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Deserving of every accolade

Cover of The Will of the Many
A review of The Will of the Many by James Islington

I've been hearing great things about The Will of the Many for a while - which made me more reluctant to read it. I have this kind of reverse metric when it comes to buzzy books. If too many people are raving about a book, how good can it really be? That and it's a chonker of a book (639 pages!) had me on pause. I finally gave in when one more person, who likes many of the same things I do, gave it a rave. And now I'm both glad I waited and kicking myself for waiting so long. I'm glad because now I don't have as long a wait for book two and kicking myself because it really is that good.

In this fantasy novel, a combination of power games, political intrigue, and battling students at an elite academy make for complex world building in a system that is vaguely roman. Power in the Catenan Republic arises out of the ceding of will from people in lower classes to those in higher level positions. The more people that have ceded their will to an individual, the more powerful that individual is. This Hierarchy controls every facet of life. And that's a fact that drives Vis Telimus to resist ceding his will for as long as possible. Vis is an orphan who keeps his head down and tries to avoid notice. He's reaching his 18th birthday when he'll be forced to cede his will and isn't sure how he'll continue to resist. When he comes to the attention of powerful man, his life, and perhaps the future of the Caternan Republic will be altered forever.

I mentioned this is a long one. It is. But first it is so well-written, immediately engaging, and engrossing, that I barely noticed the length. And second, it was just so good, I didn't want it to end. So don't be like me and continue to wait. Read this now.

Jun 10, 2024