I absolutely loved this sequel to “The Vagrant”, which was one of my most unexpectedly loved books of all time. In The Malice, we follow Vesper, the baby from the first book all grown up, as she runs away with the living sword of Gamma, and realises she now has a burden to save the world from the Breach.
It’s less horror than the first book, filled with more comedy thanks to a new goat, and seemingly more self aware now. There are still moments when the depravity and darkness of the world presses against the reader though, and those moments serve to remind us of exactly what’s at stake and how bad the world has become. The continual conflict between Gamma’s bearers and her apathetic sibling gods is a powerful and subtly underlining aspect to this series, and it’ll be interesting to see this conflict come to a head in the next book.
With some extra backstory chapters thrown in to flesh out the history of the Breach and the Empire itself, the lore is starting to build into a more cohesive piece than the initially vague backstory of the first novel. These flashbacks also serve to throw the Empire into a different light, and really play into The Malice’s theme that not all internals are evil – and that not every righteous soldier is inherently good.
Overall I really loved The Malice, and can’t wait to see where the series goes in the third novel, The Seven, releasing April of 2017.
4 goats out of 5!