I was kindly gifted a copy of The Tower of Fools by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. This in no way affects my review.
I was so excited when the email about The Tower of Fools landed in my inbox that I immediately leapt at the chance to read a review copy. You see, The Tower of Fools is the newest book from Andrzej Sapkowski, the genius behind The Witcher series. While I haven’t read that book yet, I love the TV show and its characters so I was more than happy to dive into a new fantasy world.
This fantasy is blended with some more tangible history in this book however. Not only is the main character caught up in plenty of magical shenanigans, he also has the Holy Inquisition to deal with as tensions between the Hussite and Catholic factions increase. This is quite unusual – or at least in the fantasy that I have read – so it did take me a little while to get used to but it was definitely worth the effort. In fact, I would say this of the novel as a whole: it has an expansive cast and geography so it’s not an easy read. You definitely have to work to keep some of the things in this book but it’s worth it. Just don’t expect to fly through it quickly!
My favourite part had to be the main character. Reinmar of Bielawa was an idiot, in all the best ways. He raced into everything and got himself into every conceivable type of mess. It certainly made for an interesting plot! Beyond that though, he was loyal and caring enough that you were invested in whether or not he made it out of every scrape that he landed himself into.
I really hope the author chooses to stick with Reinmar in the rest of the trilogy as he grounds a complex and detailed fantasy novel. The world building may be complex and layered but we can always understand Reinmar’s actions. His decisions as he tries to navigate a world that is going through a series of changes are understandable. I would also like to see the magical elements explored in a little bit more detail in the next trilogy. We have witches and spells and strange creatures but I am desperate to learn more about them and what the limits of this magic is. As Reinmar is fairly new to it all, readers have a few unanswered questions left about it. It works in the context of the novel however but there is definitely room for expansion and answers!
Overall, this is a really intriguing and fun fantasy that is well worth diving into. If you like hijinks and adventures galore, you will love this young man’s journey to freedom and love. And it definitely has that Witcher feel in terms of the quests that Reinmar has to complete on his journey.
Just don’t expect to read it in a day!