The next indie book review I’m doing is for David Finn’s sci-fi fantasy space opera all-around actionfest, Demorn: Soul Fighter. This is the third book of the Demorn series, and I reviewed the first and second of them last year. Those reviews can be found here and here.
As a quick refresher on the premise, Demorn, the Wandering Princess of Swords, is a witty (and sometimes nihilistic) young woman who has time-travelled, space-travelled, and dimension-travelled throughout a multiverse that’s crumbling under the weight of imminent cosmic calamity. She is an extraordinary fighter, making use of guns, fists, a supernatural flaming katana, and a variety of magical objects gifted to her by gods and other entities in her wide and varied travels. She has been a priestess, arena fighter, and presently a mercenary. She also really loves comic books, and is good friends with Frank Sinatra, who happens to be a leader in a resistance against cosmic baddies.
Each of the Demorn books has had a common difficulty. In their freneticism and dimension-jumping and panache, they are confusing as hell. They’re all packed with action which is so well-written and so detailed that it’s a beauty to read, but keeping track of the plot is always challenging. In Soul Fighter, a catastrophe called the Fracture Event has torn apart the multiverse, erasing past timelines and sending beings from one dimension into another, wreaking all kinds of havoc. Members of a cultish organization called the Triton Corporation initiated the Fracture Event for diabolical purposes involving wicked cosmic gods (fans of H.P. Lovecraft will recognize the concept). Demorn starts in a Las Vegas-like metropolis called Bay City, where she competes in Soul Fight tournaments. Each fighter carries several mystical skulls which contain a soul, enabling them to fight and die multiple times. The loser of a fight has their soul-skulls taken away by a Death Banker, shadowing persons with their own motives and allegiances. From this setting, Demorn turns from gladiator to assassin to hunt down one Death Banker who means to release a cross-dimensional plague on the city. This sets her on a path to encounter an old friend and sometimes enemy, Iverson, an operative and detective-like character with whom she embarks on a quest to find the Reset Pyramid, which will enable them to reset time and avert the Fracture Event. Along the way they encounter former friends and rivals and lovers (Demorn, I nearly forgot to mention, is a lesbian), including Demorn’s brother Smile, her former co-priestess Toxis, her former lover Winter, the powerful warriors Wolf and Wrecking Ball, and the white-collar foes within the Triton Corporation. This book also has a brief appendix to help keep track of all the characters, factions, and magical items in the series.
I can’t stress enough that despite how confusing these books are, I love them. Each of them has been an incredibly fun read, and I’d highly recommend them for fans of sci-fi and fantasy. Reflecting on the way the stories work, I see a lot of influence from comic books especially. With the variety of worlds and scenarios and the vivid descriptions, I’ve wondered if the books might be enriched if they were in fact graphic novels instead of prose novels. If the author ever does make a graphic novel of the series, I would be excited to read it, and I certainly look forward to the release of the fourth book in the series, titled Demorn: Ultimate Fate.