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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Death's Disciples by Dustin L. Herriman is a fantasy novel that follows a young male protagonist named Zakul who becomes embroiled in a shock attack against a town when an outpost is overrun by hostile invaders. The siege is the central plot, and escape is the only option for Zakul, but as the bloody and violent occupation unfolds, it also becomes imperative to know who the enemy is, who—if anyone—was traitorous enough to help them sack the town, and what exactly it is they want from seemingly random mass hostage-taking and murder. Trust is an issue as Zakul and his comrades maneuver alongside different survivors who could very well have questionable motives in a situation that feels to be in a constant state of evolution.
Death's Disciples is a lengthy and ambitious fantasy novel, with Dustin L. Herriman building an entire world within the parameters of a town. It is a lot to take in, but hanging on past the first few chapters to get to the gravy was worth it. The book unleashes a ton of backstory that felt kind of heavy-handed but is forgivable on the grounds of creativity. An example of this is the fantasy aspect that provides Zakul and company with the power of 'sense' that makes the characters unique in ways beyond their personalities. Jax and Zoloket are developed well through the eyes of Zakul, and the banter really fleshed all of the characters out. Charm and wit are lingering between blood and violence, and it's well-executed. This is a solid fantasy tale and an impressive feat considering the entire novel is a single day, and a story that leaves room for growth and exploration when Herriman strikes again. Recommended.