Onslaught of Madness (The Madness Wars #1) by Jesse Teller
Publication Date: October 5th, 2019
Ebook. 869 pages
About Onslaught of Madness:
"The Drine war machine needs to be constantly fed and has turned its sights on Tienne. Warlord Rextur devoted his life to planning this invasion, so how did he lose the element of surprise? And who is this emerging rival Peter Redfist? He can’t be much of a problem. The god of destruction has long favored Rextur. His faith is strong and his legions mighty. Who could withstand their onslaught?"
Over the past couple years, I've had the pleasure of reading quite a few books by Jesse Teller, from his Manhunters series to his most recent collection of stories Legend of the Exiles, and I've yet to meet one I didn't like. Onslaught of Madness is yet another winner for me: it's an ambitious new beginning to an epic fantasy series that I was, admittedly, slightly intimidated by. A book this size is no light commitment, but I'm glad I jumped in because it was a hell of a ride.
Onslaught of Madness is an expansive world with an equally expansive cast of characters that all have a unique storyline with an abundance of complexities that that together create a captivating, vibrant world and story. I love how talented Teller is at creating these complex and nuanced worlds that intersect and overlap in the best ways, while still remaining unexpected and full of interesting storylines.
Since this is such a large-scale story it covers a lot of content--which makes sense since it's such a long book, coming in at over eight hundred pages--and I'm impressed by how well the author handled the pacing. It's so easy for large epic fantasy books to get bogged down in detail and minute plot points that may or may not end up being crucial to the story, but somehow this book read like a breeze and I found myself constantly engaged and following along. Over the course of all of Teller's writing, it's become apparent just how much his writing continues to flourish, especially with this new story.
What I really liked about Onslaught of Madness was its ability to show multiple sides of the same overarching conflict.There are multiple protagonists to follow in this book, the most notable being Rextur, Sai, Tera, Vianne, and Aaron the Marked. I won't go too detailed about them all because we'd be here all day. The characters are all so far from black and white and I'm impressed by just how complex and fascinating they really are and how much I enjoyed learning about just about all of them--seriously, it's rare when I find myself enjoying every single POV and like almost all of the characters, there's usually always at least one that I try to get through as fast as possible, but not so in this case!
Rextur was easily one of the most fascinating characters for me. He's a bit ruthless due to his current status in life and his working for what most people would probably consider the 'bad guys,' but he's also just so compelling and I loved how deeply Teller dove into his character. Vianne was also one I was particularly drawn to, perhaps because of how much I enjoyed watching her grow in so many different ways over the course of this book. Sai and Tera were equally compelling to watch throughout the events of the story and I found myself constantly looking forward to their storylines and seeing what would happen next.
In addition to everything I've already said, I have to say that this book had so much diversity and authentic aspects to it that I was so pleased to see. Just within the main protagonists alone we have a nice mix of different types of people, something that I'm so glad to see is finally starting to become (somewhat) more of a common occurrence in modern fantasy. I'm blown away by the sheer epic quality of this book and how much fun I had reading it.
Overall, I've given Onslaught of Madness 4.5 stars! Jesse Teller has done a magnificent job so far with this new series and I can't wait to see what's next. And if you're one of those that's hesitant to start an ongoing/new series, I can say that over the time I've read Teller's stuff, he's always been very reliable with his releases and I've never had ridiculous waits for books, so you can't use that as an excuse not to pick up this book! ;)
*I received a copy of Onslaught of Madness courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating or enjoyment of the novel.*