The Ragged Man (Twilight Reign #4) ★★★★☆

raggedman (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Ragged Man
Series: Twilight Reign #4
Author: Tom Lloyd
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 612
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

At the end of the previous book Isak killed the son of Lord Styrax, the most powerful man in the world. In his rage, Styrax did not just kill Isak, but sent him directly to Ghenna (hell) to be tortured forever. Isak had dreamed about this scenario and he and his friend Mihn, the failed Harlequin, had set in motion a plan. Mihn had covered himself in magical tattoos of invisibility to both physical and spiritual entities. With the help of a witch, Mihn travels to Ghenna and recovers Isak. Upon their return though, Isak is a thoroughly broken man and it is up to Mihn to nurse him back to some normalcy.

Styrax is a broken man by the death of his son and heir and it takes the child Azeur to snap him out of his funk and to begin leading his Menin army again. Azeur posits a passive coalition with Styrax without revealing it’s actual goal and Styrax agrees. Styrax forces a non-aggression pact with the Farlan since Lord Isak is dead and half their army destroyed. They accept since if they refuse they’ll face civil war. This allows Styrax to concentrate on the one man who might be able to stop him, King Emin.

Azeur has set in motion its plans for the Harlequin nation and has recruited them to act as preachers and messengers for it. They begin by slightly changing their stories to make the gods appear more buffoonish or tyrannical or any extreme than originally intended. The Harlequins also begin preaching about a child savior that will lead the entire land without any interference from the gods. King Emin sees the danger of this and hires men and women to kill these preachers. Many Harlequins are killed but almost nobody understands what is going on, as Harlequins have always been neutral parties before this.

Styrax and his army marches on the kingdom of Narkang and begins razing it to the ground. Isak and Emin concoct a plan, one throw of the dice, where all will be won or lost. Emin confronts Styrax and his army at a castle and a huge battle ensues. Isak catches Styrax in a trap because he doesn’t try to kill him. Isak forces the gods to help him and they strip all memories of Styrax from the land and take Styrax’s identity from him. Styrax is now the Ragged Man, a legend of a man who lost his soul and now kills in the shadows to try to get it back. The Menin army falls apart without any memory of Styrax but Emin and the kingdom of Narkang have paid for this victory in more blood than they can truly afford.

Azeur can begin its plans in earnest now that Styrax isn’t around to keep it in check.

 

My Thoughts:

You know, I’ve said it before, but I am watching Lloyd’s writing skill increase right before my eyes with this series. The first 2 books were pretty rough but now, things are flowing smoothly. His skill in handling multiple points of view no longer leaves me stumbling about and the awkwardness from before is almost gone. It’s not perfect, but it is noticeably different. I’m trying to think if I’ve ever noticed such a skill increase from an author before? Maybe I never started with one that was so amateurish though. But whatever, this was good!

Mihn’s journey to hell and back was a bit slow and not very action oriented. It had me worried that the entire book was going to be like that. Thankfully, once the main story switched back to Styrax and King Emin, things got moving. The battle at the end of the book was massive. It was enjoyable. It was everything I wanted from a big epic fantasy book.

While I had serious reservations about recommending this series based on the previous books, I’d now recommend this series as long as you’re willing to deal with Lloyd’s lack of skill in the first couple of books. I realize that is a back-handed compliment, but it’s the truth. But even with that, I’d still recommend starting with Lloyd’s God Fragments series. It starts off, skill-wise, where Twilight Reign ends.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

22 thoughts on “The Ragged Man (Twilight Reign #4) ★★★★☆

  1. Good for you persevering through bad writing. I know that immediately turns me off and I quit reading so I know I’ve never really watched an author’s skill drastically increase.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Do you think he’s making enough money that he can now employ a ghostwriter? 🤪

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      Hahahaha! Well, I really doubt it. But he is moving up in the world because his latest series, The God Fragments, is being released in hardcover in the UK. So somebody thinks he is worth a hardcover 🙂

      Like

  3. I love it when you can watch a writer improve with each book!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ola G says:

    Hmm… I noticed the flaws you mentioned in the God Fragments series, which I started on your recommendation, I might add 😉 and they were enough for me to stop reading the series after I finished the first installment. The plot was pretty decent, but the writing was just so awkward and blundering…
    Glad you are enjoying this, though! And maybe, if he really improves as much, I might give the God Fragments a second chance 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      That is interesting. See, I didn’t notice any of this with the God Fragments. I have book 3 on tap and I’ll definitely have to check out for this kind of thing. Almost makes me want to re-read the first 2 just to see if I see the same problems.

      If that is how you felt about book 1, then I wouldn’t go for book 2.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      ps,
      makes me wonder if my interest in the story allowed me to overlook the writing in the God Fragments and my ambivalence about this simply allows me to see them easier?
      That will definitely be something I keep in mind when reading more by Lloyd.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ola G says:

        I thought the story was cool, but there was much awkwardness to his descriptions, especially, and the dialogue was often stilted. I don’t know, I guess I felt what he was trying to achieve but didn’t see much success 😉
        But then, I compare Lloyd to real masters of the genre, so no surprise he has some catching up to them to do 😆

        Liked by 1 person

  5. savageddt says:

    I saw grave thief in the shops in SA a few years ago, i almost picked it up but then milou pointed out the fact that i first needed the other two in the series

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Two not-so-good books before being able to enjoy a satisfying read sounds like a big commitment, but on the other hand if the story and the writing get better… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Off The TBR says:

    I saw this one got 4 stars from you and did a double take. Glad you found a good one after all the so-so stuff. Also good to see the author improved over time so that sticking with the books is rewarded.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s nice to hear about an author’s progression as a writer, especially when it’s that noticeable! Got to admit that his God Fragments series has a much better set of covers though hahah

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Really good that the series is improving!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. […] The Ragged Man – 4 Stars of Authorial Improvement […]

    Like

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