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Challenge 45

Book Review: Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio

by Dennis M. Myers, 10/5/2020

I have read a lot of books in my life, and while I do prefer the third person style of storytelling, I've read a few books where a first person narrative conveys something special. However, what M. Ruocchio has done is to take the first person narrative to a whole new level. Empire of Silence is a story being told to you in a personal and direct way. The storyteller himself can be heard, going over his life, and dropping the occasional foreshadow over the text.

The brilliance of this is that as a scene plays out, you get an insight into what is to come, and glimpses of the larger story familiar to the teller while admitting his own mistakes along the way. The more I read this book, the more I wanted to read it. By the time I was a third of the way in (and for the record, this is a big ass book) I found myself scheduling extra reading time. By the time I hit the three quarters mark, I realized that I needed to order the next book, because I do not want to stop. I want to know more.

M. Ruocchio's use of the English Language, and a variety of other languages both real and invented, is deployed masterfully in this book. Every once in a while I had to go look up a word because I wasn't sure if it was a real one or not.

The story is set in a richly detailed universe, a truly grand and epic backdrop, yet the story is intensely personal, and intimate. I think my only recommendation would be to order the second book earlier than I did. I find myself waiting for it, wanting to get started in the next adventure. If there were any truly important skill for a writer, it's to evoke this very reaction in the reader. A hunger for more, and a willingness to keep reading. This, naturally, causes me to step back, and evaluate my own work.

As a writer, I usually read to study the craftsmanship of the novel. I often also like the story. In this case, the level of detail coupled with the gripping story means that as much as I am learning about this style of writing, I also really enjoyed myself. I look forward to Howling Dark and Demon in White. Books two and three of this series, which is NOT a trilogy. Just wanted to say that for Christopher. He's working on book four, and should be announcing the title soon. Check out the links below.

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