We move back to the fantasy genre for this week’s edition of Why You Should Read… Bryce Lee, from Only the Best Sci Fi/Fantasy and his personal blog Seak’s Stamp of Approval, brings us compelling reasons as to why you should pick up your first book by John Marco.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsI was first introduced to John Marco a number of years ago by a good friend of mine through the first book in his Tyrants and Kings Trilogy, The Jackal of Nar. After that I was hooked. To this day, years later, I can vividly see the cathedral of Nar being frescoed, hear the din of each battle, but most of all I can still feel every bit of pathos written into his books.

And that’s what draws me back to John Marco; his characters are so real you can practically reach out and touch them. They could be any one of us and their struggles are monumental. Marco takes you to highs and brings you down low with a manageable amount of characters with whom you grow unbelievably attached. Their motivations are understandable and their suffering can be heart-wrenching at times, not to mention their exhilarating triumphs.

If you’re looking for gray, Marco pretty much wrote the book on it (hehe). I’m always impressed when authors, like George R.R. Martin, can have you sympathizing for the most dastardly character and Marco does it over and over. Characters such as the Machiavellian Biagio will always stay in my head as a prime example of someone I wanted to hate, but could not help but root for.

I could probably go on for pages about his characters, but I’ll save you that at least. In summary, they’re deep, they’re three-dimensional, and if you don’t love them, you’ll at least be impressed with them.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsWhile I appreciate the fast-paced, run-and-gun novel, Marco employs a much more descriptive style to bring about his reading experience. Through this approach, he paints a picture that stays with you. You’ll find yourself inside the characters’ heads, feeling what they feel and seeing the world how they do.

When I found out about this project, I emailed the man himself, John Marco, and here’s what he had to say about his writing:

“The only thing I might say, however, is that I’ve never undertaken a story I’m not passionate about. Some folks love my books, some dislike them intensely, but I’ve always taken heart in knowing that I’ve done my best and told the stories I wanted to tell.”

Marco has written two trilogies, Tyrants and Kings, and the Lukien Trilogy, and his first foray into the young adult scene Starfinder, book 1 in the Skylords series. He is currently working on another Lukien book.

Do yourself a favor and read John Marco.


  • Amanda Rutter (guest)

    AMANDA RUTTER, one of our guest reviewers, used to be an accountant in the UK but she escaped the world of numbers and is now living in a fantasy world she creates. She runs Angry Robot's YA imprint, Strange Chemistry. And we knew her when....

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