Ignifer’s Rise

Mike Grist Books, Overview 1 Comment

IR-500Ignifer’s Rise is an epic fantasy novel set in a bleak industrial world populated by bizarre castes, where a boy with the fate of the world written in his scars must raise a legendary hero to life, and prevent the rise of an apocalypse god.

Readers have called it- “compelling … impossible to put down … like China Mieville crossed with Orson Scott Card … relentless and moving.

It is book #1 in the Ignifer Cycle, available in print/ebook formats here:

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In a dark and remorseless city splintered by brutal laws of caste, Sen is a child condemned to death. Hunted by the King for the intricate scars that cover his skin, he hides in the city’s last abbey, sheltered by misshapen Sisters who lie to keep him alive.

But he can’t hide forever. When five violent children of wildly different castes enter the abbey, their street-savvy savagery clashes with everything Sen believes, unearthing the core conspiracy: the end of the world is carved in his scars. Now an all-consuming apocalypse god is rising.

Revolution rocks the city. The blood of all castes runs in the streets. With only five broken children at his side, Sen must unite the castes in battle against the King’s aberrant creations, and risk everything he loves to change the fate written in his scars, before the gaping black jaws of the apocalypse descend.


– Gorgeous character art for each of the book’s 6 main characters.


Read the prologue of Ignifer’s Rise here.

About the author:

Michael John Grist is a 34-year old British writer and ruins photographer who lives in Tokyo, Japan. He writes dark, surreal fiction in both fantasy and sci-fi genres.


If you’ve read the book and would like to review it, I (MJG, author) would hugely appreciate it. Even a few words on one of the sites below (or your own blog/social media) about your favorite bits (i.e.- it doesn’t have to be an essay!) would be very welcome. Thanks!

Amazon US Amazon UKAmazon CA

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Comments 1

  1. Ignifer’s Rise, by Michael John Grist, has several things to recommend it, and is somewhat better and a lot more interesting than the run-of-the-mill self-published fantasy book, but it’s still bloated and disappointing.

    The setting and language are the best. Setting: a huge grimy ancient city, its people splintered into a thousand subspecies castes. Interesting castes, too, the nearly-stone Balast, the anthro(?)bug Moths and Butterflies, Spindles and Deadheads and Blues and a zillion others. The Molemen are usury-butchers, who collect on unpaid loans by dissecting the valuable qualities out of their victims. The Adjuncs are chimeras stitched together out of dead flesh, used as police and shock troops. And above it all, the Rot: a black hole in the sky which once tried to eat the world, and will try again, soon. So that’s creepy and eerie and horrible and wonderful, and entirely worth the price of admission.

    The language is noteworthy. A number of important words in the setting are coined and work nicely: the Moth and Butterfly are ‘Sectile’ people. The butchers work in ‘mogrified’ flesh, and the Adjuncs are made of it. There are “gomorrah flies”, and “ghasting suits”, and stuff.

    (One word notably does *not* work. Grist consistently uses ‘mons’ for ‘mountain’ or perhaps ‘really big mountain’, I guess after Olympus Mons. He frequently talks about “St. Ignifer’s mons”. But ‘mons’ does not mean that in English. It refers to a nice part of the female body. It’s the Wrong Word and Grist *keeps* using it.)

    Now the bad stuff. Bloated: The book really needs to be edited down by about half. There’s lots of repeated material with slight variations, material repeated with slight variations, slightly-varied repetitions of the material, and repetitions of material, slightly-varied. E.g., the main characters have a lot of history together. We’ve watched every minute of it develop. They keep talking about it and more or less reiterating it. After the seventeen reminder of the time so-and-so injured sy-and-sy, it gets a bit tiresome.

    [note from admin- SPOILER is in white text. To read, select with the mouse.]

    Disappointing: SPOILER: the characters are trying to save the world, and they do everything right, and they still fail, and most of them die. I guess because it is book 1 of a series. Now, I *do* approve of having interesting twists in save-the-world plots. But this is a boring twist: the quests are performed, but the Rot is just stronger than the stuff that characters did, so it kills them all and nearly everyone else. (Of course by this time I was annoyed enough with them that I didn’t mind a bit.) Still, it was a rather WTF sort of ending. It made the whole book seem futile, and reading it seem just as futile.

    Well, anyways. It’s a more interesting read than many. Three mysteriously-gathered child companions out of five.

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