The Rostikov Legacy

Title: The Rostikov Legacy (The Malykant Mysteries Book One)
Publisher/Author: Charlotte E. English
Pages: 100pp
Price: 0.99 cents (ebook only)

In the frozen city of Ekamet, Konrad Savast is widely-recognized as one of the elite: rich, well-educated, well-dressed, and prone to spending his days lazing about and his nights attending parties. But that is just a mask: for Konrad is The Malykant, the secret servant of The Malykt. The God of Death is implacable and merciless, and it is Konrad’s sworn duty to track down murderers and deliver them to justice in the afterlife. … When he discovers the body of Lady Rostikova in the wilderness outside the city, Konrad uncovers a terrible family secret … one which may mean not only his death, but also that of his only friend in the entire world ….

The Rostikov Legacy is just the sort of story that I love: an appealing protagonist, an unusual setting, mystery, magic, and (of course!) Gods galore. Though only The Malykt appears in this story (understandable, as it focuses on his mortal servant), I am curious to see more of the pantheon in future volumes.

Because I will be reading future volumes. The Rostikov Legacy was just plain fun. Konrad is something of an enigma; I have no idea why he became The Malykant, only that he is fiercely devoted to his duty, despite what it has cost him. In claiming Konrad as his servant, The Malykt stripped Konrad of most of his emotions; he is incapable of fearing anyone except his master; it’s unclear if he is even capable of love anymore, though he certainly feels drawn to Irinanda the apothecary. Eetapi and Ootapi, the spirit snakes who assist him with his duties, are cool. The Russian-style setting is also uncommon in urban fantasy; that provides a nice change of pace.

My only complaint is that English refers to Konrad and several other characters as having “gypsy” coloring. Being slightly darker than the majority of the population of Ekamet makes them stand out; only Konrad’s wealth and education ensure his entry into high society. I thought it odd that English would use a real-world pejorative, when a made-up term, unique to her fictional world, would have worked better.

That aside, I thoroughly enjoyed The Rostikov Legacy, and I can’t wait to read the next book. Highly recommended to fans of The Best of Jules de Grandin by Seabury Quinn, The Girl With Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson, and Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard.

[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]