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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 withsta 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?


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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 withsta 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?

42 review for Onslaught of Madness

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah Teller

    Onslaught of Madness begins a new epic series from Jesse Teller. It shows us a large-scale war, when the militant nation Drine invades Tienne, a country rich in history, arts, and lore. The clash of cultures churns across Perilisc as other nearby countries get involved, in the hopes of preventing Drine from taking over the entire continent.  This war is Rextur's life quest. A seasoned warlord of Drine, he's devoted years of research, travel, and planning to conquering Tienne and destroying everyt Onslaught of Madness begins a new epic series from Jesse Teller. It shows us a large-scale war, when the militant nation Drine invades Tienne, a country rich in history, arts, and lore. The clash of cultures churns across Perilisc as other nearby countries get involved, in the hopes of preventing Drine from taking over the entire continent.  This war is Rextur's life quest. A seasoned warlord of Drine, he's devoted years of research, travel, and planning to conquering Tienne and destroying everything in his path. He's a worshipper of the god of destruction, and his faith and devotion give him a sympathetic sense of honor. Even though he's handing out horrible orders, we feel his struggles and want him to have some success.  Aaron the Marked is a young barbarian traveling with two comrades from an isolated mountain civilization. At odds with his honor and his soul, he serves Peter Redfist as they seek wisdom and righteousness. The three warriors search for ways to help Tienne fight off the invading enemy as they study war, battle, and leadership. You'll recognize Aaron from Hemlock (The Manhunters #2), but Onslaught backs up several years to when he's 12. You can follow his journey from his homeland and toward The Madness Wars in the short story "Land of Rott and Cur" in the Blackest Knights anthology. Vianne is a human mage, daughter of a Tienne nobleman, whose life has seemed to be mostly about parties, dolls, and fine foods. Suffering under an abusive teacher, her fate is more precarious than it appears. After Drine assassins attack her home, she's thrust into more responsibility and terror than she could have foreseen. Even as her world is being destroyed, she finds hope of a new future and throws all her power into defending it.  Sai Summerstone is a master swordsman. He's spent his life traveling the world, studying the blade and aiding in wars to find his love as foretold by a gypsy seer. Sai worships the Three Fates, and follows their cues from one battle to the next. This gifted rogue is a POV character in Chaste and a side character in Mestlven. Onslaught picks up right after Mestlven ends. Sai was brought here by force, and as he finds his way out, he becomes impatient. Visiting the city he grew up in doesn't help his feeling of going in circles. He struggles with balancing his duty to Tienne and his need to finally find his long lost love. Tera isn't from Tienne. She lives in Corlene, a country to the south, in the church of Boxhead, god of children. She has just pledged her service to the god and started training as a holy warrior, when she's called on a mission to find the next leader of the church and escort them safely back to the headquarters. Her uncertain path leads her through war-torn Tienne, where she seeks to find purpose and direction.  The scope of this story showcases the depth and diversity of this unique world. Mixing classic elements of fantasy with complex storylines and his raw, fast-paced style, Teller brings readers a daunting tale that feeds their need for escapism and realism. 

  2. 5 out of 5

    C.T. Phipps

    I have been a fan of Jesse Teller's work since I first picked up THE MANHUNTERS trilogy, a story about a mass jail-break of powerful supernatural entities imprisoned by a heroic immortal wizard. My favorite of that trilogy was HEMLOCK, which had the titular Manhunters try and take down an entire city's worth of vampires. So I was very excited to pick up ONSLAUGHT OF MADNESS and see what it was about. The premise of this book is the king of Drine is invading the Tienne. The Drine have a massive ar I have been a fan of Jesse Teller's work since I first picked up THE MANHUNTERS trilogy, a story about a mass jail-break of powerful supernatural entities imprisoned by a heroic immortal wizard. My favorite of that trilogy was HEMLOCK, which had the titular Manhunters try and take down an entire city's worth of vampires. So I was very excited to pick up ONSLAUGHT OF MADNESS and see what it was about. The premise of this book is the king of Drine is invading the Tienne. The Drine have a massive army led by the high priest of destruction, Rextor, who have an order to crush their enemies in whatever way is most efficient. Rextor would have preferred more time to prepare for the invasion but is happy to be given the go ahead for pillage. Opposing him is a group of unlikely heroes set against the cause but dramatically underprepared. My favorite character of the series is Vianne, the Porcelain Witch. Trapped in an abusive relationship with her pedophile wizard mentor, she is only able to escape by getting married to a man who intends to remove all of her magic. Even that defense is a poor one as if he discovers she's been violated by her mentor, he won't marry her. This is surprisingly dark fantasy for a traditional story of good versus evil, which is something that Jesse does extremely well. There's some heart-wrenching moments and real drama plus some great action.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

    Jesse Teller has been hard at work creating a new world, new turmoil and delving deep into the minds of his characters and their actions. The result is a new series spearheaded by ONSLAUGHT OF MADNESS, a tale of strife and war and humanity at both its best and worst. A battle-crazed nation will finally enact its well-planned war against a refined and educated land in its quest to overtake total power and control. One warlord is about to realize his life’s goal, ready or not, but is Rextur the mad Jesse Teller has been hard at work creating a new world, new turmoil and delving deep into the minds of his characters and their actions. The result is a new series spearheaded by ONSLAUGHT OF MADNESS, a tale of strife and war and humanity at both its best and worst. A battle-crazed nation will finally enact its well-planned war against a refined and educated land in its quest to overtake total power and control. One warlord is about to realize his life’s goal, ready or not, but is Rextur the mad monster he is fabled to be? What his plans unleash will change the face of the land forever and new heroes will rise to stand against the ONSLAUGHT OF MADNESS both the man so named and the horrors he can unleash. Follow and witness this tale through the eyes of multiple characters as foreigners and noblemen alike stand to protect Tienne from the Drine war machine. Familiar faces will emerge from other tales of Perilisc, even as new faces will become forces that drive this epic fantasy. Jesse Teller has the ability to create worlds and characters that become living, breathing and growing entities. He weaves multiple stories into one kaleidoscope of words and does so without missing a beat and this time out is no exception! Fascinating subplots, earthy characters, violence, magic and through it all, you know you have left reality behind and entered into the magical realm of an epic storyteller. Epic fantasy lovers will devour this tome and savor every word! I received a complimentary ARC edition from Jesse Teller! This is my honest and voluntary review. Series: The Madness Wars - Book 1 Publication Date: October 5, 2019 Publisher: Jesse Teller Genre: Dark Fantasy Print Length: 870 pages Available from: Amazon For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Full review now up at Grimdark Magazine.. . Onslaught of Madness was my second foray into the world of Perilisc, as told by the gifted author Jesse Teller. I’ve also reviewed Song by the same author for Grimdark Magazine. While Song introduced us to a marvelous and mysterious world full of magic and intrigue, we only got a snapshot of the workings of the near-immortal beings that steer the course of humanity across the continent. With Onslaught of Madness, we get another angle on this, but from a Full review now up at Grimdark Magazine.. . Onslaught of Madness was my second foray into the world of Perilisc, as told by the gifted author Jesse Teller. I’ve also reviewed Song by the same author for Grimdark Magazine. While Song introduced us to a marvelous and mysterious world full of magic and intrigue, we only got a snapshot of the workings of the near-immortal beings that steer the course of humanity across the continent. With Onslaught of Madness, we get another angle on this, but from a much larger scope. Drine is invading the neighboring country of Tienne. Drine has a huge military and is bent on conquest, with its king sending one of our POV characters to lead his forces in this full invasion. Rextur is a follower of Dis, the God of Destruction, and he’s been planning this invasion for years. Even so, the king has ordered him to action much sooner than Rextur had hoped for, and he’s now forced to wage his war early, taking the king’s son and heir with him to bask in his glory. Among those opposing Rextur and the Drine forces are a small group of unlikely heroes. Aaron the Marked is a 12 year old boy barbarian warrior traveling with the entirety of the Nation of Three, of which he is 1/3 of the total population. The boy king Peter and the equally young lad Jordai Stonefist finish the Nation of Three and are often underestimated due to their young age. Vianne, the Porcelain Witch, is a young noblewoman who has been given training in becoming a Mage along with her pampered life in the nobility. Her mentor has been rather cruel and abusive in his training, and she’s betrothed to a man she doesn’t love. Sai Summerstone is one of the world’s greatest swordsmen on a quest to find his long lost love, who he can see in his dreams but can’t quite pinpoint her location. He meets up with another of the world’s greatest swordsmen and they form quite the formidable pair to help defend one of Tienne’s cities against the Drine forces. Tera is a young lady from a neighboring country who is training as a holy warrior for the child god Boxhead. She is sent on a quest to find the next Perpetual Child to lead her church, and protect the children that will be uprooted in this war. Arundis is a mysterious figure that comes into the POV scene later on, and we’ll leave that for his eventual entrance. These characters are joined by a large cast of supporting figures in this epic struggle which gets its start in this first book of the series. The scope of this novel is vast, and it takes quite an immersion to really see how it all fits together. I mentioned Steven Erikson in my review of Song, as I compared Teller to him for his technique of dropping the leader into the action without knowing a lot of the backstory. We just have to run with it, trusting that important facts will be revealed as needed but not before. While I did see that with Song, it’s even more prevalent in this book, using quite a few more pages to bring us fully into the scene. Even then, there’s a lot that readers won’t understand right away, but if the reader trusts Teller and goes with it, the payoff is there. This story is equal parts grim and dark, but is so much more than a sum of those parts. There are some heart wrenching moments, and it’s not for the faint of heart. I very much look forward to the next book in this saga, as I can see that once it’s complete, we’ll have the real payoff and I expect Teller to provide plenty of surprises along the way. Not all of them pleasant, for the characters at least. For the reader, this is a feast worth getting in straight away without the appetizers.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    http://www.bookwormblues.net/2020/04/... Okay, before I get into the meat and potatoes of this review, I want to tell you that I’m of two minds about reviewing this book at all. I feel the need to pin up a disclaimer, of sorts, before we continue on. You see, Jesse Teller is a friend of mine. We talk almost daily, and I’ve also edited one of his other books (it hasn’t published yet and it’s nonfiction rather than fiction). So understand, I am biased. I am both his friend and his editor and likely http://www.bookwormblues.net/2020/04/... Okay, before I get into the meat and potatoes of this review, I want to tell you that I’m of two minds about reviewing this book at all. I feel the need to pin up a disclaimer, of sorts, before we continue on. You see, Jesse Teller is a friend of mine. We talk almost daily, and I’ve also edited one of his other books (it hasn’t published yet and it’s nonfiction rather than fiction). So understand, I am biased. I am both his friend and his editor and likely both of those things color my opinion, though I try to keep said coloring minimal. Over some of our conversations, Teller has told me about the vast scope of this series, and it got me interested. I’ve read some of his stuff, but between writing and publicity-ing my own books, and editing books for other people, my reviewing has sort of fallen off a cliff. I just don’t have the time anymore. If I’m on my laptop, there’s about 40,000 other things I need to be doing and reviewing only tends to happen when I make space for it. Anyway. In my estimation, Jesse Teller is one of the most criminally underrated authors out there. He’s got a veritable library of books under his belt, and another entire library full of books that have already been written and are waiting to be published. His series all have nuances he’s told me about, that tie them all together. Prolific writer, with a mind that tends to work quite a few levels below surface, his books have a lot for a reader like me to pick through. A lot of details that I might not otherwise see, save for the fact that I know Teller, and I know that those nuances are there for a reason. What I’m saying in a terrible way is that Teller’s books work on a few levels. First, if you want epic fantasy, you don’t really get more epic than this, both in scope and depth. His stories tend to take the good vs. evil narrative, and turn it on its head a bit. His lands are well-crafted and sprawling. His conflicts are true to the nature of the characters and the place they are set in, and they are just as three-dimensional as the characters, and as layered. No easy answers here. No flash-bang of magic and all the sudden everything is fixed. No. His characters have to work for their endings, and it’s all that effort that is so incredibly captivating. One of the things I love about Teller’s work is that he trusts his reader to figure out what’s going on. He doesn’t hold your hand. He drops you right into the action and you either sink or swim on your own merits. That storytelling method is very prevalent in Onslaught of Madness. While some readers might consider that a mark against the book, I actually really liked that point of this book. There was no warming up. No long, drawn out beginnings and all this time adjusting to weird words and arcane ideas. No. Teller bypasses all of that basically shoves a story at you and say, “Here it is. Eat.” And you eat it up, because the prose are fantastic, and the characters are riveting, and the supporting world and characters are just as interesting as everything else. There are a handful of characters in this book. As always, some will appeal to you more than others, though I chalk that up more to personal preference rather than any stylistic thing. You’ve got a twelve-year-old boy, and a swordsman, a noblewoman known as The Porcelain Witch (awesome name, by the way) and a whole host of other characters. They all have their own personalities and drives, their own baggage they are hauling around, and while it’s not always clear how and why the threads interweave and tangle, they stand as well alone as they do together, and sometimes figuring out how all the moving parts click into place is half the fun. I’m going to digress a little bit here, but one thing people keep saying about my own writing is that it’s very emotional. I tend to really enjoy making the emotional landscape as vivid as the physical one, if not more so, in the books I write. Emotions are a fertile place to play, and while I at first thought maybe writing emotional stories was a mark against me, I’ve long since decided I’m fine with it. The reason is, I love a book that makes me FEEL and I want my readers to feel as strongly as I do while writing the stories they read. I don’t want to just enjoy a story, I want to LIVE in it. In all its raw, complex, beautiful, painful parts. Make me cry. I love it when authors can make me cry. Now, back to the book at hand. One thing I loved about this book was how quickly it got under my skin, and how strongly it made me feel. It’s not all hearts and flowers. There’s pain and heartbreak. There’re dark scenes, and violence and blood. Teller doesn’t shy away from the dark or the light, but somehow, he manages to be honest to both and tell the story as its meant to be told, and the hope and painful elements of it as well. The plot moves forward at a relentless pace, and I advise readers to pay attention to details. However, the characters really got to me. They brought this fascinating story to life in my mind, and more than just telling a good yarn, Teller hit me right in the feels with a multifaceted masterwork that really did everything I wanted it to do, and more. The reason why I wanted to review this book today, is because the second book in this series, Wrath of Madness drops today, and I wanted to point readers in the direction of this book, so they can go read the book that just dropped. I also think that criminally underrated authors who show such marvelous skill and precision with their craft need—no, deserve—to be highlighted, and if I can maybe send one reader in Teller’s direction, then perhaps I have done a service to both Teller, and that reader who is sure to love the books he writes. And here we are. Onslaught of Madness is the start of a story, though readers will be satisfied with this one installment as well, as it has a nice, rounded ending (though you will want more, I promise). I look forward to see how things progress with Wrath of Madness. The plot is relentless, the characters are complex and pop-off-the-page real, the issues they face are just as real as the world that surrounds them. Teller trusts his readers to find their way, and I loved that. There was no warm up, just BAM here’s the story. More than that, though, is the fact that it’s Teller’s evocative, tightly woven prose that allowed all of this to work together so flawlessly, and really engage me on a deeper level that so many books never quite manage. I didn’t just enjoy the story, I FELT the story, and that makes all the difference. So. Onslaught of Madness was fantastic. I cannot wait to read Wrath of Madness. You all need to read Jesse Teller’s work. And now this review is so damn long I feel like I might break the internet singing Teller’s praises… So, off I go.

  6. 4 out of 5

    S. D. Howarth

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. ARC Provided for honest review. This is one to make you think and no mistake. As a result, it challenges the reader and not just with the length. I like characters and POV changes and like WOT and Malazan you are not disappointed and few punches are held back. That is where the challenge comes in. It can take quite a while to get into the saga through a couple of POV iterations. This makes the initial 30-40% very slow going and part of me feels it may have been better, split, or focusing on a narr ARC Provided for honest review. This is one to make you think and no mistake. As a result, it challenges the reader and not just with the length. I like characters and POV changes and like WOT and Malazan you are not disappointed and few punches are held back. That is where the challenge comes in. It can take quite a while to get into the saga through a couple of POV iterations. This makes the initial 30-40% very slow going and part of me feels it may have been better, split, or focusing on a narrower band of characters as the counterpoint to Madness. One POV group does feel like a challenge too far with three characters of similar names, especially when returning to them and a huh moment of acclimation. Madness himself is damn interesting in his own right and it can take a while to get back to the Bull man. His gang of evil misfits exude malevolence in a manner not dissimilar to the Ten who were Taken, with a more casual brutality and disregard for the populace. The next 40-90% are the payback through the demolition derby of betrayal, butchery, cities falling and opposing cults. The story and pacing picks up and it is hard not to anticipate the culmination of myriad powerplays where anyone 'normal' appears to be labour or cannon fodder. This is where the rich detail and broad world view comes into it's own and polishes the broad history of the world and how to grasp it through the eyes of numerous empowered individuals. Part of me wants Madness to win and I don't know why, as he isn't a nice chap and it could be far worse looking at his superiors and cronies. The other part of me is cheering the little girl and her boxhead horse along. Her story, could be an easy one to edit out, yet I enjoyed the vulnerable chosen one trope through the twists to the conclusion. The Tribe of Three is an interesting counterbalance to Madness and individuals seizing their destiny. Juvenile Conan(s) vs a hellish army. As characters, they have their moments and provide the best drama in the middle section. The conclusion didn't quite blow me away as the guts of the saga. The celestial curve ball, throws a massive wrench in everyone's plans, invasions and betrayals and a neat source of tension and calamity with Madness' plans. One invasion is averted, One invasion is postponed, various casualties occur and Boxhead emerges rampant which was a fine touch, but the (success or )routing of Madness and the wrath of the bullgod remain to be answered. With the length I would have preferred a decisive engagement with this storyline, it was slightly too anti-climactic for me. Next time will be even more brutal. It was a lengthy read and I'm left with a couple of ways of rating the book as I found the start, middle and end varied. In short, I've split the difference

  7. 4 out of 5

    A.M. Justice

    4.5 / 5 Stars In short, I loved this book, which in essence is about how war changes people. It was somewhat rough going in the beginning: there are a lot of POVs, and some were more engaging than others as the ball got rolling on this story of the inexorable invasion of an army of super warriors serving a very destructive god. Madness, the title character, turns out to be one of the most sympathetic characters in the book, and one can't help but root for him as he oversees the massacre and enslav 4.5 / 5 Stars In short, I loved this book, which in essence is about how war changes people. It was somewhat rough going in the beginning: there are a lot of POVs, and some were more engaging than others as the ball got rolling on this story of the inexorable invasion of an army of super warriors serving a very destructive god. Madness, the title character, turns out to be one of the most sympathetic characters in the book, and one can't help but root for him as he oversees the massacre and enslavement of thousands of innocents. With one exception (the story of the Porcelain Witch, whose story captured my enthusiasm right off), it took a while to become engaged with the assorted characters who rally against Madness. Teller likes to dump readers into the middle of ongoing stories, and I initially felt very lost in two narratives (Sai the Swordsman and Aaron the Marked), and had trouble connecting with their stories at first. (view spoiler)[I also disliked how the POV of Sai's storyline switches to his murderer's perspective at the two-third mark in the book; I would rather have stuck with Arundis from the beginning, as I think that would have also explained better why the living sculpture character would so easily give over control of his city to Arundis's boss. (hide spoiler)] That said, the best thing about this book was how well Teller captured the emotional heart of each and every narrative before the end. I don't think there was a single character whose storyline didn't elicit some tears at least once. I also admired the complexity of the world building. A full review can be found here: http://fantasy-faction.com/2019/onsla...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Al Burke

    Review has come. Check it out here - https://www.alwroteabook.com/2020/05/... Review has come. Check it out here - https://www.alwroteabook.com/2020/05/...

  9. 4 out of 5

    M.L. Spencer

    Great book. Full review to come.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

    Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature! 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 bec Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature! 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! ;)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rosalyn Kelly

    4.5! Wow. What a story. Intense, dark and brooding. Grittiness turned up to the max. This is the second novel I’ve read from Jesse Teller and he definitely has a style that skilfully sucks the reader into his intricately imagined world and shows them no mercy once they’re there. ​ I was swept up in the distinctive multiple narratives, compelled to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. I quickly realised my enjoyment of this novel heightened when I read in long gulps of a couple of 4.5! Wow. What a story. Intense, dark and brooding. Grittiness turned up to the max. This is the second novel I’ve read from Jesse Teller and he definitely has a style that skilfully sucks the reader into his intricately imagined world and shows them no mercy once they’re there. ​ I was swept up in the distinctive multiple narratives, compelled to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. I quickly realised my enjoyment of this novel heightened when I read in long gulps of a couple of hours or so at a time, rather than in little sips, to get the full immersive experience. The story follows the invasion of the country of Tienne by the brutal country of Drine. Drine culture is essentially a war factory, with children taught to fight and kill from the time they can toddle. Women are baby makers from the moment they can bear children and slaves are captured to become more soldiers or mothers. They follow the god of destruction, Dis. Dis wants Tienne and sends his trusted warlord, Rextur Cherlot, otherwise known as the Madness of Drine, to crush it. Rextur seems unstoppable, carrying the Scythe of Dis and riding on Dis’ great bull. But mighty Rextur's grand invasion plans come unstuck as the country of Tienne proves not to be such an easy target. Unlikely heroes step up to fight back, other Gods grant followers great powers and skilled swordsmen unite. To maintain his power, Rextur captures his foe. But instead of making things better for him, they make them much, much worse. Moons shatter, cities crumble and blood is shed. For all his strength and divine magic, the Madness of Drine falters… The story is also told from the point of views of those who are fighting back against Rextur. There’s Aaron the Marked, who follows his magical King Chief along with another, who have come down from the mountains to resist. The trio are all boys, although where they’re from, they are men. They’re skilled fighters and strategists. Bent on following his King’s orders, Aaron has to deal with the pesky annoyance of his dead father’s voice in his head telling him otherwise. Tera is a young woman who is chosen by her god, the god of children, to find the new ‘Perpetual Child’ and save the Tienne children captured by Drine from being taken back to feed Drine’s war machine. For company and guidance, she has a magical wooden horse who speaks, and joins forces with a ‘pack’ of human/animals who follow another god, the Mother of Nature, but who also want to stop Rextur. Vianne is a witch of high status who is forced into protecting her betrothed’s city after her own is invaded. She has troubles with her drunk brother and his scheming friend. There’s also Sai the swordsmen, and a treacherous mage, Arundis. There’s plenty of action, deep worldbuilding and the writing is evocative with powerful imagery. I particularly liked this line: “The streets filled quickly with soldiers as Drine’s sons tore into the city of Eleacont like fangs into tender meat.” SO RAW! This book took a few chapters to get into, to really get under the skin of each of the narrative characters, but once I was firmly ensconced there, it was an emotional, fast-paced ride. Also, one of the character’s narratives abruptly ends and is replaced by that of their murderer. I was hoping that the character would reappear in a kind of “Ta da, magic, I’m baaaaack!” way, but unfortunately not, and they were shaping up to be my favourite. Onslaught of Madness is a grimdark fantasy that will appeal to those who love carefully created worlds with multi-layered histories, a large cast of complex characters, stories told from multiple POVs and bloody, unrelenting action.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Matt McAbee

    I would like to thank Jesse Teller for providing a review copy, the following is my unbiased opinion. Perilisc is a vast world with many a story to tell, this one is about the nation of Drine sending their war machine to conquer the nation of Tienne. Only the child king Peter Redfist has a chance of stopping this invasion. Jesse Tellers writing is captivating as always, this book has four main characters tell the tale, each stop with the individual character is short but is fast paced. First t I would like to thank Jesse Teller for providing a review copy, the following is my unbiased opinion. Perilisc is a vast world with many a story to tell, this one is about the nation of Drine sending their war machine to conquer the nation of Tienne. Only the child king Peter Redfist has a chance of stopping this invasion. Jesse Tellers writing is captivating as always, this book has four main characters tell the tale, each stop with the individual character is short but is fast paced. First there is Aaron the Marked and his companions trying to warn Tienne of the coming invasion. We have Tera who is searching for the next child to represent her god Boxhead. Sai Summerstone is one of the three best swordsman in the world and he is searching for the woman he has loved for 80 years. Last is Rextaur the warlord of Drine, he is leading the army of Drine on a conquest of Tienne. This novel is very entertaining and fast paced, I often found myself reading more than I realized due to the pacing of the characters arcs. I highly enjoyed this one and recommend to all fans of dark fantasy

  13. 5 out of 5

    William

    Jesse Teller has written a multi-layered epic fantasy world with Malazan's complexity and Westeros's grandeur. The story follows an initially somewhat dizzying array of main characters, and much like [i]Gardens of the Moon[/i], it begins somewhat mid-action on a lot of their stories. Complex histories and relationships are unwound over the course of the tale, with major characters dying off and falling away to be replaced by others. It lends the story an immense scope, but it does have the unfort Jesse Teller has written a multi-layered epic fantasy world with Malazan's complexity and Westeros's grandeur. The story follows an initially somewhat dizzying array of main characters, and much like [i]Gardens of the Moon[/i], it begins somewhat mid-action on a lot of their stories. Complex histories and relationships are unwound over the course of the tale, with major characters dying off and falling away to be replaced by others. It lends the story an immense scope, but it does have the unfortunate side effect of introducing several plot threads that never resolve. Perhaps they're elements for later volumes, or perhaps they're just there to lend a sense of weight to the deaths. Either way, the experience is sort of like catching the middle of a tumultuous history that may not have any clear cut beginning or end. Where Teller really triumphs is in the sense of scale to the power of the gods and their faithful. Malazan, for all its good features, always fell short of that for me... the gods there were very casual, more like just slightly higher ranking dudes than true grandiose divinities. Teller's pantheon expresses true majesty, feeling both in the mortal world and impossibly distant all at once. In a world where wizards can dazzle with amazing spellcraft, the presence of the gods in the world feels far more magical than the actual magic does. My biggest reservation on this title is the age of the characters. Many of the major characters felt about three years younger than they should have been. The child characters at the center of the action are intended to be exceptional people, and when other children wander into the story, the main cast are certainly more advanced by comparison... but at the same time, even amid demons and wizards and child gods, its still hard to envision an army following the direction of a trio of ten year olds. It was often easy to overlook. The ten-year-olds certainly don't act ten, so that fact would often slip my mind as I read, until there was some awkward reminder. All of these characters are constantly enmeshed in the setting's violence and brutal sex which, to me as a reader, was uncomfortable. The murderous moppets, the victimized young witch... I wouldn't say their stories were callously handled by the writer, but they are set in a callous world, and that juxtaposition was an unexpected unpleasantry. That aside, I felt the parts that work all worked very well. Some of the components and world building were simply brilliant. Boxhead, the child god, was a particular favorite, and his cult's customs and magic, and the holy mission of his paladin, all felt like a bright light in an artfully horrid landscape.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    Long, meandering, a bit ridiculous in parts Bad The story is spread across too many viewpoints, some of whom are boring or annoying. This means there are substantial sections which you’re just looking to get passed. The author is fond of children as main characters. It’s too silly to think a bunch of 10 year olds are outfighting adults, even well trained ones 10 year olds. None of the main characters are well fleshed our. It’s hard to care for them. Some nobles are caricatures of vicious incompete Long, meandering, a bit ridiculous in parts Bad The story is spread across too many viewpoints, some of whom are boring or annoying. This means there are substantial sections which you’re just looking to get passed. The author is fond of children as main characters. It’s too silly to think a bunch of 10 year olds are outfighting adults, even well trained ones 10 year olds. None of the main characters are well fleshed our. It’s hard to care for them. Some nobles are caricatures of vicious incompetence, which seems shoehorned into the world, rather than naturally occurring. Hand of the author perhaps. Having people or history over 100,000 years old is veeery unlikely without also progressing into a modern age. The good The fight scenes are generally decent. The realities of war are not reduced to pg level.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michael James

    I am a fan of indie books, but I feel this book is badly in need of a professional editor who would have easily slashed a couple of hundred pages off the length. Some good ideas but just a bit lacking.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Scott Melton

  17. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  18. 4 out of 5

    Samuel

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gagaja10

  21. 4 out of 5

    Phyllis York

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kerry Smith

  23. 4 out of 5

    Leah

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sany

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chris Bentley

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rion

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nathy Vhb

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bradley Ashbolt

  29. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  30. 5 out of 5

    Justine

  31. 5 out of 5

    S

  32. 4 out of 5

    Dustin

  33. 5 out of 5

    Garry Glanville

  34. 5 out of 5

    Karynn Campbell

  35. 5 out of 5

    Zach

  36. 5 out of 5

    Hayley

  37. 5 out of 5

    Sherry Perkins

  38. 5 out of 5

    Greg Thomas

  39. 4 out of 5

    CezarIXen

  40. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Marston

  41. 4 out of 5

    Bob Knight

  42. 5 out of 5

    Joe

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