Ways of the Stygia- Banner by Donny Swords
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
An explosive read that will be sure to antagonize mythological ‘purists’ and those with strong religious sentiments based on the Jehovah faiths, it effectively combines Greek, Nordic and Biblical mythology.
A powerful description of the horrors of Purgatory and what awaits the damned, not unlike Dante’s work. Not for those who prefer romance-based or light fantasy.
Yet at the base of it is the age old question of nature vs. nurture when reason is added. Can a soul, birthed in darkness and raised where all is horror, feel an antipathy to what is occurring around him, rejecting his ‘father’, or is he doomed to follow a pre-ordained path? Banner does not succumb to the horrors around him, does not become part of the atrocities, but flees it and receives aid from powerful allies, who, unlike the Mad God, perhaps value a being that can think for himself. They are cold, driven and capable of inflicting carnage of an epic scale, yet they also can be fair, though I suppose one in his right mind would trust them as much, say, a warlord one hears about on the news nowadays.
As a novella it worked well in that it left me wanting to read the books in the series to find out more of the characters and the events Banner alludes to, as he skims over a lot, dropping little nuggets of information here and there. Highly recommended (though I would suggest getting the series rather than reading Banner as a standalone piece).
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