Hammer’s (Balor’s Might, 2015, etc.) third adventure finds the demon-smashing Sons of Odin on the brink of annihilation.
Dark clouds spread from the peak of Kerak’Otozi, and the threat of the Dark One looms over the fantastic world of Kismeria. The Sons of Odin—Adem Highlander, Wil Martyr, and Carl Wilder—along with the Daughter of Thor, Jean Fairsythe, realize that they must grow their ranks and power before their prophesied showdown with unimaginable evil. Personal dilemmas plague Adem, like the migraines that require daily Healing and the insufferable Princess Isabelle, who’s pregnant with their child. Fortune graces the heroes when the vampiric Hayley begins swearing captured vampires into her newly formed coven. Further help arrives in the form of Shienden’kroxus, a small emerald dragon that Adem creates (according to prophecy) with the Power. While battling demons along the Borderlands, Adem has the epiphany that, “even these bloodthirsty monsters were victims in the Dark Lord’s incessant schemes.” Adem and his dragon eventually venture forth separately from Kismeria’s heroes. He wonders, “if he felt compassion for evil, was he not also becoming evil?” Worse, Adem blocks his companions from communicating through their patron deities, the Battle Angels, which sets them worrying that madness has finally taken him. In his third installment of the series, Hammer continues to tap a vein of phantasmagoric mayhem that should mesmerize video gamers and fans of the Lord of the Rings alike. Nearly every page displays eye-popping battle visuals: “Lightning filled the sky, a rainbow of coloured bolts, a thousand falling every second to turn the grey haze into a bright neon flare.” That said, readers of more character-driven fantasies may grow fatigued by Hammer’s penchant for elaborate magical warfare. Heartfelt surprises abound, however, like when Adem quotes from the Bible to describe Jean (“She is more precious than rubies, nothing you desire can compare with her”). The underlying themes of humanity’s imperfection and the individual’s struggle toward a truer self permeate this narrative, which sets the heroes in a new direction.
Provides an action-packed turning point in the series and sets the stage for fresh adventures.