Review: Sorcerers’ Dynasty by Stephen Perkins

★★★★★ Sorcerers' Dynasty

Sorcerers’ Dynasty by Stephen Perkins presents a wildly creative take on a world beyond our world, and the reality that has been obscured from mankind for eons. With an intrepid fringe reporter named Dan Sheraton on the case, this eternal secret just might finally see the light of day.

The novel offers a remarkably complete and well thought-out world that lies beneath the one that we know. Something sinister is going on out in the desert, with insectoid sentries, heavily armed military installations, and the deadly stench of secrets. The danger goes far beyond the typical cloak and dagger of the government, however: children are disappearing in buses with blacked-out windows, and the CIA seems to want to shut up anyone who asks too many questions about the Serenity Corporation.

The scope of the story takes a bizarre and supernatural twist when it becomes clear that demonic spirits, Archons, may be gearing up to make their final move and end life on Earth as we know it. The crossover between ancient sorcerers and a shadowy modern-day cabal is a unique and particularly intriguing twist on both sci-fi and fantasy, especially given the strangeness of recent history in the real world.

What makes Sorcerers’ Dynasty particularly gripping is this sci-fi tale manages to make significant comments on modern life, the collective obsession with money, and morality as a bargaining chip. The core characters fluctuate as the book progresses, with new plot lines often coming to the fore. However, there is the sense that Perkins knows precisely where he is pushing the tale, and despite the story’s complexity, the unfolding events are relatively easy to follow.

Sheraton is an excellent focal character, with the surly insistence of a good reporter, but also the heroic tendencies of a traditional fantasy protagonist. It is this well-made personality that carries the book through some of its more procedural moments. The development he undergoes throughout the book, as the gravity of the threat is gradually revealed, is an epic story in its own right, making this an impressively multi-layered novel.

The engine behind the book is Perkins’ writing, which is crisp and well-planned, with few wasted words, and a consistent pace that doesn’t lag. The action scenes are intensely depicted and the descriptions throughout are vivid and visceral, giving the book a core believability that it is crucial for a fantasy read. The dialogue enhances this sense of realism, with colloquial language and casual speech patterns evident between most of the characters. Even the over-the-top language of demons and sorcerers hits genuine notes. The combination of government agencies, mystical enemies, and intrepid reporters seems like it would create a confusing kaleidoscope in terms of style and tone, but the various elements are surprisingly seamless.

All in all, Perkins has penned an unpredictable and electric work of fantasy that will keep readers clawing through the pages to see what revelations come next. With enough mystery, conspiracy, and magic to satisfy fans of multiple genres, Sorcerers’ Dynasty is a highly entertaining novel that is both timely and original.

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