Title: The Vagrant
Series Title: The Vagrant
Author: Peter Newman
Date Added: March 20, 2017
Date Started: December 30, 2017
Date Finished: March 21, 2018
Reading Duration: 80 days
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian
The Vagrant is his name. He has no other. Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape, carrying nothing but a kit-bag, a legendary sword and a baby. His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the sword, the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war. But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.
This was a tough one to review. I noted that back when I finished it and I still feel the same way. The novel has both issues and merits, and it’s not a straightforward story, which is not only due to the fact the main character never speaks. The number of enemies/villains also complicates things. There’s the Usurper, the Uncivil, the first, and the commander among others. They’re all part of the tainted essence that made the world the broken place it is now, but it was very hard to keep track of them (the Hammer was my favorite for some obvious reasons).
I needed the ending to marinate. There was a twist, but it wasn’t an entirely expected twist (if that makes any sense). What I really liked was through a large duration of the story, the baby essentially has two dads, and while I don’t think Newman was explicitly attempting LGBTQ+ representation, he still portrays two people of the same gender caring for and raising a child.
The Vagrant could take place on earth in the very far and post-apocalyptic future. There’s a yellow sun that was once the “sole star,” but now there are two. This reminded me of some show or movie where Jupiter became a second sun, and my hubs confirmed my suspicion. It was 2010: Odyssey Two.
Speaking of the baby, they wound up naming them *minor spoiler* Vesper, which either means “evening prayer,” refers to Venus, the evening star, or both. *end spoiler* Since they’re considered the last untainted hope of humanity, I can see how the first meaning would be apt as our last ditch effort in the darkest hour, which is pretty much what The Vagrant is about. When they get to speaking age, they often refer to themselves as *minor spoiler* “Esper,” with a toddler’s lisp, which, besides being a big thing in FFVI, is also French for “hope.” *end spoiler*
Through the titular character’s journey, his back story is revealed. We find out how he became the Vagrant, get a good explanation of why he doesn’t speak, and we also find out more about the baby’s origins and how he came to be their protector. In retrospect, this task, the people he met along the way, and the peril they were always in contributed to how the story ended. It wasn’t expected, but I wasn’t surprised. The only thing that confused me was why did the higher powers not stop this from happening. I think I tried to find a wiki for the book (there’s a wiki for everything), but I don’t remember what I found. *spoiler* The whole situation actually reminds me of The Last of Us now that I think about it insofar as both the Vagrant and Joel’s “jobs” were to deliver a young female to be sacrificed for the greater good and they wind up refusing to do so in the end. *end spoiler*
I did manage to finish this, but I won’t be continuing the series. I definitely liked the idea of it, and it’s impressive Newman was able to concoct a novel intriguing enough to be carried by a voiceless protagonist. You usually only see that in video games where you, the player, embody such a character so it doesn’t really matter if they’re sans speech. Thankfully, other characters around the Vagrant spoke, so the book wasn’t without dialogue. The beginning was excellent at pulling you in, and it never grew slow enough that I seriously considered abandoning it, but the numerous tainted/evil entities made it hard to keep track of them all.