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"Legion of The Lost" review

Updated: Feb 28

Let me cut right to the chase on this one: Joseph John Lee's Spellbinders and Gunslingers series is not like anything you've read before, but it is pretending to be.

The meat of our stories here in Legion of The Lost (the final instalment of the epic series) continues to concern the conflict between two groups.

The tribes of The Land, a group of indigenous civilizations with an inter-faith understanding, but their own independent religions and deities. Onto this society come the Acrarians, a monolithic colonial power who wield "deatharms" and field disciplined warriors in an effort to settle The Land and take it for themselves.

Like I said, you've heard all this before if you've read fantasy any time in the last twenty years, hey, you might even remember this story if you paid attention in history class but...that's where the Spellbinders and Gunslingers series distinguishes itself, because Joesph John Lee has read some history books too and even more amazingly...he may have actually understood them.

You'll see what I mean.

Our hero throughout these events is Sennalhat (just "sen" to basically everyone, who wants to type all that out constantly?) a young native girl. She's plucky, she's brave, yes, she is marked for a special destiny, never seems to help her much. Sen's birth is marked by a special celestial formation, but under the complex shared religion of The Land, it marks her as an outcast due to her tribe's complex religion. This accident of brith never really works in her favor, but it serves as the foundation of her character and gives her a window into the complex world of gods and spirits.

That's not to say it doesn't net her some special powers, too. It does, in fact, every tribe has some kind of supernatural speciality tied to their animal gods. Which you'd think would give them an edge, but, in startlingly brave concession to realize, it's not much of an advantage against a line of riflemen.

From here it becomes hard to talk about the really interesting qualities of the story without spoiling anything, so...if anything I said sounds interesting, go head and check it out.

Let's leave it at saying that Joseph John Lee's (maybe consider going by JJ Lee, sounds like a cool writer name to me) abstraction of colonial struggle is fascinating in its characters, plot and world-building, and although its spectrum of magic animal religions to oppressive colonial force can get pretty dark with its unflinching answer to "what would really happen?"

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