The Daylight War (Demon Cycle #3)

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The Daylight War Book Cover The Daylight War
Demon Cycle
Peter V. Brett
Random House Del Rey
February 12, 2013

On the night of the new moon, the demons rise in force, seeking the deaths of two men both of whom have the potential to become the fabled Deliverer, the man prophesied to reunite the scattered remnants of humanity in a final push to destroy the demon corelings once and for all.

Arlen Bales was once an ordinary man, but now he has become something more—the Warded Man, tattooed with eldritch wards so powerful they make him a match for any demon. Arlen denies he is the Deliverer at every turn, but the more he tries to be one with the common folk, the more fervently they believe. Many would follow him, but Arlen’s path threatens to lead him to a dark place he alone can travel to, and from which there may be no returning.

The only one with hope of keeping Arlen in the world of men, or joining him in his descent into the world of demons, is Renna Tanner, a fierce young woman in danger of losing herself to the power of demon magic.

Ahmann Jardir has forged the warlike desert tribes of Krasia into a demon-killing army and proclaimed himself Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer. He carries ancient weapons--a spear and a crown--that give credence to his claim, and already vast swaths of the green lands bow to his control.

But Jardir did not come to power on his own. His rise was engineered by his First Wife, Inevera, a cunning and powerful priestess whose formidable demon bone magic gives her the ability to glimpse the future. Inevera’s motives and past are shrouded in mystery, and even Jardir does not entirely trust her.

Once Arlen and Jardir were as close as brothers. Now they are the bitterest of rivals. As humanity’s enemies rise, the only two men capable of defeating them are divided against each other by the most deadly demons of all--those lurking in the human heart.


The Demon Cycle continues in The Daylight War, marking the halfway point of the series. This book is a bit different from its predecessors, showcasing once again how Peter V. Brett is not afraid to mix things up a little. The Warded Man was the opening story, introducing his world and the characters and magic it contains. The Desert Spear expanded on character development and hammered home the point that humans will fight each other even with the ever-looming demon threat. The Daylight War still focuses heavily on the characters as the gears their actions put in motion continue to turn.

Whereas the first book began with the perspectives of main characters, readers get to see more POVs throughout this series. Even relatively minor characters get a chapter here and there to enhance their characterization. But the main characters are still facing challenges themselves. Arlen must make hard choices as people begin to deify him after years spent on the road alone. Old relationships will be tested as new ones are forged and his faith is tested as events force him to wonder whether some people are worth saving. Without spoiling anything, it is nice to see some characters from book 1 return instead of being forgotten forever.

While Arlen is an amazing character, the others are not sitting idle during his adventures. Leesha finds herself thrust into a leadership position and all of the responsibilities that come with it. Rojer learns more of his own talents and the impact they could have in combating demons. The Krasian characters continue their crusade, determined to unite humanity (by force) under a single banner before waging a true war against the demons. In particular, readers will learn more about Inevera and her fellow Dama’tings. Outwardly, Krasia may seem like a male-dominated culture, but events behind the scenes are rarely the same.

Characterization is clearly one of Brett’s strong points as a writer and it shows throughout the series. In the first book, mere months before The Daylight War, humans could do almost nothing to demons. The Krasians were fighting a losing war and everyone else hid in their homes nightly. Now, demons can be killed as easily as game animals can be hunted. These people can suddenly fight back for the first time in centuries, let alone within living memory. For the first time in eons, they have hope. But with the power that brings that hope about, so too will they find hardship, pain, sadness, love, joy, and more than they ever expected in this brave new world.

August 18, 2019

The Many Adventures of Peter and Fi Volume I: Homecoming

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The Many Adventures of Peter and Fi Volume I: Homecoming Book Cover The Many Adventures of Peter and Fi Volume I: Homecoming
The Many Adventures of Peter and Fi
Kelvyn Fernandes
December 14, 2018

Follow Peter and Fi as they work together, each searching for something uniquely special to them through the four kingdoms of their known world. It’s a tale of fantastical beasts, peculiar characters, remarkable settings, and a unique brand of biochemistry-based magic. A story that focuses on meaningful character interactions, delicate world building, and intense action battles.

She emerged within a dark sea of green, shielding her eyes against the crescent moon’s pale blaze. The twinkling stars hummed softly, discordant against the chattering birds below. The lush leaves rippled in the breeze, tempting Fi to dip her toes in for a swim. The wind blew at her back and she turned east to face it. The fresh air carried the salty spray of the Shimmering Sea. Although she could not see it, she knew it was right there. Her ears caught the distant waves crashing against the shore. One last step. She thought.


The Many Adventures of Peter and Fi was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

When author Kelvyn Fernandes contacted me, I was unfamiliar with his work. But the pretty cover art of Peter and Fi attracted my curiosity plus I am looking for new fantasy stories. Thanks to an e-reader I borrowed from a buddy, I had the means to read the story as well. It had been a while since I had read a brand-new fantasy novel that people were not already talking about. Going in blind was a refreshing change of pace for me that led to pleasant surprises with this story.

In any fantasy story, early world-building is critical. Told from the perspectives of Peter and Fi, readers learn quite a bit from their casual conversation. While there is a lot of information about relevant monsters and magic, it quickly becomes apparent that the world at large is a much bigger place filled with mystery and mystique. Several major countries exist and sort-of get along while implementing a fairly standard peasant-noble system found in fantasy worlds. The world they live in is a dangerous place, despite the advantages provided to society by magic.

While the cover art is bright and vibrant, almost giving the sense of a Young Adult story, Peter and Fi has its dark moments. In a dangerous fantasy world full of monsters, humans are not always at the top of the food chain. This is something touched on in graphic detail in certain parts of the story. And in cities and towns where humanity reigns supreme, people can be crueler and cutthroat than a simple hungry beast. This is a world where safety is a relative term. It is more like being “safer” than “safe”, with potential danger around many corners.

There are many characters throughout this story, but most are only present for a handful of chapters. Peter and Fi themselves are the ones who consistently have a role to play, this being their story after all. Peter is a 20-year old mage, holding the title of Bubble Mage. In this world, every mage has unique magic. Peter’s title may seem underwhelming, but his creativity and magical aptitude make him truly worthy of being a mage. Fi is a 14-year old girl who is quick on her feet and ready to wallop foes. While her youth shows from time to time, the life she has lived has made her a survivor. The pair of them are as close as siblings as they journey throughout the world on their mysterious journey in this fantastical adventure.

August 11, 2019

Mixing Media – Mini Guest Post by Kelvyn Fernandes

Published Post author

Prior to my usual weekly post, we have a special guest post from the author of tomorrow’s reviewed book, The Many Adventures of Peter and Fi Volume 1: Homecoming. So take it away, Mr. Fernandes.


Hi, my name is Kelvyn Fernandes, author of The Many Adventures of Peter and Fi and I wanted to share an interesting method I use to better enjoy the content I take in which I also happen to use as a means of improving my writing!

I thoroughly enjoy consuming all forms of media. Be it movies, programs, music, comics, books, etc, I like to finish something start to end and then sit back to analyze what I just experienced. Was I able to understand the meaning the creator intended? Did the artist do a good job of expressing their message to me? Were the methods they used effective at delivering that message? And I’ve noticed, and subsequently learned to look out for, how one medium can encourage other media to evolve.

Of course, old films influence new films and old books influence new books. But it’s interesting to see how Marvel’s films lift scenes directly from comic panels or how the Uncharted video game series takes cues from Indiana Jones. The obvious connections are pretty easy to spot once
you start looking, but there are thousands of other subtle influences also woven into each work that you’ll never discover. Musical influences that inspire costume design, color gradients that inspire settings, vocabulary choices that take a life of their own to inspire new characters. All of these can be found when looking at one form of art and applying its lessons to another. And I’ve slowly learned how to take this approach with my work as well.

Adapting the way a manga fight is framed into the way I want my own fight scenes to flow. Adapting the cadence of a sinister score to the flow and delivery of my words to build tension as the plot unravels. Adapting the way video games gradually teach you how their mechanics work to the way I slowly reveal how characters’ powers interact with the world. Every piece of media I consume adds to the library of influences I keep with me and lets me enjoy each new morsel that much more. And each new experience provides a new lens from which I can step back and view my own writing journey.

I do hope you take a chance on The Many Adventures of Peter and Fi, and perhaps even add my story to your own growing library of influences!

Author Bio
Kelvyn Fernandes decided to follow his dream of becoming an author after graduating from McMaster University with a degree in Biochemistry. He enjoys traveling and going on adventures, with his favorite pastime being back-country canoeing in Algonquin Park. He uses both his experiences with nature and education in the sciences to shape the world of the stories
he writes.

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August 10, 2019

D&D 5e Starter Set (The Lost Mines of Phandelver)

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Starter Set (Lost Mines of Phandelver) Book Cover Starter Set (Lost Mines of Phandelver)
Dungeons & Dragons
James Wyatt
Wizards of the Coast
July 15, 2014

Explore subterranean labyrinths! Plunder hoards of treasure! Battle legendary monsters!

The Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set is your gateway to action-packed stories of the imagination. This box contains the essential rules of the game plus everything you need to play heroic characters on perilous adventures in worlds of fantasy.

Ideal for a group of 4 – 6, the Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set includes a 64-page adventure book with everything the Dungeon Master needs to get started, a 32-page rulebook for playing characters level 1 – 5, 5 pregenerated characters, each with a character sheet and supporting reference material, and 6 dice.


A friend of mine convinced me to start playing Dungeons & Dragons last fall. He had been trying to get me to play for years (if you’re reading this, you know who you are) and I finally said yes when his group needed another person or their game was not going to happen. My reason for not playing D&D up until then was not because I had something against it. It was because I knew I would jump in feet first and lose time on other hobbies. And I was right. Six months later, I talked with the same friend and decided to start another game with myself as the Dungeon Master (DM) running things for the players. This being a first-time experience for myself and some of the players, we decided to work with the Starter Set and the adventure it comes with, The Lost Mines of Phandelver.

The premise of this adventure is that a dwarf discovers a legendary lost mine where magic items were made many years ago. He hires the players to bring him supplies and rides ahead to a nearby town. On the way, he is ambushed and captured by some baddies who also want the mine. The story begins in earnest with the group being attacked by goblins on the road. This adventure takes place in the Forgotten Realms, the world where all the pre-made D&D adventures (modules) happen within the D&D multiverse. At least for the current version of D&D (5e). It is not too long of an adventure and takes the players from level 1 to level 5. My group finished it in about 3 months with the group meeting once a week for 4-5 hours at a time. Overall, it was an extremely positive experience for our whole group.

Since the players can do anything (within reason), there is only so much this book can cover. There were multiple times my group did things not covered by the book and I had to improvise. Plus a few extra challenges I made up as we went along to keep my players on their toes. But from my total newbie players to my seasoned veterans, everyone had a good time. Including me, as a first-time DM. While I have not played any other D&D modules (yet), my experience with The Lost Mines of Phandelver was nothing but positive. I highly recommend it for any group of D&D players, whether you are new to the game like me or a seasoned player who wants to enjoy a low-stakes adventure.

August 4, 2019


Published Post author

Poster for the movie "Crawl"


They were here first

20191 h 27 min

While struggling to save her father during a Category 5 hurricane, a young woman finds herself trapped inside a flooding house and fighting for her life against Florida’s most savage and feared predators.

Director Alexandre Aja
Runtime 1 h 27 min
Release Date 11 July 2019
Movie Media Cinema
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very good

I have seen a lot of horror movies (1,103 by my count, at the time of this writing). Of those, Crawl is one of the better ones I have come across. Definitely within the top 10% of everything I have slogged through over the years. Monster movies are my favorite sub-genre of horror and nothing beats the simplicity of a large, hungry animal. A primal fight of man vs. nature echoing what our ancestors did before humanity rose to the top of the food chain. Moreover, an event like an alligator attack is something that could really happen. Any horror movie featuring a plausible real-world event is always scarier for it.

The plot of this film is very simple: a woman goes to check on her father as a hurricane comes in only for the two to be trapped in the crawlspace under the family home by hungry gators. While the alligators are the obvious, imminent threat, the floodwaters are also rising. The clocking is ticking as the pair tries to figure out a way past these prehistoric monsters before drowning. This all leads to a great sense of suspense that was well crafted into a story of survival.

The daughter, Haley (Kaya Scodelario) and her father, Dave (Barry Pepper), are somewhat estranged at the start of the film. This happens a lot in monster movies like Crawl, with the survival event forcing the characters to make peace. While there are a few other characters in the film, they only appear in a scene or two. Mostly as gator bait. The real focus here is on the relationship between a daughter and her father (and their dog, Sugar [Cso-Cso]). It is very rare to see this level of acting in a Creature Feature, let alone with a great story.

That being said, this is a horror movie. Audiences should go in with a sense of disbelief. The key factor here is the characters wading through floodwaters with open wounds. Disease is as much of a real threat as floodwaters and alligators. The gators themselves, however, are portrayed very accurately. Crawl takes place in Florida, which is where most recorded fatal alligator attacks in the US have occurred. Alligators are one of the few animals that can and will hunt humans. These ambush predators are large, powerful, and in their element in the water. Putting people in the water, out of our own element, always makes for a scarier monster movie. While Crawl was not perfect, it is one of the best suspense/thrillers to hit theaters in the last decade.

July 28, 2019

Prodigal Son (Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein #1)

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Prodigal Son Book Cover Prodigal Son
Dean Koontz's Frankenstein
Dean Koontz
January 25, 2005

From the celebrated imagination of Dean Koontz comes a powerful reworking of one of the classic stories of all time. If you think you know the story, you know only half the truth. Get ready for the mystery, the myth, the terror, and the magic of…

Dean Koontz's Prodigal Son

Every city has secrets. But none as terrible as this. His name is Deucalion, a tattooed man of mysterious origin, a sleight-of-reality artist who’s traveled the centuries with a secret worse than death. He arrives as a serial killer stalks the streets, a killer who carefully selects his victims for the humanity that is missing in himself. Detective Carson O’Connor is cool, cynical, and every bit as tough as she looks. Her partner Michael Maddison would back her up all the way to Hell itself–and that just may be where this case ends up. For the no-nonsense O’Connor is suddenly talking about an ages-old conspiracy, a near immortal race of beings, and killers that are more—and less—than human. Soon it will be clear that as crazy as she sounds, the truth is even more ominous. For their quarry isn’t merely a homicidal maniac—but his deranged maker.


Prodigal Son kicks off Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein series, which already had some history prior to this book. Originally, this story was a made-for-TV movie intended to launch a television series. But other members of the project wanting to change many of Koontz’s ideas eventually resulted in Koontz leaving the project. The film landed squarely in B-movie territory and flopped, so the TV show follow-up was never made. In the aftermath, Koontz decided to rework the story into novels to keep his ideas the way he wanted them. He did still work with a partner though; this first book was co-authored by Kevin J. Anderson.

There have been many, many retellings of Frankenstein over the years. Innumerable authors, film directors, and more have put their own spins on Mary Shelley’s classic story. Dean Koontz’s story takes a bit of a different approach in that regard. Instead of retelling the classic tale, he creates a modern-day sequel. In this world, the events of Shelley’s book did actually happen…mostly. The characters point out Shelley heard the events secondhand and took some liberties when writing her book. While Koontz’s version still holds to the fact that The Monster is the man and Dr. Frankenstein is the real monster, it is blunter and more obvious.

Victor Frankenstein has redubbed himself Victor Helios and spent his two centuries of life working to replace man. He envisions a world of beings that he has crafted to his own vision of perfection with himself as the mad-scientist-god ruling them all. Helios still creates monsters in the form of men, but with sophisticated future-tech of his own design. They look and act like real people even as a yearning to exterminate mankind burns within them. But the return of Victor’s first creation marks the start of his careful plans unraveling at the seams.

Dubbing himself Deucalion, The Monster learns of Victor’s survival and comes to stop his demented creator. At the same time, two New Orleans detectives start to learn of Victor’s mad schemes through a series of crimes. With killers both natural and man-made on the loose, it could only be a matter of time before New Orleans becomes a battlefield. The book jumps around between the perspectives of all these characters and more, giving readers a direct insight into an array of emotions ranging from nobility to outright inhumanity. Prodigal Son is only the first part of a series and it shows. There are many unanswered questions by the end of the story. More dangers in the dark as the battle to stop Dr. Frankenstein’s New Race rages on.

July 21, 2019

On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington #1)

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On Basilisk Station Book Cover On Basilisk Station
Honor Harrington
David Weber
Baen Books
April 1992

Honor Harrington in trouble: Having made him look the fool, she's been exiled to Basilisk Station in disgrace and set up for ruin by a superior who hates her. Her demoralized crew blames her for their ship's humiliating posting to an out-of-the-way picket station. The aborigines of the system's only habitable planet are smoking homicide-inducing hallucinogens. Parliament isn't sure it wants to keep the place; the major local industry is smuggling, the merchant cartels want her head; the star-conquering, so-called "Republic" of Haven is Up to Something; and Honor Harrington has a single, over-age light cruiser with an armament that doesn't work to police the entire star system.

But the people out to get her have made one mistake.

They've made her mad!


On Basilisk Station was a heck of a way to kick off a series. While it may not be the #1 military sci-fi series I have read, it certainly competes with others at the top of the list. The first thing that sticks out is its relatability. Despite being centuries of the future in space, On Basilisk Station shares many similarities with older stories of wooden ships with soldiers, sailors, and pirates. David Weber accomplishes this in a few different ways. One of which is the sci-fi technology, which forces ship-to-ship combat to resemble ocean warfare. Another is the cultural aspects of the space nations. And of course, the personalities of the central characters.

Many great sci-fi series have some unique bit of technology that makes them stick out. On Basilisk Station shows this via a combination of how the ships move and defend themselves. Each ship uses gravity waves generated above and below the ships as “sails” to move through space. These gravity alterations are so strong they also serve as shields against enemy fire. In a nutshell, it means ships have to be hit from the sides during combat. Just like in older naval stories. Weber came up with a unique explanation to play homage to 2D battles in a 3D environment using this technology.

Not many nations are mentioned in this first book alone, but the majority of them seem to be space versions of real countries. For example, the main protagonists are members of the Royal Manticore Navy. Manticore is heavily based on Great Britain with its government, culture, and military organization. Likewise, the antagonist nation the Republic of Haven is based on France. Weber provides explanations for these similarities within the story and it goes to show how even centuries later and light-years apart, history repeats itself.

Being the first book, On Basilisk Station focuses heavily on developing Honor Harrington’s character. Honor comes across as a bit of a Mary Sue, but her name also seems to be her doctrine. She is smart, loyal, courageous, and an upstanding military officer. That is not to say she is without flaws, she does have a temper, but her pros far outweigh her cons. This is inadvertently what leads into the plot as her skills and professionalism ends up angering a superior officer with a less developed sense of ethics. But throughout the story, Honor shows time and again that she can succeed even when set up as the underdog. I cannot wait to see what happens when she goes into a battle properly prepared.

July 14, 2019

The Desert Spear (Demon Cycle #2)

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The Desert Spear Book Cover The Desert Spear
Demon Cycle
Peter V. Brett
Del Rey
April 13, 2010

The sun is setting on humanity. The night now belongs to voracious demons that prey upon a dwindling population forced to cower behind half-forgotten symbols of power.

Legends tell of a Deliverer: a general who once bound all mankind into a single force that defeated the demons. But is the return of the Deliverer just another myth? Perhaps not.

Out of the desert rides Ahmann Jardir, who has forged the desert tribes into a demon-killing army. He has proclaimed himself Shar'Dama Ka, the Deliverer, and he carries ancient weapons--a spear and a crown--that give credence to his claim.

But the Northerners claim their own Deliverer: the Warded Man, a dark, forbidding figure.

Once, the Shar'Dama Ka and the Warded Man were friends. Now they are fierce adversaries. Yet as old allegiances are tested and fresh alliances forged, all are unaware of the appearance of a new breed of demon, more intelligent—and deadly—than any that have come before.


The Desert Spear puts a different spin on the standard tropes of fantasy writing. Going into this book, readers may assume the POVs will still to Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer from The Warded Man. Instead, much of this story focuses on Jardir, Arlen’s former friend from the beginning of the last book. A significant portion of The Desert Spear focuses on Jardir. Essentially his whole life is covered, from early childhood to the present day. That being said, it takes a while. Jardir’s backstory covers the first 200-ish pages of this book. It is a bit daunting, but the story continues in earnest from there.

Getting a sense of Jardir’s backstory benefits the audience twofold. Through his eyes, readers learn a lot more about Krasia’s culture. While it is reminiscent of the Middle East, there are some differences. We get to see the mindset of the only people left who still regularly fight the demons. Their history plays a large part in this, as does their sense of honor. Readers will learn why, despite his honor, Jardir betrayed Arlen. As well as whose actions besides Jardir’s manipulated these events and pushed Krasia north.

Jardir is not the only new POV in The Desert Spear either. Whereas The Warded Man had three POVs, this book kicks it up to eight. Most of these are familiar characters from the first book, but there are some new faces too. Despite all the new character development, it does not mean the original trio are on the backburner. This is the point in the story where the world starts to change. It started with Arlen but is growing as more and more people become involved. All their actions will soon change the world order across the five nations.

As the world starts to change, strife begins growing between the human nations. The first book did briefly mention some political turmoil between the countries. But new events are starting to scale those conflicts from political turmoil to military action. Even in a world where monsters hunt men every night, people still fight among themselves. And that is not to say that the demons are standing idle either. As the first book’s epilogue showed us, some demons are more than powerful animals. They are intelligent, watching, and prepared to ensure humanity does not become a threat. Time will tell to what extent humans and demons alike are successful.

July 7, 2019

Men In Black: International

Published Post author

Poster for the movie ""

Men in Black: International

The universe is expanding

20191 h 55 min

The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.

Director F. Gary Gray
Runtime 1 h 55 min
Release Date 12 June 2019
Movie Media Cinema
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Good

Wow, Thor and Valkyrie got into some zany adventures in that 5-year time skip during Endgame. Or maybe this is one of those alternate timelines they accidentally-maybe-probably created. Jokes aside though, Men in Black: International was a just a fun movie. Is this going to win any awards? Heck no. Was it a fun summer film to see on discount night at my local theater? You bet it was. If you are a person who wants every movie they see to be on par with films like Inception or Schindler’s List, turn back now. That is not what this film is, that is not what it was trying to be, that is not what it claims to be. It is a fun summer romp, nothing more and nothing less.

For starters, audiences do not need to have seen the previous Men in Black films to understand this one. There are a fair number of references to the old films, but nothing essential. All you need to know is that there is a secret agency that deals with aliens on Earth. That is really the only pre-requisite information here. So long as you are prepared for a casual summer movie (think Hancock), Men in Black: International will be a good time.

Let us take a look at the plot of the film. The general premise is that a bad alien wants the MacGuffin and if they get it, Earth will be destroyed. So…the same plot as the first three MiB movies, got it. Not that there is anything wrong with that. If it works, it works. And clearly, the MiB agency should be used to these situations by now. With the plot being so basic, the essence of the film really boils down to the writing and characters.

This movie is on the sillier side of things. Think Chris Hemsworth in Cabin in the Woods, not Chris Hemsworth as Thor. While many of the jokes are on the more light-hearted side, the film does not shy away from adult themes. Yes, this is a PG-13 film. But a PG-13 film today does not have the same standards as one made in the late ’90s. There is innuendo, there is cursing, and there are enough of these things that Men in Black: International could not quite be called a family movie. None of these things are subtle enough for kids to not catch them. For teenagers and up though (people who actually fit the PG-13 rating given by the Motion Picture Association of America), it is a great way to killing an evening this summer.

June 30, 2019

The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Vol. 1: Deus lo Vult

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The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Vol. 1: Deus lo Vult Book Cover The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Vol. 1: Deus lo Vult
The Saga of Tanya the Evil
Carlo Zen
Light Novel
Yen On
December 19, 2017 (USA); October 31, 2013 (Japan)

High above the blood- and mud-soaked trenches, a young girl pits herself against army mages in high stakes aerial duels with bullets, spells, and bayonets. Her name is Tanya Degurechaff and she is the Devil of the Rhine, one of the greatest soldiers the Empire has ever seen! But inside her mind lives a ruthless, calculating ex-salaryman who enjoyed a peaceful life in Japan until he woke up in a war-torn world. Reborn as a destitute orphaned girl with nothing to her name but memories of a previous life, Tanya will do whatever it takes to survive, even if she can find it only behind the barrel of a gun!


For a light novel, The Saga of Tanya the Evil focuses less on “light” and more on “novel”. Unlike most other light novels, these books are not quick reads. This series reads at the same pace as a regular novel with an equivalent page count. Readers who have watched the anime will notice the books start a little differently. The anime begins with a flashforward before going back and explaining previous events. The book, on the other hand, presents the information chronologically (for the most part). While reading this first volume, keep in mind the book’s title Deus Io Vult is the Catholic motto “God wills it” that was popular during the Crusades.

The structure of Deus Io Vult is a bit difficult to follow. New readers may have trouble picking up on Tanya’s circumstances in this strange new world. Tanya’s story starts in our world as a middle-aged Japanese salaryman. The circumstances of his death lead to reincarnation on an alternate Earth. As a baby girl. In a country that is essentially pre-WWI Germany. And (s)he grows up just in time to join the military just as the war starts kicking off. Gender pronouns are actually tricky with Tanya, as (s)he is physically female but still thinks of him/herself as a man.

Anyway, every good isekai (trapped in another world) series has something different that makes it stand out. In this case, it is the story being in the military genre. Most other isekai series take place in standard fantasy worlds with knights, wizards, and so forth. While magic does exist in this world, they are still on the level of WWI technology. Magic is just used to amplify that technology. For example, a magic-charged rifle bullet could have increased explosive force, allowing it to function as a mortar shell. The series presents a very unique mix of magic and not-quite-modern technology.

The writing style here is a bit clunky. There is a lot of detail in the world-building and story, making the book long-winded for a light novel. Tanya also frequently makes real-world references, with cliff notes at the bottoms of pages for readers unfamiliar with those topics. Overall, this is one of the better light novel series out there, especially for readers interested in military history. It is different from most other light novel series, so people looking for a quick read might be turned off. If you are on the fence for this one, I highly recommend checking out the anime first.

June 23, 2019