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The Tainted Cabal #1

Revenant Winds

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As a secret cabal schemes to awaken an evil thought defeated millennia ago, the lives of three unlikely heroes are fated to converge:

Aldric, a veteran priest and sorcerer, who seeks acceptance from the church that shuns him. On the brink of their approval, he receives a mission that brings him face to face with a long-buried evil.

Niklaus, master swordsman, and slave to his goddess, who plots to split the veil between life and death and ascend to become her equal.

Kurio, the runaway daughter of a noble family, now turned to thievery, who stumbles across a disturbing secret that binds her future to infernal designs.

Drawn toward a horrifying endgame by an unknown force, Aldric, Niklaus, and Kurio find themselves in a battle not only for their lives, but for the beliefs that have come to define them.

A wrong decision, an overreaching ambition, or the failure of an already tormented faith, is all it will take to plunge mankind into an eternal dark.

550 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 5, 2017

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About the author

Mitchell Hogan

32 books919 followers
*** Signup to Mitchell's New Release mailing list to be the first to hear about new releases, and for bonus chapters of A Crucible of Souls! ***

When he was eleven, Mitchell Hogan was given the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to read, and a love of fantasy novels was born. He spent the next ten years reading, rolling dice, and playing computer games, with some school and university thrown in. Along the way he accumulated numerous bookcases' worth of fantasy and sci-fi novels and doesn’t look to stop anytime soon.

His first attempt at writing fantasy was an abysmal failure and abandoned after only one page. But ideas for characters and scenes continued to come to him and he kept detailed notes of his thoughts, on the off chance that one day he might have time to write a novel. For a decade he put off his dream of writing until he couldn’t stand it anymore. He knew he would regret not having tried to write the novel percolating inside his head for the rest of his life. Mitchell quit his job and lived off dwindling savings, and the support of his fiancé, until he finished the first draft of A Crucible of Souls.

He now writes full time and is eternally grateful to the readers who took a chance on an unknown author.

A Crucible of Souls won the 2013 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel.

Mitchell lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife, Angela, and daughters, Isabelle and Charlotte.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 58 reviews
Author 1 book360 followers
September 4, 2017
With the start of a new series, Mitchell Hogan proves once again that he's one of the greatest fantasy authors of this decade.

Over ten thousand years ago, Lord demon Nysrog almost conquered the world, but he was stopped and imprisoned by the powerful sorcerers of old. Now, his loyal followers want to bring him back, and an unlikely team of misfits bands together to stop them: A part-time priest part-time mage, an immortal warrior and a thieve with demon blood start a journey of self-discovery, pilgrimage and death, with complex magic, ancient artifacts, demons and other mythical creatures thrown in their way. Will they succeed in their quest, or will Nysrog rise again?

"Aldric realized what he faced. His stomach twisted, and his mouth went dry with fear. A wraithe. The first he’d ever seen. One of the elder races, a myth come to life. Older than old and possessed of power he couldn’t hope to match. Aldric was as good as dead. The creature would crack his bones and abuse his corpse, and then the Dead-eyes would have their perverted fun with it."

The Sorcery Ascendant Sequence is one of my favorite fantasy trilogies of all time. It was, in fact, so good, that I doubted Hogan could write something better than that, but with Revenant Winds, Mitchell proved me wrong. Unlike SAS which had a number of faults, Revenant Winds is perfect in every possible way.

Every single aspect of the book was nicely crafted and well thought-out: The characters were quickly established and well developed, the world-building was vast and proficiently expanded by exploring it through-out the story, and the magic system had the appropriate depth and was balanced enough to influence the events and characters without undermining them.

If you're familiar with Hogan's work, you already know that all of his stories start out slow and pick up the pace as the stakes are rising, resulting in an ever-rising tempo. If this is the first time you read a Hogan novel, then don't be discouraged by the relatively slow start: It gets better and better. AND BETTER.

Finally, the prose Hogan used to enrich the story is simple yet evocative, but the real gem of the story, as is with all of Mitchell's books, is the story itself. It will grip you from the first page and won't let you breathe until you've finished the book. All in all, Revenant Winds is a gem of a book by a talented and well-established author, and one that you should pick up and read asap.
Profile Image for Emma.
986 reviews1,005 followers
October 22, 2018
Revenant Winds brings us into a world on the cusp of disaster. Behind the scenes, the Tainted Cabal work to bring back Nysrog, a demon Lord twisted into insanity by his banishment back to hell thousands of years ago. Supposedly holding back the darkness are various religious and sorcerous factions, themselves beset by scheming and politicking, hidden agendas and uncertain alliances. And into this mess three people are thrown, with limited information and hindered at every turn, they might just have to save the world, if they can.

The most effective component of the book is the character development, each person demonstrating individuality, realistic emotions, and unique motivations that at times complement or clash with the others in the group. For me the most memorable were Aldric and Niklaus. Despite Niklaus’ tendency to obsess about his groin every time his goddess crosses his mind (yawn) and Aldric’s face flushing so many times I started to fear for the condition of his skin and the inevitable problems ahead thanks to his high blood pressure, they are both truly fascinating characters. Of the two Aldric is that bit easier to love. His struggle to find a place for himself in the framework of society, made almost impossible by conflicting obligations to his family, his guild, and his Church, mean that he is rejected and isolated at every turn. His beliefs form the core of his being but as the book progresses they are challenged by revelations and alternatives, making it all the more essential that he understand why his god has gifted him with power and how he is meant to use it. Exploited by his Church for his sorcerous talents yet shunned for the same reason, his personal morality and determination to ‘do what’s right’ make him the heart of the novel. Niklaus, not so much. His sexual obsession with his dark goddess, selfishness, clear lack of any ethical considerations, and murder of innocents ensure he’s unlikeable. At first. Even so, he engenders some weird kind of admiration, partly because of his ridiculously awesome swordplay, partly because we get the sense that there is more to him, in the lost memories of his past especially. Maybe because it’s easy to see he’s being manipulated as much as others in the book and certainly for a lot longer. Maybe also because he’s a long way from being the biggest arsehole on the block and he’s got a killer sense of mocking humour to boot. His story forms probably the most engaging process of character evolution in the book and yeah, he got me by the end.

There last of the main three, Kurio, was just as well drawn if not quite as appealing, becoming less independent and proactive as the story progresses. Considering her role as a master thief and some stunning revelations about her past, she was under utilised and had an underwhelming set of interactions with the other main characters, especially in the last part of the book when the action kicked up a gear and she almost disappeared. She was, however, one of the many interesting and varied female characters who populated the book, some with the kind of power and presence that dominated the page. Unfortunately, in this world that might not save you. There are a lot of people who end up dead. More than expected actually. Mitchell Hogan isn’t afraid to Game-of-Thrones his main characters in to the afterlife, never mind the human fillers… I mean… supporting cast. Many end up as yummy treats for the Dead-eyes, just one of the fun creatures who populate the place and want to eat you alive. Or dead. As a horde, they’re pretty terrifying, but hardly register on the scale of what’s coming. (Demons are coming) The scenes of brutal, bloody battle are a delight to behold, tense and filled with the screams of the dying. Top marks for these bits, that’s for sure.

Now there are some issues, primarily that of pacing. The book takes a good while to get going and even when it does, there are scenes which needed to be tighter or cut altogether. The majority of the plot was crammed into the last section and it suffered for it, feeling patchy and leaving things unanswered. And i’m not going to lie, I’m pretty narked by some of the losses. Some characters were built up for ages then literally tossed away in a few sentences with few or no consequences. It killed some of the finale’s impact, with the conveyer belt of people being thrown out numbing me to any real feeling by the end. Ooops there goes another one. LOL. Nevertheless, this is a world that’s only given up some of its secrets, keeping more than enough mystery to have me eagerly awaiting what comes next.

Read for fantasybookreview.co.uk
SPFBO 2018
Profile Image for Bookwraiths.
698 reviews1,069 followers
September 28, 2017
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

Revenant Winds is an epic fantasy filled with ancient demons, sorcerous cabals, and a group of unlikely heroes attempting to thwart the rising of an age-old threat. While it starts off slow, setting the table with heavy world building and characterization, this novel takes off around the halfway point, rushing forward to an epic conclusion.

Myths tell of a time long in the past when demons roamed the world and elder beings of great power walked its length and breadth before monstrous cataclysms destroyed everything, leaving only ruins behind to stand testament to its existence. But one thing which did survive the chaos was sorcery – though it isn’t well understood. Godly sects having arisen to control and harness the power of those gifted (or cursed) individuals; these religious groups using their acolytes in an eternal struggle against one another for supreme power!

In this world, several people now find themselves drawn together. One is Niklaus, a mercenary, who is on a quest for his goddess to obtain the power of a god himself so he can serve at her side forever. Another is noblewoman turned thief Kurio, who has become the bearer of information she was not suppose to ever learn. And, lastly, there is the healing priest Aldric, who has been given a secret quest by his church, one that will bring him and his companions into a confrontation against an evil thought long dead!

Obviously, this tale is a quest narrative. Each of these people bound together by a common cause or circumstances, yet also on their own unique missions. Here, our companions eventually find themselves drawn into a confrontation with the minions of a dark and vile power, which they must vanquish back to the abyss before it destroys their world. It is a familiar, fun, bloody, action-adventure tale which will both comfort and exhilarate fantasy fans in equal measure.

What Hogan does a great job of doing here is populating this well known landscape with a range of characters you understand and empathize with. Each of these people fully created through their adventures, exhibiting a wide range of emotions from fear to bravery, loyalty to betrayal, doubt to dedication. Niklaus, Kurio, and Aldric quickly turning into people whom you love, hate, or just wish to understand even more. Their continual evolution adding a unique dimension to the familiar narrative.

My only complaint with Revenant Winds is the pacing of the first half of the novel. It was slow, really slow at times. The introduction of characters, lore, and general world building taking up the majority of page time, leaving little room for epic action, bloody adventure, or vicious intrigue. All of that comes in the later parts of the tale, but I just wish there had been a bit more of those in the opening chapters of this one.

All in all, Mitchell Hogan has created a familiar yet entertaining fantasy tale with Revenant Winds. There is a huge world with ancient myths, gods, religious sects, and powerful magic. The cast of characters here is unique, interesting, and draw a reader into their world, their problems, and their daring adventures. So while this one didn’t send me into the fanboy stratosphere, it definitely was a good read, and I will be awaiting the sequel to see where the author goes with this story.

I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank him for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.
Profile Image for Mogsy.
2,073 reviews2,635 followers
September 21, 2017
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2017/09/21/...

Revenant Winds is the first book a new series by Mitchell Hogan, and having been curious about the author’s work for a long time, I leapt at the chance to check it out. After hearing the accolades for his Sorcerer’s Ascendant Sequence, I had very high hopes for this novel and I was also drawn to the promise of an epic fantasy that dabbles in ancient demons and curses, unlikely heroes, and secret cabals.

Long ago in the world of this novel, demons roamed wild, menacing the populations that once eked out an existence in this harsh, cruel place. The lore contains tales of devastating cataclysms that scoured the land, leaving mysterious ruins full of treasures and secrets. Now much of the history is forgotten, and accounts of demonic creatures and ancient beings of the elder races have entered into myth. Sorcery is not completely understood, and those who possess magic are either said to be gifted by the gods or cursed by them. When an individual comes into his or her talent though, they are often bound into a covenant with one of the many religions, with the different groups all locked in a constant struggle against each other for dominance.

True to form, our story features many characters, but the three that receives the most attention are Aldric, a priest who possesses the magical power of healing; Niklaus, an expert swordsman and mercenary; and Kurio, a former noble daughter turned master thief. Their three disparate lives converge as Niklaus, enslaved to his goddess the Lady Sylva Kalisia, is on a mission to become a god himself so he can serve by her side forever. Meanwhile, Kurio has stumbled upon something she shouldn’t have during her latest heist job, landing her in a deadly situation that she can scarcely comprehend. And finally, a devout follower of his god who is nonetheless shunned by most of his church because of his sorcery, Aldric is given a special assignment that will bring them all together in a confrontation against an emergent evil long thought defeated.

I’ll admit, it took me a while to get into Revenant Winds, because to me the plot did not pick up until about halfway through when the quest-driven part of the story truly started. Later, I learned that apparently this is par for the course when it comes to Mitchell Hogan’s novels, in that they mostly tend to begin as slow-burners until the momentum kicks in and then builds rapidly. Had I know this, my experience might have been a little different, but some patience is definitely required for the first half in which was mostly taken up by character development and establishing a background for the main story. There’s more of this than you generally find, even in a genre known for lengthy page counts and long intros, though on the upside, readers get to start off on the right foot with a good handle on the world and our key players once the real adventure starts.

More good news is that the second half of the novel makes up for any pacing issues in the first half. Once the main conflict was revealed, things moved fast! It’s almost enough to make me forget about the rough start, as Aldric, Niklaus and Kurio are joined by others, filling in the rest of this fascinating cast. Sorcerous rivalries, daring escapes, and heart-pounding battles against monsters can all be found in this exciting section leading up to the stunning climax and conclusion. There’s also passion amidst the violence as characters form bonds loyalty and love as they travel together, though of course the threat of betrayal is ever present. When you realize that no one is truly safe, that’s when all the character development in the first half of the book makes sense—Hogan has drawn you deep into his tale so now that you are whole-heartedly invested in the people involved, and every single loss feels like a punch in the gut. Furthermore, when he starts writing the action, that’s when his prose really shines, painting the scene with dark designs and gritty detail.

Overall, despite the slow start, I grew to enjoy the epic journey that was Revenant Winds and I’m very happy with my first experience with Mitchell Hogan’s work. While the story took some time to get established, in the end the patience invested was worth it, and I’m looking forward to the continuation of the series.

Audiobook Comments: Fantasy fiction and audiobook fans will probably be familiar with Oliver Wyman, with the impressive number of audiobook narration credits he has under his belt. He rocked the reading of Revenant Winds, as I expected he would, and did a great job brining the story and the characters to life. He has a good voice for this genre, perfectly conveying the mood and atmosphere of an epic fantasy.
Profile Image for Nils | nilsreviewsit.
332 reviews511 followers
October 16, 2018
‘“That’s where you’re wrong,” Nicklaus said, standing over the dying priestess. “I am the hammer. And the anvil. And the blade. And you... You are a fool.”’
I was first drawn to Revenant Winds when I laid eyes on it’s gorgeous cover. I mean if you put a fierce monster on a cover, with some awesome looking warriors set against it, then you immediately have my attention! I’m just so happy that the story also quickly hooked me in from the very first chapter, so I wasn’t disappointed at all. The story at its heart follows a group of misfits, some with magical powers and some without, thrown together to save a village from the onslaught of savage Dead-eyes.
I loved the way Hogan quickly established the world and magic system of the book, but kept enough back to build upon and weave throughout the story to keep the reader intrigued. The world is heavily governed by various religious factions, with characters who have been marked and therefore obeyed different gods and goddesses. Sorcery is both respected, feared and shunned by most religions, but are used nevertheless.
If you like shady characters who are morally grey and often conflicted, then like me you’re going to love this. My favourite was Nicklaus, a very shady immortal warrior, who is full of sarcasm, lust and is not shy of being dastardly when needed! He is definitely one of my all time favourite characters.
I also loved Kurio; she’s a badass thief who always fights on even when faced with so much trauma.
There are also plenty of demons, Dead-eye monsters, and various other evil creatures that work perfectly to set the dark tone. If you know me, you know I really love all of that, and it’ll be no surprise to you that this book has become another of my favourite reads this year! I cannot wait for the sequel to be completed!
Profile Image for Adam.
391 reviews170 followers
September 3, 2018
There’s an old Yiddish saying, “Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” that translates to “Man Plans, and God Laughs.” It warns that life is full of surprises. In one moment, you may think you have a solid grasp on who you are, where you’re going, and your value in society. Then you find out that everything you’ve been taught has been a lie, and you must reevaluate your motivations and goals or else get swept aside by the torrent of fate. Such is the case for the three protagonists of Mitchell Hogan’s Revenant Winds, an impressive and intriguing start to a series that deftly weaves magic, religion, and demonic vengeance into a story about seeking your identity and true purpose in life.

We rotate through three main points-of-view, though we spend the most time on Aldric, a warrior, priest, healer, and sorcerer. A jack-of-all-trades but a master of none, he is a unique protagonist since he is a far cry from anything resembling a “chosen one.” His magic reservoir is small and comparatively weak, and he actively avoids tapping into his dusk-tide powers (the yang to the protective yin magic). Facing inner conflict and the inability to be accepted by his family, his church, or sorcerer’s guild, the one thread he can lean on is his faith. But when that faith becomes tested and his long-held beliefs are challenged, he must reexamine his convictions or die trying.

Niklaus is a mercenary, the Chosen Sword of Lady Sylva Kalisia, goddess of pain and suffering. He was granted the gift of immortal life by the goddess centuries ago and has lived to serve her ever since. Although Lady Sylva only appears to Niklaus in dreams and visions, Niklaus is driven to interpret and achieve whatever goals the goddess has bestowed upon him. His Machiavellian methods are often cruel and amoral, as he shows no remorse for cutting anyone down who stands in his way. Niklaus is so enamored with the dream of coupling with the goddess that he has taken on a quest to become a god himself, so he can finally rule at her side. Not even the members of Lady Sylva’s church can deter him from achieving his goal through any means necessary.

Kurio is noble’s daughter with a chip on her shoulder who ran away from her rich family to become a thief-for-hire. She carries a double-stacked repeating hand crossbow and isn’t afraid to use it. We first join her during a mission where she’s to recover the contents from a safe and return it to her benefactor. What she finds, however, sets off a course of events that pulls her into one unavoidable nightmare after another. Not only does she learn secrets that puts her very nature into question, but also threatens the survival of everything she’s ever known.

There are quite a few standout aspects to this book. The character-building is strong, and each protagonist has very specific and personal goals, even though they are questing for similar purposes. There’s a neat narrative device that allows the incorporation of flashbacks to help fill in the world’s history and lore without needing to lean on a time jump or an expository info dump. I appreciated how Hogan worked these flashbacks into the story while figuring out a way for them to be narratively relevant to the current character arcs. Also, I especially liked how coincidences are addressed head-on. In many stories, I’ll grant the writer some leeway for the sake of tightening the narrative, but this book attempts to explain some of the larger coincidences as intentional acts from a higher power. Since religion plays such a major role in this story, this tactic felt more of a bonus than a crutch.

But there's also a couple of drawbacks. Specifically, the book doesn't really take off until the halfway mark, and it also ends without answering very many questions. I'm perfectly fine with cliffhangers, but I felt that there was too much left unanswered, and it left me a bit frustrated. Although the major events at the finale served as a good place to pause the story until the next volume, it left me feeling a bit unfulfilled, as not enough questions were addressed.

This book will appeal to fans of dark fantasy. Some may categorize it as grimdark, as it takes place in a world where even the defenders of humanity feel justified in using torture and enslavement to meet their goals, but there’s a sense of hope that permeates the story as we root for our heroes to never lose sight of what makes them human. There’s an appealing supporting cast of characters I grew to care about, and the various action scenes kept me engrossed. In Revenant Winds, Hogan has created a rich world with a deep history to explore, full of compelling mysteries, conflicting religions, and unusual characters. It feels like we’re just scratching the surface of what’s to come by novel’s end, and I’m eager to see what fates our characters have in store. One thing I do know is that it won’t be according to plan.

7.8 / 10
Profile Image for FanFiAddict.
548 reviews144 followers
September 2, 2017
First off, I have to say thank you to Mitchell Hogan for allowing me to be a beta reader for Revenant Winds. I am new to Hogan's work and wasn't sure what I was getting myself into, but after reading Revenant Winds, I can safely say that he is on my TBR for the foreseeable future. Surprised it took me this long to give him a try but that's what happens when you live under a rock. Now, onto my thoughts on the book.

*Please note that my comments reflect a book that may be changed before it is released to the general public.*

An evil that has been silenced for a millennia is close to being awakened once again by a secret cabal. Though most of civilization has forgotten their terror driven past, few know of the destructive power hidden beneath the cities in ruins. Of course, it would be easy street to awaken this evil if not for three unlikely heroes and their band of even more unlikely comrades. Adlric, a sorcerer who is shunned by his church but given a power from the God himself; Niklaus, master with a blade but a slave to the goddess he serves; and Kurio, a master thief with a dark secret not even she can comprehend, are forced together to combat this evil before the world as they know it is gone. What stands in their way may be too much for even their Gods to overcome.

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Revenant Winds. Though the first quarter to half of the book was fairly slow, due mostly to character building, the second half was a never ceasing thrill ride. There isn't a whole lot of world building here, and I am assuming it will be expanded upon in the sequel(s), but character development is where Hogan shines. The magic system is easy to understand and everyone seems to be on a fairly even playing field, so to speak. Of course, there is a hefty cliffhanger at the end so I am a little upset that I have to wait forever now for book 2.

Revenant Winds is expected to be released in July of this year and should be at the top of your TBR list.

Check out more of my reviews over at https://mightythorjrs.wordpress.com
Profile Image for Julia Sarene.
1,325 reviews143 followers
September 14, 2017
This is my 7rh book by Mitchell Hogan, so that probably already tells you I like the authors writing...

This is the start of a new series, darker and grittier then his other books. I quite enjoyed the different characters, who started off all on their own paths, which slowly flowed together and started mingling in the last third of the book. They were different individuals and made for a pretty good mix of good(ish) people and villains, who kept me well entertained and interested in what would happen to them.

The plot was a bit vague and only really started to show pretty late in the story. I personally would have liked some direction a bit sooner, but this is often the way of the opening books in a series.

The prose was fluent and easy to read, so I could sink right into this new world. And the world is pretty vast! Sorcery, divine powers, all sorts of Gods, monsters, mythical creatures, lore, history, languages, guilds - it's all there! I really enjoyed the worldbuilding and all the background stories that are only hinted at so far. It really feels like I get to explore a whole big new world! What an adventure!

My personal gripe with the book is about demons and their "erected members" and quite some "loins" and very sexy godesses visiting their chosen in bed to tease them. If you follow my reviews, you'll know I hate sex and especially romance in my fantasy. I just don't need it, and it only ever annoys me. There's only a tiny bit of romance, but quite some mentions of "defiling" though that never goes into detail. So if you don't share my rolling eyes about that, you will obviously not mind that. For me it is the reason I will go for 3,5 stars instead of 4,5.

This is a really good mix of high fantasy and grimdark! No shining heroes here. All the characters have good and bad sides. There is no "one perfect outcome" - whatever happens isn't going to be happy ever after! That is what I like best about grimdark - it just feels more real to me. And that mixed up with all the lore and worldbuilding one could wish for! So I'll round my 3,5* up to 4 and will eagerly await the sequel!
September 4, 2017
I received this book as an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review!

Three strangers are on a collision course to a standoff against a sorcerous covenant set on freeing an ancient evil from its imprisonment. A sorcerer priest touched by a god with healing powers, a master swordsman who is the chosen sword of a goddess and a master thief have no idea the roles they are destined to play in a dangerous sorcerers’ endgame. This is Revenant Winds, the start of Mitchell Hogan’s newest fantasy series The Tainted Cabal.

This novel is told from three perspectives. The first perspective is that of Niklaus who is the chosen sword of the goddess the Lady Sylva Kalisia. He has lived for thousands of years in service to the Lady and longs only to be by her side forever. The second perspective is of Aldric a priest of the church of Menselas, who has been touched by the God with healing powers, but is looked down upon by others in the church because of his sorcerous abilities. Finally the third perspective is that of Kurio, runaway from a noble family she is now a master thief on the run after a job gone wrong. All three are being unknowingly pulled together to face off against The Tainted Cabal, a sorcerous covenant whose sole aim is to release the demon lord Nysrog from his ancient imprisonment.

I loved this book. I am really big on well-developed characters and I thought the character building in this piece was extremely well done. The only character I wish I would have had more time with to get to know better was Kurio, she does not get as many chapters as Aldric and Niklaus so I thought we could have learned a little more about her past. However this is the first book in a new trilogy so there may be reasons for the sparse back story. I also had previously read the prequel novella to this series The Forgotten Tower, so I went into the novel already familiar with Niklaus. The secondary characters were also well developed and a couple of them I really started to care for almost more than the primary characters.

I also felt the magic system in this novel was unique. The magic is system is based on day and night. Each sorcerer has repositories of dawn tide and dusk tide sorcery within them. The cants the sorcerers use attaches to either or both repositories, and the sorcerers must also use the dawn and the dusk to refill their repositories. It made for an interesting system of magic and I was really intrigued by it.

I would have liked to see a little more world building. As I said this is the first in a trilogy, and I know that Mitchell Hogan has plans for other series in the Revenant Winds world so more world building is sure to come. However I have also read part of his other series, The Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, and it is only the times the gods and goddesses are talked about and the magic system that I could definitely tell that I was in the Revenant Winds world as opposed The Sorcery Ascendant. However if you have not read The Sorcery Ascendant and this is your first experience with Mitchell Hogan then that will probably be enough to create the world for you. It may be just because all of his novels that I have read have been this year that I would have liked more ways to separate the worlds.

I do not hear Mitchell Hogan’s books talked about very much, and that is really a shame and something I hope changes soon. I have enjoyed everything I have read and really loved Revenant Winds. I also loved the prequel novella The Forgotten Tower so I recommend that as well. Of the books of his that I have read I believe Revenant Winds is his crowning achievement thus far and I highly encourage you to go and order your copy right now.

Thank you Mitchell Hogan for allowing me to preview this book, the pleasure really was all mine.
Profile Image for David.
108 reviews9 followers
December 5, 2017
I didnt hate it...not sure if i'll continue the series as more books come out.
Profile Image for Jon.
403 reviews7 followers
August 27, 2017
Ok, I've reviewed Mitchell Hogan's work via Harper Voyager and, while I've had issues with some of the stories, I've never doubted his ability. Sometimes that diamond needs a bit more polishing but eventually it shines. When he asked for early reviewers I readily threw my name in the hat, and I'm glad I did.

Revenant Winds gives us that polished gem. Hogan has refined his storytelling, with crisp characters and a deep world in which he sets them. I was a little worried early on about the motivations of one character, which I can't discuss without giving away plot twists, lol, but needless to say I was -invested-. That was one of my issues with the previous works, I loved one or two characters but the rest were a bit flat. Not so this time. Even the world has layers upon layers, sometimes literally. :)

It's been about ten days since I finished the book and I'm still thinking about scenes/characters/world building. That's the sign of a good story. Thank you for the early access Mr Hogan, keep up the good work!
Profile Image for Andreia.
86 reviews
August 8, 2022
I don't really know how to feel about this. It was a good book but in the end I'm just not feeling much excitement for the rest of the series. I didn't really connect with or feel attachment to the characters nor did I feel much excitement for the plot. It was definitely interesting, but personally I just didn't feel that true excitement, rather a simple curiosity to see where things were going. And in the end, I don't even know how to feel about that ending. I'm wondering if I would feel differently had I read it physically instead of listening to the audiobook. It was good in a way to make it through the slower paced parts of the story but on the flip side, annoying characters felt even more annoying when given a voice directly into my ear. If I'm in the mood for the next book whenever it comes out, I might give this a reread.
Profile Image for Birdie BD Bookworm.
36 reviews4 followers
May 7, 2018
Well Done

This book was a surprise. I was expecting another formulaic novel about a band of misfits that saves the world. I was wrong.

The characters are well written and their motives, while occasionally frustrating and annoying by turns, stayed true to their arcs. It didn’t turn out the way I thought, nor did it end the way the characters expected. The twists were nice and gave a good push to the plot. I hope we get even more history with the follow-up. I eagerly await the next installment.
Profile Image for Claudette Gabbs.
327 reviews22 followers
September 2, 2018
This was a good read. Great world building. Characters that you liked & disliked. There was a lot of action throughout the book. A few surprises at the end. All in all, I recommend reading it.
Profile Image for THE BIBLIOPHILE (Rituranjan).
544 reviews82 followers
September 23, 2017
Pure old-school sword and sorcery with thrilling fun and action. This is my first Mitchell Hogan read, but, I'm seriously into his work. Hogan writes on the familiar tropes and settings, but what he does best is telling an interesting story with characters to root for. The story albeit isn't a light one, it has its own splattering of blood and bodies. But, it was an entertaining ride for me, and I finished the book in two days, which says enough of my praise.

Revenant Winds entertained me right from its beginning to the end. The story is a familiar one, there is an imminent threat of an age-old evil stirring, and the one with powers that work for mankind tries to thwart the upcoming threat. There are demons, sorcerers, mercenaries, ancient races, zombies, and meddlesome Gods and Goddesses fucking up affairs. The plot and pacing was pretty fast with hints of mysteries and secrets, with occasional shares of action which was quite good. As usual there is the quest mode, as the unlikely group of sorcerers and mercenaries go together and fight, and prevent the creatures of the dark.

Hogan also manages to warp up his characters as events in the story demands, making them conflicted, fearful, bold, and cruel as occasion demands. Nicklaus is the one that intrigued me most. A mercenary and a mortal sword for his Goddess, who is gifted with immortality and one who wants to be a God himself to attain the live of a callous goddess. He is deadly with his magical sword, and is the one who shines in action. Aldric to me appeared as a reluctant protagonist who refuses to acknowledge himself and his power. His unquestioning adherence to his Church seems frustrating at times. But, he has his moments of doubts and also stoic confidence. Ganon seemed a strong antagonist at the end, and I particularly liked the part of the powerful sorceress Soki and her romantic angle with Aldric. Kurio the demon-child and thief interested me in her part in the turn of events, and is yet to be revealed about her full place in the game.

Hogan has wonderfuly created the magic of a romping sword and sorcery fantasy tale. He also gives us a few glimpses of the myths and legends which is the background of his tale through memory scrying. The action and magic is nicely done, and I liked the concept of sorcerers drawing their energy from sunrise and twilight. The religion is also well executed, with followers of different faiths vying for influence. All things said, I will definitely be awaiting for the sequel which I hope will deliver another excellent story.
Profile Image for AudioBookReviewer.
949 reviews164 followers
January 5, 2018
My original Revenant Winds audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Revenant Winds by Mitchell Hogan is the first book in a series called the Tainted Cabal. The world is a devastated place, with followers of different gods attempting to obtain the most power. Side by side with divinely granted power sits sorcery that is often seen as a curse. Mankind is eking out a living in a world that has been damaged by cataclysms that occurred millennia ago, but a secret cabal works to bring back an evil that everyone thought had been defeated. The lives of three people Aldric, a priest and sorcerer, Niklaus, a master swordsman, and Kurio a previous noblewoman and now thief, slowly converge in a battle for their lives and their beliefs to fight the evil that may be wrought on the world once again.

This was an okay story. While each of the individual characters’ internal struggles were well developed, I struggled to connect all the stories together in a more than superficial way. I think stronger world building and more background could have helped with that. It took a long time for me to understand how the sorcery and the divine powers exist together in the novel and also who exactly the tainted cabal was made up of. Having both divine power and sorcery simultaneously is a new concept to me, though. Perhaps later books will help with connecting the characters with the world better with more information introduced. The novel had both action and a lot of introspection on the part of the three characters, which I liked. I was under the impression that this would be a story about a band of three characters off on a quest to defeat evil, but this was not the case. This is a story about three individuals that accidentally cross paths in an effort to prevent evil from reentering the world. There are hints that this is predestined, but that remains to be seen. This concept was not something I’ve seen often, which was refreshing. The fight scene at the end was climatic and exciting, leaving open the story for future development.

The narration by Oliver Wyman was okay. While his pacing was well done, the characterization could have been better. Sometimes when the chapters switched, I lost track of who was speaking. The production quality was good. I would recommend this story to anyone who likes epic fantasies with a focus on fighting inner and outer demons.

Audiobook was purchased for review by ABR.
Profile Image for Jonathan  Royan .
10 reviews1 follower
September 24, 2017
First of all I should say I was given an ARC by the author in return for an honest review. I've read Mitchell Hogan's previous Sorcery Ascendance series and loved them all. Definitely worth your time if fantasy is your genre.

So, to my review of Revenant Winds.

It's a slow burner in my opinion. This is to be a series so you expect world building and character development to be prominent in the first book, but it took time to get going. Three complex characters spent most of the book getting to each other, but once they were in place it picked up nicely, with a strong ending that makes you want more.

The characters:

There are three main characters in the book, a thief, a mercenary, and a reluctant sorcerer. I really liked the thief a lot, her motivations and the way she reacts to her problems were enjoyable. The mercenary I didn't like, enormously competent, but annoyingly deluded in one main area. The Sorcerer I also liked. His need to be excepted by his church, while being reviled for being a sorcerer by them makes for an interesting POV character. None of the three MC's are just their professions. They are deeply conflicted in their own ways and it comes out in interesting ways. I'm being vague in those areas as I don't want to ruin any reveals in the book, were you to decide to read it.

The plot:
A long ago defeated evil wants back into the world, and it has helpers in high and low places in society, "The Tainted Cabal." They will do anything to bring back their evil master Nysrog. They are manipulative to the extreme, and employ deceptive ways of getting things in place for the return of Nysrog. Needless to say it's up to our three MC's to stop them from achieving their desires.

This book, I think, is a great sett up for the rest of the series. The writing is solid from beginning to end with characters and a magic system that you really want to learn more about.

So in summery, took time to get going but once there, it made you want to read more.

I will be reading the next in the series, and reserve the right to return to this review and give it higher stars, if the next book followed on as well from the last quarter of the book.

243 reviews2 followers
December 16, 2018
Considering all the things that happen here, this is an impressively boring book.

There is a simple explanation for that: If I don’t care about the characters, I don’t care about the plot and I couldn’t care less about these guys. Calling them characters elevates them, they are ambitions. Every character has one – and only one – that leads their actions and the reader is supposed to follow along. Unfortunately that is one step too far for the three main ambitions and the others barely get enough substance to make them relatable. The world could have been interesting, if it hadn’t had to work with these characters in there.
My other big problem was with the pacing. The beginning takes a slow approach, basically trying to establish setting and characters. The setting works, the characters less so. Nevertheless, I was prepared for a slower experience with a big world being established here. This changed towards the end, when the pace quickens and delivers more action than necessary towards a drawn out and uninteresting finale. During the finale I should not think “I am bored of this” more than once or twice instead of constantly. Since I was so bored I don’t even care about the sequel that is hooked in the end, because of course it is.

If your big plot twist is that obvious, you should at least deliver something satisfying. This doesn’t even do that.
Profile Image for Pamela .
552 reviews30 followers
May 26, 2020
You take a do-gooder magister, stained with the shunned mark of sorcery, who's only ambition is to heal people. Add an immortal master swordsman assassin, bewitched by a comical love sickness for his goddess. Top it off with an overly curious thief, with a secret of birth to hide, and you have a good start to an unforgettable journey.
Aldric, Niklaus, and Kurio cross paths when a settlement needs rescued from an onslaught of Dead Eyes (nasty creatures coming in the darkest of night to tear their prey apart). As a creative collection of rescuers are assembled, the mystery only intensifies as to what the true intentions of this little expedition is, when the nearby exploration of an ancient ruin takes precedence for some.
With a slow but interesting introduction to our three main characters, things quickly pick up as the story unfolds, adding an almost "Magnificent 7" troupe to aid the settlers. Everyone seems to have an ulterior motive for this quest.
The book is chocked full of axe and sword play, battles with lots of nasty creatures to kill, a reoccurring wraith, sorcery skills to learn, and a good dose of demon history.
Enjoyed the book and listening to Oliver Wyman narrate it, as he pegs the personalities to perfection.
A fair warning though, don't get too attached to the characters.
Profile Image for John-Torleif  Harris.
2,641 reviews13 followers
September 8, 2018
So I really liked the story that eventually developed and am very intrigued to see where these series goes, but the first 53% of this book is nothing but prologue. There was so much focus on world-building and on introducing the characters that nothing happened until we were half way through the book - and this was not a small book. It really made for a less than captivating introduction to this new series.

Once the plot got going though, I found myself intrigued and interested. I do find myself a bit confused over the gods’ communication of their instructions for their servants - can they not manifest clearly in the human world? Both Aldric and Niklaus were sent by their gods for a specific reason, but neither was ever given an indication of what that reason was. Why was there never any inspiration to do the will of either Menselas or Lady Sylva when it might have done some good?

I did like how things unfolded to be much more complex than appearances first would indicate. And I am interested to see where this goes, for Aldric especially, in the coming books.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.
Profile Image for Shay.
726 reviews17 followers
September 13, 2017
Disclaimer: I received a free review copy of this title courtesy of the author.

I got off to a bit of a rough start with this novel, which opens in the perspective of Niklaus, the Chosen Sword of the goddess known as the Lady Sylva Kalisia. Niklaus has served the goddess for centuries, and dreams of becoming a god himself so that he can join her as her consort. His sexual motivations are extremely skeevy, and I didn’t particularly enjoy being in his point of view. Fortunately, Niklaus is only one of many narrative perspectives in the story, so I didn’t have to be constantly in his head, up close and personal with his sexual fantasies, which might have been a deal breaker. Otherwise, Revenant Winds is a strong series starter with interesting characters, an intriguing magic system, and ample room for more world-building as the story continues. Unfortunately for me, my favourite character looks to be dead heading into book two, but that isn’t going to stop me from awaiting the next installment in the series. more
Profile Image for Tammy.
646 reviews8 followers
September 6, 2017
First time reading from the author.
The word Sorcery, Gods, Demons or just paranormal mentioned in the details of the story, hooked me and reeled me in. That had me wanting to read the story. I thought the story was very good and well written. It had a nice steady pace to keep the story going.
There was some slow spots as we got to know or introduced to the other characters. The characters Aldric, Nicklaus, and Kurio were likable and kept your interest as well, wanting to know more about them. The story never had a dull spot, it had just right amount going on. I liked how the author made the world for their characters. I was pulled in and soon felt like I was watching a TV show. I couldn’t stop reading until the end. I hope to read more from the author. I will be stalking their shelves for more books to read. Its nice finding a new author to read from.

Got from Hidden Gems ARC Club for an honest review.
Thank you for letting me read your story.
1,061 reviews10 followers
September 6, 2017
Wow. Mitchell Hogan is certainly a master with descriptive words to paint the reader a stark, dangerous, haunting and often terrifying picture of the landscape, characters and action. And, I must say, many of his prolific descriptions were definitely one-of-a-kind and new to me. This is an action packed suspense/mystery of the age-old battle between good and evil, and it is filled with sorcery, magic, gods, and goddesses, demons, and other vile and scary things. I am definitely hoping this series continues, and sooner rather than later. This is a voluntary review of an Advanced Reader Copy of this book.
Profile Image for Mark.
Author 2 books103 followers
December 15, 2018
Loved it. This is a great start to a new epic fantasy series by Aussie Mitchell Hogan.

Told from three points of view I loved each character equally, and just when I thought Hogan was about to take a particular plot point too far, or fall into overkill, he changed gears and smashed through the sound barrier, ramping up the tension and throwing some hair-raising twists and turns into the plot.

The world building was fascinating - I want to know much more about the lore of this setting - but it was Hogan's execution of the story and the vibrancy of characters that had me turning the pages and kept me wanting more.

I have a book hangover. I need the next one now.
299 reviews6 followers
September 20, 2017
Not bad

I'd like to give this book three and a half stars. You've got some interesting characters and so far a fairly creative world. The plot is solid with a few surprises mixed in that makes the story all the more interesting. There are a few slow points but the story moves along nicely. There are a lot of players in this book,all with different agendas, which I found to be the best part of the story. Hints and allegations throughout the story really keeps the story fresh. Eagerly awaiting the next installment.
Profile Image for Gerald.
5 reviews
May 12, 2018
Starting off by saying that I did not like Sorcery Ascendance novel's. That's not to say it is not well written. I just am so tired of the "missing/lost/found/amnesiac - Prince of everything holy and bad ass" novels.

Tainted Cabal is so much more appealing. I'll write a better and more in depth review when I can formulate coherent... stuff.

Just pick this book up. It's rarely if at all slow or bogged down with a 100 page descriptions of settings that blow.

A lot of action. A great narrative. Awesome history.

Please pump these out Mr. Hogan. I'll be your best friend?
Profile Image for Tony Breault.
37 reviews
April 17, 2019
Gripping read, character build and plenty of action

Revenant Winds was a pleasant, albeit unexpected, find. The story line is fluid and one becomes slightly attached to the characters as the plot continues. My only critique would be that the main character is a bit too flawed is his dogma - while the author seems to do so on purpose, it leaves Aldric somewhat flat and without nuance. Overall, I’d highly recommend this book for any lover of fantasy, swords and sorcery, as it moves quickly and the plot outcomes continue to come as surprises throughout.
Profile Image for Jim.
34 reviews
September 21, 2017
Interesting new series

Enjoyed it for the most part but toward the end it really lost any type of credibility mostly because of the comments that were made by some of the characters. Don’t mind some of their actions because that was part of the story but sort of the trite dialogue was... well, really trite and took away from the storyline. Still looking forward to the sequel however.
Profile Image for Keith Stevenson.
Author 24 books48 followers
June 3, 2021
Huge fun in this adventure set in Mitch Hogan's fantasy world of Wiraya. An unlikely group of mercenaries and church enforcers come together to save a village from a monstrous threat and discover what ancient secrets lie in the nearby caves. Deception, old rivalries and hidden agendas among the group - plus the threat of the legendary and evil Tainted Cabal - make for a fast-paced story where you're never sure what's going to happen next.
February 6, 2018
Perfect Recipe

Just the right amount of everything I want from a fantasy novel... intelligent, intriguing, and well paced. Not much new as far as fantasy goes but I like the way Hogan puts all the old pieces together, without fear of cliches. Great story, can't wait for the next book!
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