The Fourth Tier is the first book of the Underworld Series, a spin off from author Penn Fawn’s Necropolis dark fantasy novels. It is the part of the underworld that is home to the master of sorcery and dark arts, the necromancer, and his alliance of beasts and the undead.
It is the most terrifying place in the afterlife where only the most unfortunate souls might be downcast. That is precisely where our protagonist, Hespatia, and her peers who’ve fallen from grace find themselves.
A desperate struggle to try and find a way out is their fare in this place filled with horror, and abound with curses and danger at every corner that the necromancer instills to keep all who try to escape in line.
Dark Fantasy Horror seems steeped in mediocrity with too many copycat plots and a lack of originality so it’s always refreshing to review something a little different and with the intriguing title “The Fourth Tier” Fawn certainly delivers. Creating such a vivid sense of time and place that you truly feel transported to his underworld setting.
Deliciously dark, Fawn gives us an intriguing plot as he brings his characters to life with vivid prose and quick-fire staccato dialogue that ensures the pace rarely falters whilst impressing with his ability to make familiar generic materials fresh.
This starts with characters that pleasingly don’t conform to genre tropes. From Fawn’s protagonist Hespatia to characters like Shae, Demba and Nyeusi to beasts like Crypto they quickly get their hooks into you as a maelstrom of action and suspense lead us to the ever-darkening depths of the Fourth Tier.
As his narrative gains pace deaths are frequent and Fawn’s Fourth Tier oozes with gloomy, Lovecraftian aesthetics as he nimbly sidesteps the cliché traps many Dark Fantasy authors fall back on.
Dark Fantasy Horror is a genre defined by technique with the best authors taking their readers on visceral, pulp-infused thrill rides and on this level Fawn delivers in spades as he skillfully orchestrates his diverse cast towards a satisfyingly gripping climax.
Sure to be enjoyed by Dark Fantasy Horror fans and beyond The Fourth Tier is highly recommended!