Attrition: The First Act of Penance – The new fantasy superpower

There’s a new player in fantasy fiction, and it’s going straight into the big leagues.

Of course, that’s my personal opinion, but as a lover of fantasy I can highly recommend S.G. Night’s Attrition as a shining example of fantasy at its best. I’ll give you a basic run-down, shall I?

The story takes place in the world of Io, which has been suffering under the oppression of the Demonic Dominion for over a century. The demons exiled the elves, all but enslaved the humans, and almost completely wiped out the Majiski battle-mages…almost. Racath Thanjel is one of those Majiski, now living in the shadows as an assassin, and fighting against the demons, but the assassins’ leader seems to be keeping more secrets than the demons themselves. Racath is plunged into the fight and forced to choose his destiny. Can he become the saviour Io needs, or are the demons to great a force to overcome?


This book is a marvel. There, I said it. The final draft was written and self-published by S.G. Night at the age of 18, and when reading it it’s near impossible not to stop occasionally and think “wow, this guy writes like someone twice his age.” The way Night tells his tale, particularly in the vast vocabulary he commands, tells of a worldly experience and understanding that most 18 year olds would not have. His writing comes across as very mature and measured, and his action sequences are written as though he himself is gripped by the scene. His control of language is hugely impressive. In fact, that is the key word I would use to describe Attrition: impressive.

Night’s characters might as well be in the room with you (a bit of a cliché, I know but) they are deep and thought out and realistic. Their speech and their interactions in particular sound so natural, and Night makes it so easy for the reader to visualise what he describes and place themselves in the scene with his characters. A particular favourite of mine would have to be Notak, for his simple matter-of-fact ways and his style of speech – he is so well characterised that the way he speaks doesn’t feel unnatural or stunted, and I think S.G. Night has done a very good job of pulling that off.

The world of Io is as rich and diverse as any of the big players – Middle Earth, Westeros, Alagaësia, Shannara – and Night shows this off in subtle ways in the book. He has created an extensive calendar, a language, races, a system of currency, a political structure, detailed and complex religions…the world and its inhabitants are so vibrant it is impossible to remain detached, Night draws you in and holds you there. Attrition commands attention, and I think it is such a shame that it hasn’t had the popularity it deserves.

In 2014 Attrition won the gold medal for the Readers’ Favorite Book Award Contest in Fantasy Fiction, so very obviously people love it, but I think it deserves more than this. As the book has been self-published, it’s not had the publicity and marketing that would put it in the public eye to get noticed by more readers, and become more popular. That is what Attrition deserves: popularity.

With Dissension: The Second Act of Penance in the pipeline and due to be released soon, perhaps the trilogy will gain some traction and get noticed. Hopefully, S.G. Night will win the fans his work merits. In the mean time, I urge you to read Attrition, and let it absorb you into the intricate, epic, magical world of Io, in the way only truly great fantasy can do.


Author: camillehatcher

Bookworm, film fanatic, quote master, and apprentice wordsmith.

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