An army of righteous paladins is on a crusade to vanquish all evil in the world.
The only thing that can stop them is an alliance of the world’s greatest villains.
The Maleficent Seven is a Dark Fantasy written by Cameron Johnston and published in 2021. It follows Black Herran, Demonologist and once the bane of the land back in her heyday. She made a pact with the lord’s of Hell to conquer the world and deliver its souls—but she inexplicably backed out of the deal . . .
With Black Herran going into hiding, her band of questionably loyal generals turned on each other. Decades after their threat has been scattered to the winds, a religious sect is on the warpath to root out all of the perceived evils from the world; no matter how many innocent men, women and children they have to slaughter to accomplish it.
The path of this righteous army leads directly through the village where Black Herran has retired, right through the land her children and grandchildren were raised. So she hatches a plan, to rally her band of Maleficent generals to her side once more to fight the do gooders of the world and preserve her home.
The story starts off with the gathering: A necromancer, a vampiric beast, an orc chieftain, an aging god of war, a pirate queen, and a nefarious alchemist. Each of these devious warriors wants to kill the other for past wrongs; each one wants to turn on their old general for abandoning them in their moment of triumph. Black Herran must summon her old command of terror and guile to keep them in line to defend her home against the advancing butchers.
What follows is an entertaining, irreverent good romp where the different traits and skills of the Seven mesh and riff and bounce off one another to create a constant rollercoaster of unique devastation and mayhem. You mix demonic energies with necromancy and brute force, stealth and animalistic guile with diabolical sciences, and on and on and on . . .
The book does lean into its grim dark roots a fair amount, but then it also finds moments to bounce back and show the softer sides of (some) of the villains in the lulls between battle.
If I was to find a criticism of the book, I would say that some of the plot points are wrapped up quite quickly—but—it does leave room for sequels to come. And, if I am honest, there were times where I thought to myself, “Yes, I get it, this person is evil,” but funnily enough, I think one or two of them were just a product of their nature, like the orc and the vampire. The book does a decent job of providing this depth to some of its main cast, but then again, avoids it with some of the others.
So if you’re after a fast and crass slaughter fest involving man, monster and demon alike, I recommend checking out The Maleficent Seven.
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