As if the continued adventures of Harry Dresden weren’t grim enough for me, my next book was The Blighted City, a dark fantasy novel dealing with a legendary city of the undead. Since it’s been a little while since I’ve read a proper dark fantasy, so I was definitely looking forward to it.
The Blighted City follows three mercenaries, Oriken, Jalis and Dagra, who are given a job to retrieve a burial jewel from Lachyla, a city known only in stories. Supposedly the city’s king angered the goddess of Life and Death, who cursed the city with a blight that converted the citizens into the undead. Dagra, who is a great believer in the gods, is dead-set against going, convinced that they’ll be cursed if they set foot in Lachyla. But his friends convince him to go, against his better judgement, and they soon find that there may be more to the stories than they first assumed.
It took me a while to really sink my teeth into The Blighted City. I’m not sure what it was, but it wasn’t until the narrative had really entered Lachyla that it picked up for me. While there’s a lot about the story that I liked, primarily some interesting worldbuilding around the city of Lachyla, I found some of the pacing to be a bit off. Like I said, the stuff in the city was great, but the sections covering the journeys to and from there could possibly have benefited from being less detailed. While the travelling covered some nice character interaction between the members of the mercenary party, the narrative spent long enough on the outward journey that it started feeling repetitive and claustrophobic, and then the journey back perhaps wrapped things up in more detail than I am accustomed.
With regards to the city itself, it looks into an interesting variation on how the undead work in this world, especially the origins of said undead. It’s certainly a world that I would be interested in returning to and see how Lachyla has changed.
The Blighted City is a cool variation on your standard fantasy undead lore, and a fun adventure while the characters are in the city of Lachyla itself. I personally found the build-up and wrap-up were a bit over-long and over-detailed, but that might not bother you so much. 3.5/5
Next review: Night Huntress by Mak Long