When the citizens of Black Keep see ships on the horizon, terror takes them, for they know who is coming: for generations, Black Keep has been raided by the fearsome clanspeople of Iwernia. Saddling their war dragons, the Naridans rush to defend their home only to discover that the clanspeople have not come to pillage at all. Driven from their own homeland by the rise of a daemonic despot who prophesies the end of the world, they have come in search of a new home. Meanwhile the wider continent of Narida is lurching toward war. Black Keep is about to be caught in the cross-fire of the coming war for the world – if only its new mismatched society can survive.
The Black Coast is one of the biggest books I’ve read for a long time. Often I’ll look at the size of a book and think that maybe I don’t have time to spend on such a chonky tome given the state of my TBR pile. But in this case I was invited to take part in the blog tour, thought that book sounds great! War dragons! Daemonic despots! Shenanigans!
Then the book turned up and it was (and indeed is) huuuuge, clocking in at nearly 650 pages.
Reader, I need not have worried. Yes, it took me a week to read rather than a weekend, but it was so worth it. Yes, there are a lot of characters to remember, and a lot of interweaving plots (and the aforementioned shenanigans). But it reminded me what I love about epic fantasy. The worldbuilding is splendid, told through the eyes of multiple characters. Saana, the chief of the raiders on the lookout for a new place to settle. Daimon, law-son of the leader of the Black Keep, who sees the approaching fleet and must battle with his conscience and family. Jeya, young thief who finds the purse she picked belongs to someone far different from who she expected.
And that’s just a few of the characters we follow through the book. There are war dragons, battles, skulduggery and political chicanery. The story looks at prejudice and what it means to change your mind, to look at things from another’s point of view and see that deep down, we’re all just people. It’s not done in a heavy-handed way, but feels like a natural part of the story.
The Black Coast by Mike Brooks is published by Orbit Books and is out now. Many thanks to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part in the blog tour, and to Nazia Khatun from Orbit Books for the advance copy to review.