An apocalypse brought on by revenants, feral reanimated corpses, has caused society to denounce technology and embrace a strict religious order with an imperial political structure. Ezekiel's sister was betrothed to the emperor's heir and is presumed dead but no one seems to know what happened to her or even where her body is. Darius awakens chained and ravenous told he was selected to become the next necromancer, a powerful revenant supposedly capable of control. This initial part is roughly 62 pages and is the first of six installments for the serial novel Empire of Dust.
This is my first time reading a serial novel as opposed to a novella serial series. I'm conflicted about writing a review because it's only the first five chapters of the novel. Overall, I had mixed feelings about this first installment but I do plan to continue reading the serial novel.
There was a combination of different ideas presented that were interesting but they also created an uneven reading experience. I enjoyed reading about the imperial political court life and liked the fantasy element it gave the story. I liked the concept of society reverting back to a low-tech simplistic imperial era. The religious cult foundation created an interesting variation in society norms. I especially liked the mythos for the zombie creatures called revenants and what it could mean for the necromancer.
The story is told from alternating points of view which gave a diverse perspective of the world. I adored a lot of the characters and I thought their story lines were intriguing. There was Darius the selected necromancer, Michal the emperor's daughter who questions the system and now has to test the necromancer, and Leah the new fiance' that has a shady past and possesses too many secrets.
Ezekiel and Gabriel seemed to have the longest perspectives unfortunately I didn't care much for either of them. I'm not sure if their story lines had too much foreshadowing or if they were just too predictable but it felt overly scripted. I grew impatient with Ezekiel's internal narration and his constant reflective questions made the mystery arc feel dull to me. Their attraction to each other created an awkward courtship that was overly sensationalized because of the religious condemnation. I wasn't invested in their relationship as a reader. I was more interested in the other characters and the revenant situation.
These are a few of my prominent thoughts so far on the Empire of Rust serial novel. This first installment gave a conflicting first impression but it was compelling enough to keep my attention and desire to continue reading.