HOWEVER MANY MUST DIE by Phil Williams (BOOK REVIEW)
I’m not usually a fan of fantasy involving guns, and neither of overly military focused ones. Nevertheless, I saw the cover of However Many Must Die though, and I simply knew I needed to read it. I mean just look at it!
The cover already tells you this is a dark, gritty and challenging read, so expect this when you go in. This features war, death, gore, and plenty more.
So let’s talk about the book:
This wasn’t much fun anymore.
Of course, no one ever said that it was supposed to be fun – though the hawkers and posters back home heavily implied it. They used words like glory and honour and superlatives about reaching your full potential, and between the lines you knew they were really telling you that war was exciting.
What really impressed me was how realistic the sheer horror, but also the comradery and the humorous moments are written. All my grandparents went through wars, and we talked a lot about it. This fit their descriptions and stories so very well! Especially how differently soldiers handle varying situations. There’s a bit of sapphic romance in here, bit it’s definitely not a main focus of the book, just one of the dozens of sides of the main character.
Wild Wish was trying to count the positives of this day, though. Most of them had survived. They’d won the battle. And she’d found a comfortable mound of broken earth to rest on and reflect, while everyone else was busy. But there were dead men as far as she could see. Or at least bits of them.
This last one hit home for example as my grandpa kept telling the story of being the one sleeping on a hard boulder and the others making fun of him at first, until it rained really hard that night and their beds turned into ice cold mud baths. There’s plenty of such little things throughout the story that just gave it so much more depth.
I freaking bloody loved the team of Blood Scouts being women, and how there definitely are undertones of the struggle to be taken seriously as a women in the world, but this squad is an elite one on their own, and so they get to shine, with no men around telling them they can’t do something.
The whole topic of misogyny and proving themselves when given the change due to plain necessity was well handled, and neither overtook the story, nor was handled too lightly.
Having POVs on both sides of the war allowed even more depth to the world and managed to show cultural differences. There’s definitely a good and a bad side here, so you know who to root for, but even the POV villain was relatable enough to care about her.
The world itself was also fascinating, with all sorts of creatures, monsters, different sentient species, magic, some sort of technology and plenty of regions to explore. It all feels smooth and like you can walk right into this world.
My only complaint? I had to backtrack quite a bit, especially in the first half of the book. I can’t say why exactly, but I simply started to drift off every so often and had no idea what happened in the last bit I read. I do think this is partly due to, as I said in the beginning, it not really being my usual cup of tea, and just needing to get a feel for the characters first. This definitely hampered my enjoyment a bit, if not overly much, especially as I got myself firmly planted inside the story for the second half.
Overall this was a fantastic read, that I’ll happily recommend!
However Many Must Die is expected to be out on October 10th and you can pre-oder it Here