The Undead Hordes of Kangul by Jon F. Merz

JMerz-Undead Hordes of Kan-GulThe journey is everything in Jon F. Merz’s The Undead Hordes of Kangul. A starter to the new Shadow Warrior series, there is something classically charming within. Merz creates a world that feels familiar, like a classic warrior or fairy tale. These classic elements such as a damsel in distress and an evil sorcerer take on a life of their own in an adventurous fashion.

A young ninja in a fantastic land of dreams and nightmares must face an army of zombies to save a beautiful sorceress.Book One in an exciting new series, the Shadow Warrior saga.

In the fog-enshrouded peaks of the island nation of Nehon, Ran, a newly-minted shadow warrior is set loose on a musha shugyo, a wandering quest, whereby he must travel alone and hone his skills. Journeying aboard a merchant vessel, Ran hears tales of a mysterious lord believed to have the dead for his servants.

Soon these tales prove all too real as Ran comes to the aid of Jysal, a beautiful sorceress, whose undeveloped power gives her the ability to heal a land — or destroy it. But the Lord Kan-Gul also covets Jysal’s power. And when Kan-Gul sends a army of the undead to take Jysal by force, Ran is faced with the ultimate warrior’s choice: save himself, or face down a horde of enemies that cannot be killed for the simple reason that they are already dead!

Merz establishes a world that truly bases itself in tales of old. There are familiar elements throughout and very few things truly feel new. However, it was entertaining nonetheless. Merz’s writing style lends itself to the fairly simplistic yet overall fast pace he sets. This helps move the quest and overall story line along and only serves to make it more entertaining. Despite the familiarity in plot points, I was never bored while reading The Undead Hordes of Kangul.

The cast of characters each fall into their archetype which are classic. You have the warrior, rogue, sorceress and a tank/defender. None of these characters were overwhelmingly annoying nor were they incredibly interesting. That being said, they helped keep focus on the overall journey. The main character Ran was unsurprisingly the most developed. Though at times he felt young, there was a relatable ambiguity to his age. One of the best examples of this was when Merz had Ran reminisce of his time at school. It was these flashbacks and moments aside that gave some life to Ran. In fact, Ran was everything I expected in a shadow warrior, if simply in a bit of a bland packaging.

Overall, The Undead Hordes of Kangul felt a bit like a good one off comic book. There was a focus on action and the journey with little character development. There were quite a few things I liked, all of which were traditional elements. Though I will not wait with baited breath for the next installment, I am still quite interested to see how Merz develops the world and what new quest befalls Ran.

About Natassia 143 Articles
I am a performer by trade and have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. My bookshelves are full of many genres but I have a love of fantasy, SciFi and steampunk which have only spurred my performing dreams to help one of these fabulous worlds come to life. I tend to read books with a lot of edge and grit; if it's got zombies, space battles or fantastical steam inventions, I'm in. When I'm not reading or off making my own adventures, I can be caught watching movies of every era, gaming, and being scandalously political like any good steampunk heroine.