The Cost of Haven, by F.F. McCulligan
Characters: * * * * *
Writing Mechanics: * * *
Traditional fantasy set in a world that is being overrun with evil forces and vast armies of the undead, where even the afterlife is at risk. A former knight, a former pirate turned “trader” (aka smuggler), his butler, and a mysterious masked guard join forces with a troop of dragon riders and a group of refugees to take on corrupt rulers and try to hold off the undead armies threatening to overcome one of the three cities left standing in the known lands.
I really enjoyed the main characters in this book. Each one is individual, well-rounded, and engaging, and, unusual in a lot of fantasy, they’re all adults of mature years. I especially enjoyed the touch of romance between two of them; even people with some gray in their hair can still fall in love! The villains were deliciously nasty.
It’s filled with exciting fight scenes (that are also kind of gross; they’re battling against “rotters” aka zombies) where you don’t know how the main characters will ever get out of it, but their courage and cleverness serve them well.
Some of the fights and battles do seem to go on kind of long, and sometimes it’s kind of hard to tell what’s happening. There are places where the writing could be clarified a little, and also some issues with comma usage.
Overall, The Cost of Haven is a fun and exciting fantasy about the battle between good – if ordinary – people and the relentless forces of evil with enjoyable characters, and an ending that leaves you wanting more.