Review: Kroll (Chapters 1-5)
Kroll: Magnificence opens and throws us directly into the action, setting up an intriguing cast of characters and laying the groundwork for what promises to be a fast-paced fantasy adventure. Kroll struck me immediately as the character I am most looking forward to reading more about. Alex James presents him as ruthless, tyrannical, and hell bent on keeping his power, but James also subtly adds shades to Kroll's character that make him more complex than the average power-hungry tyrant. Kroll's reliance on his armor is the first glimpse we get into Kroll's weaknesses, and as James introduces new character we begin to understand Kroll through their eyes in new ways. His fear of slowing losing control over all he had painstakingly built, his slipping influence driving him to desperate attempts at expanding his rule--yet he must tighten everything he holds at the same time so that betrayal does not slip through the cracks. James juggles Kroll's character nicely, making him, not exactly relatable, but also not a character you immediately dismiss as a villain.
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James' ability to present characters slowly and with a certain mystery continued with the introductions of Dacron and Lacos, both men with a mysterious, prophetic air attached to them. A good survey of the world these characters live in was only skimmed upon in the beginning chapters, but what we did see was interesting and compelling. It may be my own personal preference, but I do love a very detailed description of a fantasy world and thought the beginning could have used just a bit more. The fast, action driven plot kept me excited to read more, but I do wish James had stopped to pause just a bit in the first chapters and laid more of a foundation for the scenery, culture, etc. to let the reader get their bearings in the world.
That being said, Kroll: Magnificence opened strong, with many glimpses into an enjoyable plot of magic, intrigue, and compelling characters.