Title: The Copper Promise | Series: Copper Cat #1 | Author: Jen Williams| Publisher: Headline | Publication date: February 13th 2014| Num. Pages: 535 | Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy
5 stars – An amazingly well written debut novel
There are some far-fetched rumours about the caverns beneath the Citadel…
Some say the mages left their most dangerous secrets hidden there; others, that great riches are hidden there; even that gods have been imprisoned in its darkest depths.
For Lord Frith, the caverns hold the key to his vengeance. Against all the odds, he has survived torture and lived to see his home and his family taken from him … and now someone is going to pay. For Wydrin of Crosshaven and her faithful companion, Sir Sebastian Carverson, a quest to the Citadel looks like just another job. There’s the promise of gold and adventure. Who knows, they might even have a decent tale or two once they’re done.
But sometimes there is truth in rumour.
Soon this reckless trio will be the last line of defence against a hungry, restless terror that wants to tear the world apart. And they’re not even getting paid.
The Copper Promise was one of those books that I stumbled upon on Friday a fortnight ago, I picked up the kindle sample – a grand total of 5 chapters – and sat there and devoured it. By Saturday evening I was in possession of a paperback and by Sunday I was over 100 pages in; I read between 50-80 pages per day and finished it on Thursday 17th November – a whole 5 days after purchase.
I’m a rare 5 star reviewer and a book has to tick every single tiny little box for me to even consider going past 4 stars. I’ve also never picked up a sample and ordered a book within 24 hours, I usually sit and think about it for a while but The Copper Promise was one of those books. I was about 70 pages in to The Copper Promise when I bought its sequels The Iron Ghost and The Silver Tide. This never happens – ever.
From the get go, Jen Williams’ characters and world building was on point. The story follows what will eventually become The Black Feather Three – Wydrin of Crosshaven, Sir Sebastian Carverson of Ynnsmouth and Lord Aaron Frith of The Blackwood:-
Wydrin of Crosshaven is a foul-mouthed, crass, violently aggressive and sarcastic pirate-cum-sell-sword and she’s AMAZING!
Sir Sebastian Carverson of Ynnsmouth is a disgraced Knight of Ynnsmouth, sword-sworn to the god-peak Isu turned sell-sword for hire with a heart of gold.
And last but certainly not least Lord Aaron Frith of Blackwood, last surviving heir of the The Blackwood, tortured soul (and I mean this in the literal sense) and one confused man with a neat newly acquired trick.
Frith has hired Wydrin and Sebastian and a weird little fella called Gallo to take him to The Citadel as a means to exact revenge on the people who gravely injured him and murdered his family. Gallo goes on ahead as he’s impatient and things go a little belly-up for him; Frith, Wydrin and Sebastian go to the Citadel, go exploring in the creepy castle and see Gallo who they assumed was dead, the trio of adventurers unknowingly unleash a god in the form of a dragon which in turn unleashes several far-ranging ramifications – Frith absorbs a lot of magic and knowledge, Sebastian almost dies because of Gallo’s betrayal but pulls through because of a mystic connection he forges at death’s door and The Copper Cat goes about her business.
This Citadel invasion and ultimate unleashing of a long-believed dead god sets the story up nicely for its onward and upward momentum. Frith absorbs the power he was searching for in the lake hidden at the bottom of the Citadel and becomes a force to be reckoned with (eventually) but not only do they release a dragon they also release her brood army – neat green and golden dragon-hybrid things with a connection to both Y’Ruen (the dragon) and Sebastian – cue his nightmares.
The book as a debut was stunningly well written with characters that were neatly rounded off with few cliffhangers and a nicely written flow and mixture of present and past tense. The characters (particularly Wydrin) were superb and I couldn’t get enough of her utter crassness and her unrelenting torment of Frith – brilliantly written.
I really liked the fact that Jen Williams also gave us chapters from the point of view of the brood army as they traverse Ede destroying any and everything. She shows us the stark contrast of them being a number (The Thirty-Third) and of them becoming a unique being (Ephemeral) with their own thoughts and feelings – some remained purely numbers but a large amount of them became individuals and “broke” from the brood.
There have been some mixed reviews on this book but my opinion is this book was amazing. An outstanding read of amusing proportions where plenty of banter, adventure, magic and mayhem abound. Although the ending closes off some individual story arcs it also opens the door to many more which continue in the next book – my overall feeling towards The Copper Promise was along the lines of “Please don’t leave me!” and “Oh dear god I need more. Right now.”
As mentioned above I bought the next two instalments and I’m 150 pages through the second one and it is just as good as the first one! I can’t wait to see where this story goes!