Judgment at Verdant Court by M.C. Planck. ★★★1/2
Judgment at Verdant Court is book three in the World of Prime series, which I highly recommend reading in order. The first book is Sword of the Bright Lady, and the general hook is that a man from our world is dropped into a fantasy world that strongly resembles a fantasy RPG. If that sounds like your brand of nerdiness, I’d suggest checking the first book out. Forewarning, the rest of this review may contain spoilers for the first two books.
Christopher has now discovered that there’s a threat lurking in this world, worse than anything he’s yet encountered. The harvesting may be neigh, and his fledgling industrial revolution is more important than ever. Plus, he’s still got to deal with the monsters in the swamp, arrogant nobility, and political situations which he is totally unprepared for.
In my review of Gold Throne in Shadow, I complained about how the book was straight forwardly using the “race of evil” trope in regards to the wolf-men creatures which live in the wilderness. I’m happy to report that Judgment at Court Verdant adds some moral ambiguity to this situation! This is the greatest improvement I’ve seen in the series, and I’m really pleased with this plot twist. I’ll leave the details for the reader to discover, but this is my favorite development of the series.
I’m still lukewarm on characterization. Christopher is just too much of an every man character for me, and the secondary characters come off as mostly one note, although I think Karl and Lalania have potential. I’m still wary about how Fey’s being handled. I’m glad that the last book pointed out that what she did was rape, but I wish she faced more consequences.
I was wondering if this series was going to be a trilogy or would contain more books. After the ending of Judgment at Court Verdant, I certainly hope there’s more books! Still, the ending felt more like an “End of Act I” than an outright cliffhanger, so I’m thankful for that.
While this series isn’t without its flaws, I’ve generally found it be pretty solidly entertaining. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the idea of a fantasy world based off of RPG mechanics.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy from Pyr in exchange for an honest review.