Title: The Malice | Series: The Vagrant #2 | Author: Peter Newman | Publisher: Harper Voyager | Publication date: April 23rd 2016 | Num. Pages: 451 | Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dystopia | How I owned it: Purchased from Amazon UK
5 stars – A brilliant sequel filled with revelations
Following Peter Newman’s brilliant debut, THE VAGRANT. This is the much-anticipated sequel, THE MALICE.
In the south, the Breach stirs.
Gamma’s sword, the Malice, wakes, calling to be taken to battle once more.
But the Vagrant has found a home now, made a life and so he turns his back, ignoring its call.
The sword cries out, frustrated, until another answers.
Her name is Vesper.
Having taken a break from reading to knit I am pleased to say that I have at last read and finished The Malice, the second part of The Vagrant trilogy. It was a very good sequel even though it jumped through various perspectives with a little break between them but this perspective jumping didn’t damage the story in anyway, if anything it just made those scenarios even more vital.
The Malice follows Vesper – now a teenager – as she, the Malice and a goat kid travel to the Breach. The Vagrant has abandoned the Malice and taken up goat rearing in a small village outside of the Shining City with Harm and Vesper and when the Malice awakes, Vesper answers Gamma’s call to arms.
She’s understandably nervous and very afraid of the steps she is taking to fulfil the wishes of Obeisance and The Seven who, though immortal, still sleep. She joins forces with some old faces and some new, most noticeably a Harmonised called Duet – two halves of one person – an infernal, a Dogspawn and a human tainted by the infernal; these people join her on her mission to save the world by travelling with her to and from the Breach – Duet through thick and thin – the infernal, the Dogspawn and the tainted human come home with her from The Breach.
Vesper makes many new steps in making The Empire a better place and she uses the Malice for good, not for the eradication of infernals. In Verdigris she makes a shocking discovery after several tense moments previously and it is that moment when I realised that although Vesper was a smidgen more of a child than I expected her to be considering her father she’s fucking badass for a kid. She makes deals with the right people for the right reasons and doesn’t do what she’s told, she rebels but rebels for a reason not because she can.
I really liked the flashback sections from over a thousand years ago, with a character called Massassi who starts off as effectively a slave and evolves into a badass in her own right with a wicked smart brain and some cool powers of “observation”. Those chapters of Massassi were a whole different ballgame to the rest of the story and they were very insightful into how the Empire became how it is.
The writing style was very similar to before with a nice even flow to it and a nice balance of prose vs dialogue, some witty banter and tough characters made the book a great follow on from The Vagrant. I’m currently reading The Seven the final instalment to the trilogy.