Yaden Queztel is new to his role of Lotus Knight and, sufficed to say, being one of the Emperor’s chosen warriors comes with a lot of responsibility. But Yaden is used to defying expectations. As one of the most powerful psions, he’s spent his entire life protecting his home planet from one natural disaster after another. But now he’s on a new planet, in the rather gray little village of Hagermarsh, looking for a demon. With his guardian, Darios, in tow, Yaden sets about investigating the town.
Hagermouth proves itself it to be a dangerous test for the newly knighted Yaden as he contends with treacherous sea creatures, an attractive baker, and a village of strangely peaceable residents. Hunting demons doesn’t come as naturally as taming earthquakes and Yaden finds himself struggling to settle into his new role. If he can figure it out, he might just save the town and get the boy. If he can’t, he might get killed instead.
The Demon of Hagermarsh was rather fun, all things considered. It has some issues, but on the whole, the authors have done an excellent job of creating several memorable characters and setting up a rather unique universe.
Yaden is rather naive, but it’s charming and never hampers him from learning and evolving as a character. He’s eager and sweet, even while being pushed and pulled by his responsibilities to his Emperor and to his home planet. We see some of his childhood in flashbacks, but not his transition to Lotus Knight, which was a little odd. It’s Darios who I found the most intriguing though. He serves as Yaden’s guardian and acts essentially as a father figure. Think Alfred the butler from Batman. But despite his vital position in Yaden’s life, I felt like he got rather short shrift. Aside from the flashbacks where he takes an important role, Darios seems underused and rather superfluous. I felt like his character deserved a greater prominence overall. Yaden’s love interest, Caleb, is pretty boring and this was the only character that really failed to make much of an impression. He just sort of blended into the wallpaper and I never felt like he and Yaden were actually the perfect match that we’re told they are.
The world building in The Demon of Hagermarsh is interesting, but it tends to read as half complete and therefore it’s somewhat uneven. We’re only given bits of information about the Lotus Knights and their importance and the overall structure of the empire is murky. The importance of Yaden to the stability of his home world is clear, but the nature of psions isn’t fully developed. I appreciate that this is the first in a series and presumably as the series develops, so too will the world building. Yet with The Demon of Hagermarsh, readers are left with a lot of interesting tidbits, but not a fully rendered world.
The Demon of Hagermarsh is very good and readers are given a sweet MC who seems determined to put everyone else ahead of himself. Yaden never feels saccharine and his view of the world is refreshing for its altruism. The world building here needs some work and further scaffolding, but on the whole, this series is off to an interesting start.