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The Wanderer Awakens is an ambitious urban fantasy that pits the hero against everything from mythical wraiths to nano-modified super beings. The science-fantasy mythos behind the novel is broad and rich, and the discovery of it is the backbone of the novel. However, told in first person from Victor’s point of view, the exposition is parcelled out with a sardonic and likeable narrative voice, meaning that the potentially diverting concepts are always firmly anchored to the plot.
Speaking of narrative style, Viktor Warden lends a light hearted noir-ishness to the novel, with his regular snarky witticisms juxtaposed with the moody descriptions of the New Orleans backdrop. Viktor’s secret past, his fantastic abilities and the atrocities of his enemies are peppered with mauling sincerity and dry sarcasm. For all that he is a super-powered battler of ancient demi-gods, Viktor is a very human, very approachable protagonist, who sets a conversational tone that makes the story accessible and keeps the pace clipping along.
Other than the sarcastic badinage, The Wanderer Awakens also revels in its action sequences. The novel is packed with bone crunching melee fights that are sure to satisfy those looking for ruckus in their reading. Explosions, chases, gun fire and brutal fist fights are never more than a chapter away.
The novel’s thriller-like pace may be viewed as a double edged sword by some. As mentioned, the concepts are highly fantastical, but the street-level grit of the action demands a running start, and author Ken Lange assumes you’re already buckled in when he puts his foot down. Those readers unaccustomed to science fiction and fantasy in a real-world setting might find themselves left in the dark— with fantastical revelation after fantastical revelation, this is not safe territory for those without the right compass. But for those of you already familiar with urban fantasy and supernatural thrillers, you’ll quickly settle in and enjoy the ride.
The Wanderer Awakens is a treasure trove for those who enjoy intricate fantasy concepts, and it’s framed with a sufficiently down-to-earth narrative that drops the occasional nudge and wink to the reader. It is a novel that confidently walks the fine tightrope between sincerity and over-seriousness, and between good fun and silliness. This results in a story that shoots for the stars while keeping its feet firmly on the ground.
If you like to read about wise-cracking, ass-kicking heroes going toe-to-toe with the fantastically monstrous, you wont go far wrong with The Wanderer Awakens. It’s a fast-paced, hard hitting supernatural adventure, with only a few elements that might make it unsuitable for YA audiences.