Friday, August 8, 2014

Ignifer's Rise by Michael John Grist - Review and Giveaway

This review is in conjunction with a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Michael will be awarding an autographed print copy of Ignifer's Rise to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter.

The fate of the world is written in scars. In a bleak industrial city where marks in skin are a sentence to death, Sen is a child condemned. Cursed with mysterious scars carved by his own mother's hand, he leads a fearful hidden life in the city's last abbey.

Then the King's brutal Adjunc attack, and Sen barely escapes with his life. Lost and alone in the city's dark hinterlands, he begins an exhilarating race to find the truth behind his scars. In stinking black sewers and the lava-buried ruins of an ancient civilization, he uncovers a truth far stranger than he ever imagined, laid out by his long-dead mother: an apocalypse god is rising, and only the legendary hero Saint Ignifer can stop it.

But Saint Ignifer is dead.

Revolution rocks the city. The blood of all castes runs in the streets. With a storm of new faith raging out from the barricades, Sen must embrace the terrible fate his mother wrote in his scars- in the volcano's caldera, at the end of the world- before the black jaws of the apocalypse descend. For the Rot is coming, and the Saint must rise.

Read the review:

Mr. Grist has put together an epic saga that has some pretty amazing world building. The book starts out with a bang--the world is being destroyed by the Rot and Avia is desperate to save her son-- but we don't truly know why until much later in the book.

The book is very much a coming of age novel in a way. Sen is desperate to know why his mother scarred his body and what she saw of his future. However, she's not around to ask, having died when he was only four years old. He's now fourteen and the life as he knows it is about to change--a change prophesied by his mother, who chose from five different castes to come to the convent and be with him. He doesn't understand the profound changes they will make in his life and his thinking.

Once truths start coming to light, Sen realizes he has a mission before he can fully understand what's going on and what his part in the world is.

As I said, this is a remarkable feat of world building and Mr. Grist's prose is almost lyrical. The characters (and there are many) are well drawn and memorable. Even though the book is long (over 400 pages) it's never boring or dragging.

Once Sen discovers the complete truth and sees his role in the future, it's heart-wrenching to see what he goes through to put things right. The emotions are there--the reader feels what each of the characters feel and is actually there with them.

This the first of a series--this reader is very excited to find a new author to satisfy her fantasy cravings. Good job, Mr. Grist. 5 stars.

 Enjoy an excerpt:

Sometime after his four hundredth posting he saw the creature clearly for the first time.

In the distance over a dawn-dappled roof-rise, it was an insect-thin figure bowed beneath a bulbous sack, tearing at a posting stuck to a foundry's brick wall. Sen's heart lurched with a sickening double beat, then he dropped his pack and bucket of paste, sprinted to the cornice, slid hand over hand down an anchored revelatory tube, and landed near where the creature was scrabbling.

It turned slowly, and for a moment Sen's knees weakened as he met its Sectile eyes.

A Spider.

The caste was Unforgiven, excised in the city for centuries as a monster. He'd only ever heard of them in the legends of Saint Ignifer, but here it stood before him, fear blooming off it. Its shaggy black head was monstrous, too large for its shrunken body, blooming with bulbous compound eyes. Within its lipless black mouth waggled only dark stubs, where long mandibles should have protruded. It stood on two stick-thin Sectile-limbs, with two raised to the wall, while only bulges within its brown mocking coat hinted at its remaining four limbs.

Sen stared at it, and it stared at him, the moment stretching out in the pink dawn light.

"What are you?" Sen asked at last.

The sound broke the spell, and the Spider hurled its sack of papers down and took off down the nearest alleyway.

Sen sprinted after it. His feet hammered the cobblestones, his arms pumped, and the strange Spider bolted along with an awkward and rolling grace, its four limbs twisting in unnatural ways. It turned left onto a hawking street just beginning to fill with morning crowds, sped amongst them like water through a sieve, never losing pace as it darted left and right, always ahead.

About the Author:
Michael John Grist is a 34-year old British writer and ruins photographer who lives in Tokyo, Japan. He writes dark and surreal science fiction and fantasy, inspired by authors such as David Gemmell and Orson Scott Card.

In his free time he explores and photographs abandoned places around the world, such as ruined theme parks, military bases, underground bunkers, and ghost towns. These explores have drawn millions of visitors to his website: and often provide inspiration for his fiction.

You can buy Ignifer's Rise on Amazon and Amazon UK. Sign up for his releases newsletter. Friend him on Facebook. a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you very much for the review- I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I'll be working on the sequels very shortly, pretty excited to dig into them after taking about a year off to recover from writing this :)

  2. I really liked the review...sounds like a great book!


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