From the depths of a valley rises the city of Mahala
It's a city built upwards, not across - where streets are built upon streets, buildings upon buildings. A city that the Ministry rules from the sunlit summit, and where the forsaken lurk in the darkness of Under.
Rojan Dizon doesn't mind staying in the shadows, because he's got things to hide. Things like being a pain-mage, with the forbidden power to draw magic from pain. But he can't hide for ever.
Because when Rojan stumbles upon the secrets lurking in the depths of the Pit, the fate of Mahala will depend on him using his magic. And unlucky for Rojan - this is going to hurt.
An itchy feeling of d j vu accompanies the reading of this series launch featuring Rojan Dizon, a pain mage and detective in the futuristic city of Mahala. Rojan, a wisecracking bounty hunter in a flapping trench coat, joins forces with Pasha, a quirky man clearly destined to be a sidekick, and Jake, an outrageously gorgeous, leather-clad, emotionally reserved woman with brightly dyed red hair and a proficiency with swords. They take on evil in the always dark, wet, and glistening underbelly of a dystopian fantasy city powered by the agony of tortured children. While the central premise of magical powers accessed through pain may be disagreeably distinctive, the paint-by-numbers approach to character and setting overwhelms the engaging and carefully constructed narrative of Rojan, Jake, and Pasha s invasion of the city s fortress-like core.