INFERNAL Amnesiac antiheroics
released OUT NOW! 384 pages | Hardback/ebook Author Mark de Jager Publisher del rey
stratus isn’t sure what he is. Or where he is. Or even how he got there. What he does know is that he’s not entirely human, and that he’s got to find out more.
This amnesia provides an intriguing mystery for author Mark de Jager’s epic debut, but can get a little wearing. Sure you want to know who Stratus is, and the reveal somewhat pays off, but for the most part, between Stratus’s inhuman instincts and his confusion about his identity he isn’t particularly likeable. Except when he’s hungry – his appetite is quite amusing. Getting an antihero right is a balancing act, and sometimes Stratus unfortunately leans more towards anti- than hero.
Other characters are used sparingly, swordswoman Tatyana being the highlight. Her introduction makes things more interesting, giving Stratus someone to parry the odd quip with, and she comes with a promising backstory of her own.
For much of the time Infernal may leave you feeling as confused as Stratus himself – for every question answered another 10 sprout up in its place. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it makes for hard going in a book that rests so heavily on its central mystery. Bridie Roman
Mark’s wife Liz beat him into print: book three of her Blackheart Legacy series came out in January.