Author: Cameron Johnston
Narrator: George Weightman
Audiobook Length: 14 hours 28 minutes
When you are all out of heroes, all that’s left are the villains.
Black Herran was a dread demonologist, and the most ruthless general in all Essoran. She assembled the six most fearsome warriors to captain her armies: a necromancer, a vampire lord, a demigod, an orcish warleader, a pirate queen, and a twisted alchemist. Together they brought the whole continent to its knees… Until the day she abandoned her army, on the eve of total victory.
40 years later, she must bring her former captains back together for one final stand, in the small town of Tarnbrooke – the last bastion against a fanatical new enemy tearing through the land, intent on finishing the job Black Herran started years before.
Seven bloodthirsty monsters. One town. Their last hope.
The Maleficent Seven is a very fast-paced story featuring a rag-tag group of villains. The characters that make up the seven are: a demonologist (Black Herron), a necromancer (Maeven), a god of war (Tiarnach), a pirate queen (Verena Awilan), a vampire (Lorrimer Felle), an orc (Amogg), and an alchemist (Jerak Hyden). It takes a group of bad guys and puts them against the good guys, who may not be as good as they seem. The story takes place in Black Herron’s town of Tambrooke, where she lived for the past forty years since she last saw the other six. It is Black Herron that begins the quest to bring the others together to fight the other side.
There are essentially two pieces to this story. The first is the gathering of all the characters together as the Black Herron gets everyone to join the cause. The second is the actual good vs evil. The two intermingle among character development, connections between the characters, and multiple action sequences to create a dynamic read. While seven central characters plus multiple side characters is a lot to keep track of, the author managed to make everyone memorable and unique enough to reduce confusion. There is a lot of death (animal and human) in this novel, so this novel might not be for every reader. The details, while being filled with gore, were all well-done and fit the story and characters nicely. Given the nature of some of the characters, such as, necromancer, I expected some type of gore before fully getting into the story.
The Falcon Prince is a very compelling character as a deranged villain. While there are multiple characters to track, I wish the reader got to go into his mind a little more as it would drive the point home about the madness within. Even with this wish, I loved the characters in this novel. The group of seven had amazing dynamics as they are not close friends, but are all together for the same cause. They have excellent banter and a great natural dynamic. While the story itself is interesting, it was the characters that kept me invested. Each character had their own motivations and backstory that were revealed over time to the reader. None of them were initially likeable, for me, but they all became great in their own time as the story moved forward.
Overall, this was a captivating take on the “bad guys” coming together to defeat a common enemy. The beginning starts off slower before becoming action-packed, which may not work for everyone. For me, I enjoyed the slower pace at the start as the rest of the novel is fast, so it provided a nice balance. It is a very fun chaotic novel with a group of unlikely allies. It explores the concepts of “good” and “evil” as it is grey all around with both sides having their good and bad traits. A great and unexpected novel with many plot twists for this new-to-me author that makes me curious to read more!