being said, these are minor points as it's generally a great read!
An incredibly well written story that sucks you in quickly. Night's detailed descriptions make you feel as if you are a part of the story. The world he has created is masterfully formed. Each character is so well formed, I grew attached to them very early on. I am hanging on the edge waiting for the next book to come out.
An excellent story. The characters were believable. I look forward to the other two acts of penance. The editors need to work better @ finding and fixing grammatical and spelling errors, nitpicking, I know.
Starting out this book, I'm not gonna lie, was a bit difficult. The wording was very... flowery. I don't mind flowery writing, but it was more the fact that the author wrote as if I already knew what was going on. But it only took me the first few chapters to get a grip on the story and Racath's character, which is absolutely fantastic by the way. I loved the progression of the story, and the way you incorporated the narrator of the story. (VERY clever on your part Night! ;] ) The chemistry between your characters was great, and I liked that the characters actually acted their age in certain situations. remembering that the main character is only 19 years old can be difficult (take it from a fellow writer) and putting in situations where he actually acts like a teenager is important, which is exactly what you did. But that doesn't go without saying that Racath and Co. were total beasts at certain points! I'm not afraid to admit that is stayed up late multiple nights telling myself, "Just one more chapter..."
Now that being said, I feel that at certain occasions... the book might have been a bit TOO wordy. Too many adjectives, or just too many words in general... (Begin the eye roll because I'm writing a review on a BOOK) It didn't happen often, but a few times I felt as if the descriptions and sentences dragged on a bit. That was in though. That was the only thing I felt I needed to comment on. Over all I seriously enjoyed reading this book and will most definitely be reading it again in the future. Thanks for the great read! I await the next book fauling eagerly!
A fresh, finely-crafted fantasy with an excellent balance of character, action, and drama. Night brings a stunning, original world to life, chalk-full of history and fascinating lore. Combine with a cast of memorable characters and a gripping plot, it makes for one hell of a debut, and a promising outlook for this 18-year-old author's career. You'll be hooked before you know it, and desperate for more by the end.
Attrition by S.G. Night was a meaty (epic) read so I will break my review up into several sections. I don't normally do this because most books can be reviewed easily in one or two short paragraphs--Attrition can't. First of all, my rating is a solid five stars. Second, I'm replacing my old, tattered copy of Lord of The Rings with this book. Sacrilege, I know, but once you read this book, you will probably agree with me.
S.G. Night finished his draft of Attrition when he was 17 years young. No big deal unless you delve into the masterful character development in the book. Each individual is fully realized and fleshed out in a manner not usually observed in books written by adults let alone teenagers. Night has an immeasurable understanding of human beings (and other unworldly creatures) and the deplorable reasons and needs that drive them. He follows his merry band of Majiski/Elf assasins from present back through to their earliest history with careful forethought for how history can change certain aspects of a race but not their overall essence. I absolutely do not do spoilers but I do want to point out that Night isn't afraid to explore shades of gray--can a man/being be bad yet have the ability to become good? Can the kind-hearted become corrupt? Why? How?
Night's world building abilities are also nothing to sneeze at. Complete with map in the front of the book, Night has not only fully developed the world of Attrition but he also talks about its inception. The reader is shown the development of this world, Talkrilia, from 'formless fragments' into a home for Gospodar and Mother Talk'Ra's beloved children through their version of the Bible--Taj Libris Io. This section was my favorite part because Night waves his hands and magic happens. Two beings love each other, create their children, make a world for these children and then teach them LOSS through death. What their creations do with death is the catalyst for this story.
Night has the entire history of Talkrilia down, from war to peace to war again. Unlike many rambling fantasy tales that waste many a chapter rhapsodizing over the mountains and streams, however, the reader is fed manageable bits and pieces of Io's history in between bouts of exciting action and adventure. Starting with a prologue with a poetic teaser of the tragedies contained herein, Night offers crumbs and clues throughout until the reader is finally given the whole picture of how far the mighty have fallen.
With brilliant writing and insight and creativity, I believe that this would have to be my favorite read of 2013.
I think it's one of the best books I've read in my entire life. To think it was written by an 18 year old boy.... Puts me to shame. It's hard to believe this book was written by a teenager. I wouldn't believe if I hadn't known otherwise.
I'd rate this book higher than 5 stars if it was possible. It's THAT good. The book proves it's very possible to write Grimdark fantasy without anti-heroes (take that Mark Lawrence and Joe Abercrombie fans! ). It's a blend of heroic fantasy and grimdark. It's somewhat similar to Luke Scull's 'Grim Company'. You've got your evil tyrants who've usurped the original gods and taken over everything. But that's where the similarities end. It's a different plot line, different characters, different setting and different themes.
The writing is beautiful. I didn't imagine I could finish the book so quickly. It had lots of pros and no cons imo. But the best part of it was the descriptions of the bad-ass fighting! I really think a fighting game should be created based on the book. There's lots of awesome powers, an extraordinary magic system and incredibly violent characters! It's a breather from basic fantasy. It's new, fresh, and brilliantly written. It's like reading a thriller, something by Dan Brown. A page-turner. It's unfortunate the next part won't be out for a while...
I greatly enjoyed a number of the underlying themes in the book. Religion is a big theme here. Gave me an insight into what the author might think about the Divine.
This book is unusual in that it's not told from the POV of the hero, but rather the villain. Makes for a rather intriguing read!
Before starting this book, I thought 'Attrition' a strange name to give a book. Now, come to think of it, this is the most appropriately named book I've ever read. The best possible name you could give a book like this.
So S.G Night, kudos to you and your book. It's writers like you that make reading worthwhile for me, despite the fact it takes up a lot of my time, time I could use for things that are actually productive. Hurry up with the next book!
I don't know where to start with this book, written at such a young age i didn't exactly know what i would be getting myself into.
I'll start with the characters, while their personality and characteristics weren't as deep as any other book you would read, i felt that this was almost appropriate; the book being a "diary" or "story" if you will. We did not need to understand the characters past to understand why the character did and felt the way they did. This in my opinion is exceptional, the fact however that the characters did generally feel like a body of 'skills' with characteristics stamped upon them brought the book down to 4 stars, the characters were consistent though and i never dis-believed in anything the characters chose to do.
The detail. Wow. The way the book was written, like every sentence was crafted for us readers to explore every genius surface and corner of passion put into the book. I can't describe how this changed the book for me, i could feel the dedication and effort that was in the book and i believe that this could only come from an author starting at such a young age, that the dedication and devotion to his work was full of the passion, un-corrupted by age. I can't describe how the detail made me feel, all i can say is that out of the many many books i've read, this books attention to detail and passion brought me in the most.
Finally, the story, while cliche (demon's, magic etc) had unique twists that really brought the fantasy cliche back to life, can't say much for the story as the book felt like an introduction into this new world but from what we have now i'm amazed.
It was with low expectations that I started reading Attrition, not because of the authors age or that this where his debut, but because so many reason books in the fantasy genre have use the genre as a setting for telling ordinary contemporary stories and completely missing the opportunity to truly build a world that the reader can immerse themselves in - and I couldn’t be more wrong. It is clear from page one that the author is truly in love with the world he is creating and of course the characters that inhabits it. Even though that the author at times seems to get lost in the details of his world and words he always seems to find his way back which keeps the reader from giving up on the story.
A really well crafted story and I have already put the sequel on my “To read”-list.
I really wanted to love this book. I really did. It had everything that I look for in my fantasy. Strong protagonist. Interesting minor characters. Magic. Action. Melee combat. I'm not a man of many wants.
It did however have one thing that really stopped me from enjoying it. I could not get past the modern lingo used. Very big pet peeve of mine. A lot of authors today use dialogue fit for an urban fantasy novel. It's also a big reason why I could not get into The Lightbringer series, to name an example. Just could not!
Am I the only one? It instantly brings down a 5/5 book to a 3/5 for me. No matter how good everything else is. Call me a buffoon. It's what I prefer.
PS I don't mind the errors throughout the book whatsoever. It's something to be expected.
There's no doubt: this young man has a gift in story-telling. I'm not an avid Fantasy reader, but this book drew me in. It does need a good Editor however. There are way too many adverbs throughout this book, ad nauseam, causing the dialog to be disjointed. If this were corrected, this would be a 4 to 5 star rating, hands down. I believe this author has the potential to be a renowned author one day.
I really wanted to enjoy this book. Honestly, the first chunk had really cool ideas that had me reading - who wouldn't like reading about an organisation of assassins of a race who are thought to be extinct? At first, it was very intriguing, then the stars began to drop.
First, the amount of words of this new made up language just had me confused. They weren't always explained straight away and there were so many words, I couldn't remember them all and I couldn't spend time flicking around and finding the meanings every other paragraph. The sheer number of analogies and metaphors used was ridiculous. At first, it was impressive that an 18 year old wrote like this, but you can only use so much imagery before it gets too much. And this book was definitely too much.
Initially, Racath seemed like an interesting character but then the interactions with other characters happened and I found myself liking absolutely no one in the book. The character relationships seemed far too forced, in particular the romantic plot that was going on just seemed cringy and unreal.
The biggest thing in the book that annoyed me: the middle. The entirety of the middle section was a complete information dump, there's no such thing as subtly easing you into the history and integrating you into the society. When an author does world building it doesn't mean this. All I can say is that an old man opens a book with a "Here, let me read this to you," and proceeds to give me a long essay of all the Gods and their history, the creation of the world, how the demons turned evil, what happened to the other races, how magic works and what magic can do.
I'm being read the bible, basically. I'm more or less being given a tome or an encyclopaedia and being expected to read every word.
This continued for long enough, that I gave up reading it shortly after. Maybe I'll give it another try but probably not. A shame.
The story was great, dont get me wrong, however the editing was atrocious. I actually took to carrying a pen with me as I was reading it so I could make corrections as I found mistakes. Another thing I disliked was some made up words were used but never explained.