Okay, so I read this book a year ago, and I could have sworn I had reviewed it here, but since I can’t find the review, you probably can’t either. And since the second installment is out and ready for my greedy eyes, let me tell you about this first book in the Sigilord Chronicles. Because obviously I just read it again in preparation for reading the second book. Right? You do that, don’t you?
I like to have the story fresh in my mind, and if I can’t binge read a series because all of the books aren’t out yet, I will re-read all of the books until I get to the last one. It’s what I do. And I am so. freaking. glad I had to re-read The Fifth Vertex. Don’t let the cover fool you–when I first picked it up I was just sure it was going to be a graphic novel (of which, admittedly, I am not a fan. Picture books are for children). The sheer pleasure of the surprise of it being the genuine article–a fully-imagined world where magic and multiverses collide with the best and worst of human nature–well, that’s the stuff.
In this first installment, we meet Urus Noeller, a young man who was born deaf in a warrior society. At his introduction, he is lamenting his failure to pass the warrior tests of his society, contemplating taking his own life rather than be culled–branded and outcast. He climbs a high building, intending to jump many stories to the desert sands on which his city is built. He jumps. He lands. In a pool of blue light. He lives.
What follows is a heart-pounding race to stop Blood Mages from finding and destroying 5 vertices that protect Urus’s entire world and universes beyond. He meets Murin, a strange and mysterious man who looks nothing like anyone Urus has ever seen, and Cailix, maybe the most bad-ass female character ever written into a fantasy. He discovers he has power of his own–that the blue light he landed in when he jumped from the roof is his own brand of magic. And he takes on the responsibility of saving multiple worlds.
Hoffman is one hell of a character developer. He has written a complex story that never gets too complicated to understand, because it is character-driven. His characters are unique and interesting and unfailingly human. I love how he never forgets to use Urus’s deafness as part of the plot, how the individual attributes of each character contribute to the story with verve.
Because I loved (and loved to hate) everyone in this tale, I can’t wait to dig into the second book, Blood Sigil. I’ll let you know next week if it holds up.
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