Review: The Undead Hordes of Kan-gul by Jon F. Merz

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Publisher: Baen
Publishing Date: September 2013
ISBN: 9781451639162
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5.0

Publishers Description: Ninjas and zombies! Book 1 in a new series, the Shadow Warrior saga. A young ninja in a fantastic land of dreams and nightmares must face an army of zombies to save a beautiful sorceress.

Review: This was a fun read, not to be taken too seriously. This was an uncorrected proof so there were a lot of grammatical/syntax/spelling errors throughout. The cover is weak. The undead hordes described in the novel are not skeletons but rotting corpses in varying stages of decay. The cover art depicts the last scene in the novel, where the skin gets fried off the undead, hence the skeletons.

The story-line was fun and the novel kept up at a real good pace with plenty of action and good character development. The authors prose doesn’t flow very well due to an over-abundance of verbosity. Scenes that involved the characters communicating with each other was over-done with useless information. IMO this weakens the characters. Sometimes the action is self-explanatory and requires no filler. There is an inordinate amount of logical progression and story-line errors. Hopefully during the final editing process this gets cleaned up.

I really expected more magic and Ran’s ability as a Shadow Warrior to verge on the fantastical. His abilities are a bit more down to earth while Kanchos’ seem to be a tier above. Not sure why the author gifted a secondary character with more skill than the hero. Although the author expresses (through Ran), his need to hide his Shadow Warrior past, it is not alluded to that he does so while fighting.

Even with all the errors that reside in this uncorrected proof, I had a good time. By September when this becomes available to the masses, it should be edited enough to pass muster.

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2 thoughts on “Review: The Undead Hordes of Kan-gul by Jon F. Merz

  1. To answer the question about why the secondary character was better than the lead: Ran was trained as an assassin/spy so his skill set was stealth and short-distance weapons. Kancho was a samurai and he was trained in the way of the sword. They had different skill sets that each was very good at.

    • I guess we read the book differently. I found no referent, directly or indirectly, to Samurai in the novel. Samurai were trained in a variety of weapons that included long bows (Yumi), chains, staffs (bo), pikes, tanto etc. Skills sets were from a variety of engagement lengths. The author states that our hero is a Master of all weapons as well as the shadows, yet fails to live up to his stated skills when the old man wields a sword.
      The way of the sword is Kendo, and has no affiliation with the samurai other than the link with Kenjustsu. Kenjutsu is aligned with the Samurai and means “The method of the sword”.

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