[Review] Saga of the Forgotten Warrior #1 & #2 by Larry Correia | Spoiler-Free!

Summary: After the War of the Gods, the demons were cast out and fell to the world. Mankind was nearly eradicated by the seemingly unstoppable beasts, until the gods sent the great hero, Ramrowan, to save them. He united the tribes, gave them magic, and drove the demons into the sea. Ever since the land has belonged to man and the oceans have remained an uncrossable hell, leaving the continent of Lok isolated. It was prophesized that someday the demons would return, and only the descendants of Ramrowan would be able to defeat them. They became the first kings, and all men served those who were their only hope for survival.

As centuries passed the descendants of the great hero grew in number and power. They became tyrannical and cruel, and their religion nothing but an excuse for greed. Gods and demons became myth and legend, and the people no longer believed. The castes created to serve the Sons of Ramrowan rose up and destroyed their rulers. All religion was banned and replaced by a code of unflinching law. The surviving royalty and their priests were made casteless, condemned to live as untouchables, and the Age of Law began.

Ashok Vadal has been chosen by a powerful ancient weapon to be its bearer. He is a Protector, the elite militant order of roving law enforcers. No one is more merciless in rooting out those who secretly practice the old ways. Everything is black or white, good or evil, until he discovers his entire life is a fraud. Ashok isn’t who he thinks he is, and when he finds himself on the wrong side of the law, the consequences lead to rebellion, war — and destruction.

Genre(s): Adult, Fantasy
Content warnings: blood, minor character death(s), graphic violence

Series: Saga of the Forgotten Warrior #1
Publisher: Baen Books
Release date:
 October 15, 2015 
Book links*: Goodreads | Book Depository | IndieBound

*These include affiliate links, which means that if you click through and buy a book I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. [Full disclaimers here.]

3 stars

There are some repetitive infodumps and a general lack of long-term plot at the start, but the world is pretty well thought-out: complex, but it all makes sense if you can roll with it until you figure it out. Everyone has a role to play, even if they’re still figuring out what exactly that role is, and the combination of political and religious conflicts were fascinating.

Ashok and his allies really grew on me — they’re genuinely good people, even if they do morally dubious things sometimes, and although the character development is not at all subtle I still enjoyed watching the progression. I know “seemingly-undefeatable warrior discovers his super-special real identity” sounds like the epitome of a trope, but despite recognizable narrative twists and worldbuilding structures the plot was original enough to be entertaining. Admittedly there was a shortage of female characters, but the ones we did get to know (Rada and Thera) were incredible: independent, clever, powerful in their own ways. And the villains — I really loved to hate them! 

And it’s a funny book too, which I definitely didn’t expect. For example, they use “saltwater” as a curse because the demons have taken over the oceans, and I love seeing recognizable innocuous words unapologetically repurposed. The juxtaposition with our world is sometimes overused for arguably only slight comedic effect, but there’s also great banter and some objectively ridiculous situations.

While this series probably won’t become my new favorite, it’s a good time. I’m looking forward to reading the next one.

I received a review copy of this book through Edelweiss. This does not affect my rating or opinions.

The following summary contains spoilers for the first book! However, my review is spoiler-free.

Summary: (click to show)

Ashok Vadal and the Sons of the Black Sword march to rescue Thera. With his sword Angruvadal, Ashok was unstoppable. But Angruvadal is gone, shattered to pieces on the demon possessed husk of a warrior. Now, Ashok must fight without the aid of the magic blade for the first time. Thera’s life depends on it.

But there is much more at risk in the continent of Lok. Strange forces are working behind the scenes. Ashok Vadal and the Sons of the Black Sword are caught up in a game they do not fully understand, with powerful forces allied against them.

Ashok no longer knows what to believe. He is beginning to think perhaps the gods really do exist.

If so, he’s warned them to stay out of his way.

They would do well to listen.

Genre(s): Adult, Fantasy
Content warnings: blood, torture, graphic violence, major & minor character death(s), brief fat-shaming, brief suicidal ideation

Series: Saga of the Forgotten Warrior #2
Publisher: Baen Books
Release date:
 February 5, 2019 
Book links*: Goodreads | Book Depository | IndieBound

*These include affiliate links, which means that if you click through and buy a book I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. [Full disclaimers here.]

4 stars

I try not to compare books, especially not to super-popular franchises, but I kept thinking that this is what I’d hoped Game of Thrones would be. (Except that Saga of the Forgotten Warrior has demons instead of dragons, but that’s okay.) There’s political intrigue, lots of swordfighting, both magic and science, even religion based on old gods.

I actually cared about most of the characters whose POV we follow — including the ones who were introduced early on in this book or late in the previous book. Ashok’s single-minded devotion to his oath is challenged frequently and nuanced enough not to be too annoying; Thera is the Warrior my younger self would’ve loved to emulate; Rada is the antisocial reader and reluctant adventurer my present self identifies with. (“People made her uncomfortable. She much preferred the company of a book” — this is me!)

The rich worldbuilding from the first book continues, and we get to peek at the workings and traditions of the different Orders (not to be confused with castes): Protectors, Inquisitors, Archivists, Historians … and, outside the system, the House of Assassins. Correia brings us an immersive world without overwhelming the reader, greatly improving on the infodumps that bothered me in the first book.

The plot also manages a balance, between boring and overcomplicated. Though I wasn’t really surprised at any point — not even by the big “twists” — and I did skim the fighting scenes because they’re quite detailed, there wasn’t a dull moment in this adventure. 

15 thoughts on “[Review] Saga of the Forgotten Warrior #1 & #2 by Larry Correia | Spoiler-Free!

  1. I really want to read book two, but I’m not sure I’d want to go through book one from what I’ve read about it review wise. Would you recommend it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would, actually! I know I only gave it three stars and my review was kind of lukewarm, but I did enjoy it – and book two more than makes up for it. (but if you really wanted to, I think you could relatively safely skip to book two; you just might be a little confused about some of the details when you start.)


  2. I’ll find an excerpt to read first and see if it ends up getting to me. I’m getting very liberal with my DNF stamp nowadays, haha.

    And if I don’t like it, I could always skip ahead like you said. Thanks ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmm it sounds like some mixed feelings here. World building is one of the things I most look for in my fantasy kind of books so I think I would be able to really enjoy the complexities of the world and the themes that are discussed are ones I am interested in – especially the religious and political ones. But when it comes to the plot and characters themselves, it seems like some work could still be done there. So some good points, some bad ones too. Great review and you kept it very evenly balanced!

    Liked by 1 person

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