Cover Image: Waiqar


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My only real experience with Descent: Legends of the Dark are the books produced by Aconyte; it's a game that kind of slipped past me, and that I've never really had the chance to play. Each time I read one of the books though, such as Zachareth and The Raiders of Bloodwood, I find myself getting more and more interested in this world and its lore. I loved the deep dive of Zachareth, and the focus on a villainous character, and I thought that it was my favourite of the series, but writer Robbie MacNiven has blow it out of the water with his new villain focused book, Waiquar.

Waiquar begins by introducing readers to Tomaz, a student at Grayhaven (a place that will be familiar to those that read Zachareth). Tomaz has had an interest in necromancy for years, studying the dark magical art in secret for years, and since coming to Grayhaven found himself meeting like-minded students. This small death cult turns on Tomaz, however, and drags him from his bed in the middle of the night. Bound and gagged, Tomaz is taken far from Grayhaven, and is eventually brought to the dark and festering swamps of the Mistlands. It's here that he comes face to face with the undead for the first time, as he's taken by skeletal knights deeper into the territory of the living dead.

Tomaz is our entry character, as he's brought to Zorgas, the main seat of power in that dark and forsaken land. Here he's brought before the greatest necromancer in existence, the ancient and powerful Waiquar, who called upon the hidden servants and worshippers hidden throughout the world of the living to bring him a human student of Grayhaven. Tomaz is a gift to Waiquar's apprentice, Tristayne. He's ordered to keep Tomaz alive, to keep him safe. Now Tomaz finds himself as one of the only living creatures in the Mistlands, and whilst his physical safety seems assured by the will of powerful entities, he now faces a constant nightmare of death and horror around him.

Whilst this is happening, Waiquar is dealing with unrest within his kingdom. Waiting patiently for the perfect time to lead his forces of the dead against the rest of Terrinoth, some of his subjects have begun to speak out against their lord, mistaking his patience as a sign of weakness. When an outside, ancient, force begins to whisper in the ears of several members of the court plots begin to form to challenge Waiquar for power and rule. As open dissent begins to take root Waiquar will have to lead his forces into combat in order to maintain his grip upon his kingdom.

Waiquar is a book about fantasy politics and shady double-dealings. Secret alliances are made, oaths are broken, plots are formed, and full open warfare takes over the Mistlands as people make grabs for power. It's all of these interesting, engaging things, but with the undead. The book features necromancers, skeletal soldiers, vampires, spirits, and ghoulish beasts rather than people. Everything in the Mistlands is a horror of some kind, something from nightmares, yet they're not mindless monstrosities but thinking, calculating characters with more depth than you'd first think. This makes Waiquar one of the most enjoyable and engaging fantasy novels that I've read, as it's all a dark, twisted version of what you come to expect from high court drama fantasy.

Most fantasy stories, when dealing with the undead, fall into the trap of making everything into a monster. There might be a powerful figure or two that has some kind of personality and agency, but for the most part the undead are treated as mindless figures, or monsters. MacNiven goes the opposite route with this, and near every creature in this book has some kind of agency and personality. The skeleton soldiers that make up Waiquar's army aren't just mindless automatons, we get to know his key generals, understand their drives and motivations, and get inside their ancient heads. This shift away from the expected makes the book a lot more interesting, and means that you can never be sure exactly where loyalties lie.

Despite never really leaving the Mistlands, and even then staying mostly within a location or two when there, the book manages to pack an incredible amount of world building into the pages. As said earlier, I'm not a huge fan of the franchise, and my lore knowledge is relegated to a few books, but this book really expanded upon that. Thanks to the massive age of the characters involved the book is able to delve deep into the history, to take readers back to times long passed, as well as exploring what's happening in the world at the present. The book does a wonderful job at slowly giving you more and more information, of slowly expanding your knowledge without giving you huge info-dumps and lore drops that could cause you to become overwhelmed. The information you're given feels natural, it fits with the moments, and it allows you to feel like you have access to all of the key information to get everything you can out of the story.

Waiquar has everything that I love about fantasy stories, it has complex double dealings and betrayals, court politics, the outbreak of war and huge battles, dangerous monsters, deep history, and complex characters. The book is incredibly clever in that is gives you a lot of key information early on that explains the core story of the book, yet it's done so in so subtle a way that once it's revealed at the end you feel silly for having not realised before. MacNiven makes Waiquar look incredibly smart, not by pulling some obscure info out at the end or giving you a reveal that you could never see coming, but by allowing the audience to not realise that they've already been given everything they need.

Come the end of the book I was honestly upset that the story was done, I'd come to love the world that MacNiven had created, and wanted to explore it further. There are a couple of characters that I'd come to really enjoy reading, and there's one in particular who goes through quite a big development that the end really feels like the start of the next chapter of their story; a chapter I really want to read. This book is up there with my favourite fantasy novels, it's got the scale and scope of an epic, and it feels like this could be the first entry in an amazing series dedicated to this character and his evil schemes. I really, really hope that we get more of Waiquar and his court, but if not, we've got a fantastic book that I'm going to be reading again and again.

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Curiosity and the cover prompted me to try out this epic and deranged world. It does not disappoint; indeed, this necromantic narrative follows three very different interconnected (I’d say lives but are the living) existences. Waiqar is basically the King of Necromancers, Tristayne is his apprentice, and Tomaz is the unfortunate human along for the journey. First, the writing itself is rich with a strong voice, descriptive details, and nomenclature that adds to the world-building. Second, the backstories, character depth, political turmoil, and plot are superb.

It is not for the faint at heart, nor a quick novel to devour. I actually had to look up a few definitions of words, which I rarely ever do. Ever. I took my time to digest and submerge my mind into this complicated and dismal world. If you are searching for a powerful story that drags you into an epic fantasy, stop your searching and read this book.

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This was a fantastic read! It’s set in the world of a fantasy game (Descent: Legends of the Dark) that I’ve never played before and know nothing about – thankfully, this book can be read as a standalone and requires no previous knowledge of the world and its denizens. Though I do imagine that being familiar with the game only adds to the reading experience overall.

The author excelled at worldbuilding and the descriptiveness of his writing. I was immediately immersed in this setting, and in a work with a focus on necromancy and the undead, the atmosphere was just as it should be. The Mistlands were easy to picture, and the number of creatures and monsters that were incorporated added much to the immersion of this setting. I loved how easily the author wove the lore and history of this world into the plot and wrote everything in a realistic and three-dimensional way.

I enjoyed the variety of the characters. The focus of the work is on two necromancers and their human slave Tomaz, so we’re able to gain insight into two drastically different sides of the same story. I also liked how different Waiqar and his apprentice were, the struggle for power between the two of them, and the politics related to the different factions present in the Mistlands. I love a well written read that focuses on the “villains” that doesn’t feature a redemption arc, and this book did not disappoint.

If you enjoy fantasy, especially darker fantasy, then this is a must read.

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This was another great instalment in the Descent series.
I love morally grey/villain stories with a good background story.
Lots of action, war, demons, undead and political intrigue.
If you've enjoyed the previous novels or want to read a fantasy novel that can be read as a standalone, you should pick this one up.

Thank you Netgalley and Aconyte books for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I was given a copy to review via Netgalley and Aconyte Books. My reviews are always honest and all opinions are my own. #Waiqar #DescentLegendsoftheDark #RobbieMacNiven #Netgalley #AconyteBooks #BookReview

If you are looking for a brilliant high fantasy novel in the vain of the DragonLance and Forgotten Realms which ties into the popular Descent games you have come to the right place. I do want to say though that while familiarity with the world of Descent is of course going to be helpful it is not necessary to enjoy this brilliant and dark novel.

On a twist of events we get to see the world of Descent through the eyes of the bad guy, this time the most notorious necromancer, Waiqar, as he begins his conquest of the realms. Driven by his hunger for power, arrogance and skill. But before he can raise his undead armies and march on the Baronies Waiqar must secure his hold on the mistlands. But his court is far from secure filled with those who would easily cease control themselves from corrupt vampires to apprentices harbouring dark secrets. While his enemies vie for power Waiqar must see his plans come to fruition but power that is hard won can easily be lost.

I personally enjoyed this one perhaps a little more than the Zachareth novel purely due to seeing more of the workings of the court. There is a lot going on in this one and it’s incredibly well written. There is blood, gore, vampires, humans and of course the undead. It’s hard to catch your breath in this one and that’s just how I like some fantasy to be. While there is not a lot of detail on the world beyond the court in the sense of world building I don’t feel this would be a barrier to a reader since there is so much going on in the court. Drama intrigue and action intermingle to create a pulse pounding fantasy that is hard to put down.

One thing I love about the series most of all is looking at the ‘villains’ and while we don’t see a redeeming arc it is nice to be party to the ‘bad guys’ plans and story for once. I love a good fantasy about heroes saving the day but it’s nice to see the other side of the coin and these novels do that perfectly. They give an insight into what makes the villains tick, what causes them to act the way they do and for me that it a refreshing and enjoyable thing. I can’t wait to see if we get more villains stories in the future but I really hope we do.

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I chose this book on the off chance and I am so glad I did. OMG WHAT A READ!!!!!
Very dark, very bloody and so much more. I was hooked from the first to the last page. Waiqar is the great Necromancer and the undying. He was once an apprentice to a great wizard. He is now king and has his own death legion. He is master of his realm and has his own method of dealing with unrest. This book is full on and definitely not for the squeamish. These pages are soaked in blood. Vampires, humans and everything that once was dead. I loved the back story, the writing is brilliant and so descriptive. The world building is dark and dismal. An action packed dark, dark fantasy. I have found a new author and he has been added to my MUST READ pile. The start of a new series can I have the next book now PLEASE!!!!!
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC in return for giving an honest review.

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A great fantasy book. There’s isn’t much not to like about this book. I recommend this book to anyone that is a fan of fantasy.

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I'm assuming this book is based on the game Runewars. It is the reason it reads like an 80s movie that of Red Sonja or Dragon Slayer. That being said Waiqar was an enjoyable read because I was already familiar with the world; had I not been the book would have been difficult to understand and follow. I think more time should have been spent in building the world for those who are not familiar with Runewars. The characters could have had more depth and development since the backgrounds had already been established by the game. Over all I did enjoy the book as I've played Runewars and love the game. I would recommend this book to those who are familiar with the lore.

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Waiqar by Robbie MacNiven, not what I was expecting but was really enjoyable. I think a lot of others will enjoy it too.

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The action and drama in this story is filled with intense moments of suspense, and at times, dreadful fear. Phew! I came through to the other side! It really is an emotional filled roller coaster that completely absorbs you and takes you on such an adventure.

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this was another great book in the Descent: Legends of the Dark series, it worked really well in both the series of previous books and the game itself. I really enjoyed what was going on in this story, it had a great premise and I was hooked back into the world. The characters worked in this fantasy setting and it did what I was hoping for. Robbie MacNiven has a great writing style for this type of book and did what I was expecting. I'm excited to see where this series will go next.

"The dead speak of another host approaching, Great Necromancer,” she said, voice only a little short of a howl. “From the west, one that hungers for slaughter.” The news did not surprise Waiqar. He dismissed Falgor curtly, already able to sense the oncoming menace in the stirring of magics around him. It was a gamble, he knew, but he had weighed the odds well. He always did. Now only time would tell if his calculations were correct."

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