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2 + 2 = 5

By Syphax, author of Stone Burners

Jan 24, 2015: First, a note about the updating schedule. The Zombie Knight updates with a page or so every day. Each page is just a small tidbit, sometimes boring if taken on its own. However, this is a case of 2 + 2 = 5. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I found it more enjoyable to wait until there were about ten or so new pages before catching up, but of course this is entirely subjective. Now, on to the review.

It all starts with a dead guy, Hector. He is offered to become a servant, a person with supernatural powers, by the reaper Garavol. It takes skill to hold an amusing conversation with someone who successfully committed suicide, but damn does he pull it off. And the fact that I’m referring to the reaper and not the writer should be an indicator of the quality of the character.

Honestly, if 100% of the story were Hector and Garavol chatting, I’d be more than happy with that. But it’s not just that, boys and girls. Garavol didn’t resurrect Hector for kicks and giggles. They start with the somewhat vague goal of "stop bad guys" and then it evolves into . . . a bit more than that.

Hector, a strong contender for "world’s most socially awkward person", gets to meet a colorful collection of well rounded characters and stammer at them throughout the story. Each has their own distinct motivations, personality, and so on. The cast grows at a reasonable pace, and I can keep about 90% of them separate, which for me is fantastic.

Despite the supernatural, the Zombie Knight somehow manages to remain fairly grounded in reality. Even though someone can conjure a near infinite amount of iron out of thin air, the material behaves as iron. Not as strong as steel, conducts heat and electricity rather well, and so on. There are actually times where I learn something new about chemistry or biology, being too lazy to research anything myself until something pops up and I ask "wait, really?" and google.

I could gush all day, but in the grand tradition of "no work is perfect", here’s some nitpicking for you:

It took me an inordinate amount of time to catch on to the fact the story doesn’t start in Brighton, UK. This is partially because I’m oblivious, but also because there is nothing to distinguish the story’s Brighton and our world.

As well, everyone seems shocked when Hector first appears as a supernatural beatdown machine. Then, when he leaves the country, servants are actually super common, and everyone kind of just shrugs when one pops up. Brighton seems to be a sort of bubble of our world in the middle of theirs.

As I said before, that is all really just nitpicking. This is, hands down, one of the best serials I’ve read. And, if you’re not reading it yet, you should.

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