Necromancer Unchained

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
292 Pages
Reviewed on 05/31/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Essien Asian for Readers' Favorite

Despite his best efforts at keeping a low profile, Malfus manages to get himself captured by an agent of the Vesenian Inquisition and is now on a one-way trip back to certain torture and death. The inquisitor’s journey takes him through a region that is under siege by creatures that do not share anything in common with Vesenia. Despite finding the relative safety of a fort in this region, the Inquisitor and his host Colonel Peshka know that if relief does not come soon it will only be a matter of time before they are routed. Colonel Peshka comes up with an idea that might just be their salvation but is he willing to risk the wrath of the Inquisition and an overzealous Inquisitor with an ax to grind? Only time will tell in Casey Sutton’s Malfus: Necromancer Unchained.

Casey Sutton’s long-awaited novel is finally here and the wait was worthwhile. Malfus introduces us to a world of dark magic, mythical creatures, and maniacal spell-casting. The characters in the story are deep and multifaceted in ways that let a reader develop some affinity toward them irrespective of their motivations, be they honorable or otherwise. The conversations between the characters are delightfully funny at times yet simple enough to follow. Malfus’ witty retorts make for some interesting reading while Colonel Peshka’s contemplation of his difficult choice will spark introspection from the reader as to how far one should be willing to cross the line for the greater good. The book is every bit the exciting adventure story I anticipated and is an impressive piece of work from a gifted writer.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

In Malfus by Casey Sutton, after an Inquisitor, Damian Deza, captures him, Malfus is on his way to a trial for practicing necromancy. The pair are attacked by gnolls, half-human, hyena-like creatures, but they manage to find a temporary sanctuary at an outpost. Once inside, their situation turns grim as they are told that a gnoll army surrounds them, and giants have taken their opponents’ side. The Inquisitor hesitates to allow Malfus to practice his skills, but the battle becomes too great for the soldiers to deny him the opportunity. Quotes at the beginning of each chapter tell readers a little more about the past of the world Sutton has created and set the scene, and the pictures help the reader capture a snapshot of pivotal moments in the story.

Casey Sutton is a charismatic storyteller! The images the author describes touch every sense and project clear visions in readers’ minds as they digest the story. The thoughts of the men and women in battle give the action an edge as readers follow those fighters through heroic feats and untimely fates. The book moves along at a fast pace as the action never stops. Every character is well-rounded without lengthy descriptions. Sutton places descriptors throughout the story to give the reader a deeper impression of each figure. The author gives just enough information without revealing everything, and even though some mysteries are solved, higher powers are introduced that make another book a certainty. Malfus is a great selection for readers who enjoy high-action fantasy novels with dark magical elements.

Risah Salazar

Malfus, a necromancer, gets caught by a Vesenian inquisitor called Deza. Obviously, Malfus’ practices with the dead are nothing short of witchcraft and it goes against the orthodoxy, to say the least. Under his watch, Inquisitor Deza makes sure his captive cannot use magic and that his life is a living hell. After fighting gnolls and barely escaping them, Deza, taking a dreadfully injured Malfus with him, seeks protection under the roof of Colonel Peshka’s headquarters. Deza decides it would be best to pass the time here in the meantime before bringing the necromancer to justice and probably his last breath in Malfus: Necromancer Unchained.

Casey Sutton builds a magical world in Malfus with great imagery. Every chapter's start is a lure that never loses its grip until the end when a new chapter begins and wonder starts all over again. With a slow pace, Sutton can turn any encounter, no matter how mundane, into a wild yet intricate adventure that readers love to follow. The colorful artworks make the narrative come to life and bring a whole new dimension to it. Malfus' plot is one that creatively combines magic, fantasy, and adventure. It has all the right elements, unlike other books within the same genre. The action-filled scenes are vivid enough to remind the reader of a medieval television show or movie - it is that realistic. The balance of good and bad is another likable characteristic of this book. Sutton is unafraid to write about darkness knowing that, in his writing, the light is always going to save the day.

Manik Chaturmutha

Malfus: Necromancer Unchained by Casey Sutton is a thrilling fantasy that follows the misadventures of Malfus, a necromancer. Malfus desires a peaceful life where he can use his abilities to be a farmer and raise the dead. But he finds himself dragged unwillingly into a war against the monstrous Gnolls, all while being stuck between uneducated and unaccepting people, the church, and the Inquisitive.

The book features elements of magic and mythical creatures, such as necromancers, monsters, half-breeds, and giants, adding wonder and excitement to the story. One of the standout strengths of the book is Malfus' character development. As the main protagonist, Malfus is a complex and multi-dimensional character who grapples with his powers and the societal prejudice against necromancers. His internal struggles, desires, and responsibilities create tension and add layers to the story, making him relatable and compelling. The story is fast-paced and action-packed, keeping readers hooked from the beginning to the end. The vivid descriptions bring the fantastical world to life. The formatting is excellent, with readable font size, short paragraphs, and the use of italics to separate thoughts from dialogs. The maps at the beginning help readers visualize the world in which the story takes place.

The book uses illustrations to distinguish between different points of view, adding visual interest and enhancing the reading experience. Using deeper themes of personal freedom and a morally ambiguous world where the lines between right and wrong are blurred, Casey Sutton has crafted an immersive and engaging story that will leave readers eagerly anticipating the next installment in the series. Overall, Malfus: Necromancer Unchained will interest readers who like fantasy and supernatural fiction.

K.C. Finn

Malfus: Necromancer Unchained is a work in the dark fantasy, horror, and adventure subgenres, and forms the official start of Malfus’s adventures following the prequel Greedy as a Ghoul. The work is best suited to mature readers owing to scenes of violence, death, and gore. Casey Sutton pens this chilling and adventurous work in which we find Malfus imprisoned and awaiting trial and, in all likelihood, execution under the rule of Inquisitor Deza. But when things go awry, and Deza and Malfus barely survive together after a dangerous ambush, Dez realizes they might have to rely on Malfus’s dangerous talents to reclaim victory.

Casey Sutton has crafted a fantastic work of dark fantasy and horror fiction that more than lives up to expectations after the exciting prequel to the series. I’m thrilled to have been able to read more of Malfus’s exploits, and I love the way the anti-hero concept is reformed under Sutton’s masterful hand to deliver a dark renegade on whom Deza has no choice but to rely. The dynamic of the central pair is an exciting and engaging power struggle and a gleefully conflict-fuelled personality clash with some satisfying results toward the novel’s climax. I also enjoyed the vivid and intense worldbuilding of the fantasy concepts and warscape, which enriched the tension and made everything cinematic and easily imagined. Malfus: Necromancer Unchained is highly recommended for dark fantasy and horror fans seeking a fantastic new author to follow.