Today is my stop on the Escapist Book Tour and today I will be reviewing The Price of Power by Michael Michel. A grimdark doorstop of a book with intense character interactions and a rich world to absorb. The history of this world kept me engaged and wanting to know more while at the same time being frightened and the dark deeds of the past looking to repeat themselves. Now a participant in the SPFBO #9 contest, I can honestly say that be forewarned when you pick up this debut novel. You may not like the characters are doing but you will be begging for the sequel immediately.
We are following several main characters in this epic grimdark with each one being more grey than the next. We have an orphaned Princess participating in deadly trials, a grandma with visions of the future needing to make the ultimate sacrifice by killing her grandson, and a drug dealer hiding his true self as a dark prince long thought dead. Each turn of the page sent more and more shivers down my spine for different reasons. This is a brutal world where everything is centered around making the right choices to gain more political power. There is a whole group of people who are punished for the sins of the past by forever being scarred at birth to live in shame. Pride and justice are virtues not held in high regard in this world as it may be your downfall. The Price of Power is a slow burn novel that takes its time drilling down the intrigues of the world and citizens before it will ultimately crush you by the end.
Michael Michel’s prose I would consider to be very rich and written in such a way that you need to slow your reading down to fully understand what is going on. Imagine the pacing of this novel as the drawing of an arrow until it is fully loaded and waiting to be fire in more ways than one. The story telling method reminded me of The Drowned Kingdom Saga by P.L. Stuart. The worldbuilding will play an intricate part in the story ahead and you will not believe where the story will take you. You will not know who to trust or around which corner the next threat will come from. The Price of Power shows us the true costs of war, which often leads to power falling into the wrong hands. Hard choices will always have to be made when peoples lives are on the line and the one holding the sword must strike true, or at least we can hope.
In short, this debut is an excellent start to what is sure to be a grimdark series for the ages. You need to love slow burn books, with dense prose, and characters you will love to hate. Not too much to ask but then again you never know.