Mythborn II: Bane of the Warforged is an epic, dark fantasy and the second installment in V. Lakshman’s Mythborn Trilogy, following the events occurring in Mythborn: Rise of the Adepts.
In Mythborn’s world, the realms of Edyn and Arcadia are two sides of a cosmic coin. Edyn is a land of physical rules and the home of the mortal races, while Arcadia is a realm of myth – the abode of angels, demons, and legends. The angels and demons of Arcadia – known as Aeris – are the product of the mortal races of Edyn – created and sustained by the belief and faith of lesser beings. This idea sets the backdrop for the tale – a story of differing perspectives and clashing goals – in which this strange relationship between mortals and gods dominates politics, war, and every being’s way of life.
At the heart of every conflict that is currently occurring in both Edyn and Arcadia is a young man named Arek, a powerful tool of either fate or destruction, depending on varying viewpoints. Arek has been “sent” (indirectly) to the world by Sovereign, a celestial being of immense power, who some say created the world of Edyn. Sovereign intends to use Arek to destroy the Way, so that he might remake the world. However, forces with power of their own are arrayed against his designs: Lilyth, the demon-queen; Valarius Galadine, Archmage of old and self-appointed defender of Edyn; Thoth, Keeper of the Conclave; the ancient dragons, whose duty is to protect Edyn from any threat; Giridian, Lore Father of the Adepts of the Way. All factions want something from Arek – whether his death or his power. It will be up to Silbane, Master of the Way, to find Arek and protect him from the world…or himself.
Mythborn presents an incredibly rich, detailed world, and boasts a near boundless history, lore, and mythology that is abundant and unique. Lakshman’s attention to detail and the depth of backstory lend his tale a remarkable sense of substance, making it seem like a real, tangible place. Similarly, Lakshman provides wonderful description that is both vivid and poetic. His characters and settings are so skillfully described that they seem ready to leap off the page.
As for the narrative itself, numerous, complex storylines are expertly interweaved to create a compelling whole. The number of plots within plots (within yet more plots) is impressive, and Lakshman handles them proficiently. The wildly varying goals of the characters set them at odds with each other with delightful regularity, giving Bane of the Warforged a plot not dissimilar to Game of Thrones – filled with schemes and backstabbing and half-truths.
My one complaint is that Lakshman could make his writing a bit clearer by always setting his characters’ thoughts in italics (as well as their “mindspeak”). On occasion, what is happening is vague because it is hard to recognize that specific lines are a character’s internal thoughts. This occurs rarely, however, and harms little but the flow of the story for a short time.
In summary, Mythborn II: Bane of the Warforged is a backstabbing, arrow-slinging, sword-swinging, lightning-flinging romp of a ride. Lakshman’s tale is self-publishing gold – storytelling at its best. All I can say is this: Dark fantasy never looked so good.