Wow. For me personally this book was a major step back from everything that made “The Ten Thousand” such a gripping read.
For reasons unknown Kearney decided to base the second volume of The Macht trilogy entirely on the human part of the continent and the city states which pretty much turns the book into a rather poor parody of Ancient Greece whereas the first part leaned more heavily into unknown races and civilisations, both of which made it more compelling than the standard military fiction I was used to reading.
“Corvus” doesn’t really have any likeable or even relatable characters, the titular young general was especially one-dimensional (hiding a dark secret that anyone who has read the first novel can figure out in about 5 minutes) and even Rictus seems to have lost most of what made his character so interesting in the first book.
Lastly “Corvus” in my opinion relies a bit to heavily on rape, violence and torture towards women. I can completely understand that certain horrific acts are part of war but in this case way to many scenes are punctuated by women getting raped, murdered or otherwise abused and it just doesn’t seem necessary or even evolve the story in any way.
This is especially true for one of the secondary female characters who is abused but narrowly avoids getting raped in one scene only for it to happen a few chapters later and then ending in her suicide a short time after. Nasty stuff.
I’m continuing on to “Kings of Morning” which returns to the Asurian Empire and hopefully a lot more of what made “The Ten Thousand” so great.