Quick Review: The Vile Realm
Considering how simple, for lack of a better term, the previous two books are, I most definitely didn’t expect the adventures of Marigold the barbarian to continue in this manner! I mean, The Vile Realm is actual fantasy, it takes place over two worlds, or perhaps even three, and hints at many others, some of the worldbuilding goes beyond what’d be strictly necessary, the antagonist is among the most powerful that any heroes could ever face, and Marigold’s character develops to an extent and in a direction that may be the most shocking of all, especially when there had been little reason to expect character development at all. And that’s not at the expense of the battles against overwhelming odds, which don’t only remain thrilling, but now even take place on multiple levels.
Still, it took me a while to realize that I should be paying more attention, and I don’t know how much of the blame for that is the book’s and how much is mine. But the amount of suspension of disbelief required remains unreasonable, and a scope that suddenly expanded to a level that’s incomparable to that of the previous books only makes the presentation feel even more confining. Admittedly, it does make a limited amount of worldbuilding seem to go a long way, but it remains far too limited, while the moments when more details are poured in are information dumps that may seem difficult and maybe even unnecessary to follow. And I could have really done without the bad art, my mental images being much, much better. Plus that the conclusion doesn’t even feel like one, being too early, too sudden, with too little impact, and followed by far too many pages depicting the aftermath, again focusing strictly on the characters.