Genre: Fantasy — Grimdark
Series: Manifest Delusions #2
Publisher: Self Published (December 15, 2016)
Length: 455 pages
My Rating: 1000 Proof Distilled Madness
It is damn difficult to top perfection. And in my opinion, Beyond Redemption was just about as near perfect a grimdark as anyone can write, one of the most demented, darkest, and diabolical grims ever penned. But, somehow, Michael Fletcher did just that with The Mirror’s Truth. The mad man in the glasses and black cowl delivering a stunning sequel, one that sets a new standard for what a grimdark has to deliver in order to be considered great.
It all starts where Beyond Redemption ended: with Bedeckt and his two friends, Wichtig and Stehlen, dead in the Afterlife. Of course, our tragic trio has grown bored of the hereafter. Hell: there is only so many things one can do while there. So, these guys escape back into the land of the living.
While the Sanest Man Alive, the Greatest Swordsman in the World, and the Keptic Killer have been “living” it up in death, back in the real world things have changed. Their former captive, Morgen, has taken up the reins of godhood, busily remaking the Geborene people into a near perfect race. Every thought of the young god focused on perfecting the dirty, brutish habits of his worshipers, refining them and make them into immaculate, clean pinnacles of his vision of mankind. Only problem is that Morgen is a damn lunatic like everyone else in the world.
Well, Bedeckt is going to put a stop to Morgen’s madness. The crazed god is his fault (in his mind, at least), so he is going to fix the mess he created. Doesn’t matter that those two friends he tried to abandoned back in the Afterlife have found a way into the real world and are bent on hunting him down and killing him. He won’t be stopped by the other, even more psychotic, assassins Morgen has sent after him. Nor will his own slow descent into the madness and sanity he has always risen above deter him. Bedeckt will not fail, because he is the Sanest Man Alive – which might mean he is also the most damn crazed shite in a world full of lunatics and sociopaths.
From start to finish, this is one of the smoothest, most disturbing, and most compelling grimdark I have ever read. From the near perfect pacing of the narrative to the engrossing storytelling, Michael Fletcher crafts a masterpiece and makes it look easy. Whether it is internal contemplation, savage torture, or scheming machinations, Michael Fletcher nails it, sells it, and makes a reader buy it whole-heartedly. Demented and crazed characters actually develop before your eyes, becoming understandable, even in their deep, dark madness. The fresh, inventive and intricately detailed world building brings to life a reality where madness and delusion creates the world around the characters, helping to mold them into different beings. The violence is visceral, always present, and horribly described when it finally finds it victims. And the ending . . . it is just pure Michael Fletcher madness, people. Great stuff. Can’t put it any more simply than that.
The only negative I will mention (So I can appear to be fair and hide my absolute fanboy feelings for this book/series.) is that the plot in The Mirror’s Truth is more narrow, less epic in feel than Beyond Redemption. Everything in this tale revolving around our protagonist Bedeckt, even though the other characters have their own stories going on simultaneously. While this didn’t bother me in the least, I could see many readers feeling bothered by the more focused plot line.
If you love grimdark and have not tried Michael Fletcher’s series, I have to go ahead and ask you to please turn over your grimdark fan club membership card, because you do not deserve to keep it. I mean, this series is a hidden gem of creativity, dementia, and pure violence, which grabs you by the throat and will not let go. It is 100% proof distilled madness delivered up by the Master of Grimdark Madness, Michael Fletcher. And you, my patient reader, need to go buy Beyond Redemption and read it already, because the bandwagon is leaving the station and everyone on board gets first choice at the bar.
I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank him for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.