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Book Review: Death’s Disciple

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“Seven years ago, Captain Yala Palathar was a hero. She and her squad of close-knit dragon-riding warriors were Laria’s elite, fighting for their nation alongside the monarch and his magic-wielding Disciples. Seizing control of an unmanned island should have been a simple mission, but Yala’s squad was little prepared for the horror and tragedy that awaited. Instead of triumph, all Yala and her allies found was death.

Years on, Yala lives in seclusion in the deep jungle, ignoring the rumours of unrest in the capital following the end of the war. She little expects assassins to find her hideout – nor does she anticipate the mission that ended her career to have given rise to rumours that see her targeted by mercenaries vying to claim a price on her head. With the other survivors from her squad being picked off one by one, she has little choice but to return to the capital in the hopes of finding answers.

Whether the truth lies with the Disciples of the Flame – who refused to believe her stories of the monstrous beasts that haunted the island – or with the long-dead king who sent her squad to their doom, one thing is clear. Yala must finish the battle she started all those years ago… even if it brings her face to face with the god of death Himself.”

Title: Death’s Disciple

Series: Death’s Disciple #1

Author: Emma L. Adams

Page Count: 447

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5.0

Date Read: January 23rd, 2023

My thirty-second SPFBO-9 read was Death’s Disciple by Emma L. Adams. If you’ve been following along you may nave noticed my mention that I was already a good bit into this one when I was writing up my review of the novella Monarch’s Mission. In fact, I was finished with this one before I even posted that review. I’m really enjoying this world that Emma has put together so far.
Death’s Disciple was also in my top 20 SPFBO-9 entries that I wanted to read. Unfortunately, I just didn’t get to it as quickly as I initially expected. This one had been floating right on the edge of my monthly TBR’s since September. I’m glad that I finally got to it and happy that my hunch on whether I’d enjoy it was spot on.
The pacing of this series so far really works for me. That is considering both the novella and book one here. The writing is smooth with very few noticeable edit issues. It shows that Emma and whomever is editing and proofreading her work has plenty of experience. As usual with pacing that works well for me, there really wasn’t much in the way of names for characters or places that would trip me up.
The worldbuilding has been a joy to see with the Death’s Disciple books so far. There is a lot going on from political intrigue, religion, military  tactics and a good balance between the magic and martial abilities. This along with the different factions of Disciples and their god’s eludes to a decent amount of cultures mixing things up in this story. The world itself seems fairly large as several scenes take place in different areas and others are mentioned which I’m we’ll see more of in the future.
The character building was also really good. There are some solid character arcs to see unfold. One thing I am finding that I really like are arcs that show progression without too much of a drastic change. I felt we see this with our protagonist Yala in this and Monarch’s Mission. She certainly goes through some change but she still seems to hold true to who is was and who she’s become. There are some other solid mini arcs in Death’s Disciple as well. I don’t want to mention these as some of these can be a bit of a surprise.
This is only the second book I’ve read by Emma L. Adams and I don’t want to get ahead of myself, however, I may have found another new favorite author. This is always good news, except for the fact she already has a ton of work out there that I need to check out. I will at least be following this series and progressing further as my time allows this year.
As far as recommendations go, I think if you like the various aspects mentioned above on politics, military, religion, magic and martial characters this would be a good epic fantasy to look into.
One more thing I wanted to mention being a big Dragonlance fan still to this day was I couldn’t help but think of similarities between Yala and Kit from Dragonlance. Both are strong female military leaders. Not to mention both may or may not ride dragons. In fact if Dragonlance seems a bit more YA or MG to you, this might be a more adult polished series to check out.

World Building 4.5/5
Pacing 5/5
Character Development 4.5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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