A war story. A fantasy science-fiction. A short easy read.

Today, I am discussing By Death Defined by Hugo Damas. With just 186 pages, the book hits the spot in short reads that managed to impress me very much this year.

The French Emperor is marching towards Ireland. The seemingly unimportant Belfast is under attack & the soldiers have to fight to stop this ghastly invader.

One particular Irish family is in the middle of it all. The O’Leons.

By Death Defined Book Review

by death defined


The biggest dealbreaker for this science fiction & fantasy book is the characters. There are several members of the family – all brave soldiers, in the middle of the war.

The book By Death Defined begins with Sorcha waking up to find a dead husband and her country under attack. She quickly picks up and moves to fight.

The sheer strength, determination, and dedication of these characters towards their country are so awe-inspiring.

Their worry for their family members comes right next to and it soon turns into a heartbreaking, but an enjoyable tale.

I am sorry for spoiling this a bit but Sorcha soon dies. I had to tell this just to tell you how easy it was to get connected with her in just a few pages and pine over her loss.


Given that it’s a war, there are several soldiers that die. Some characters you follow right in the beginning die too.

I found it very unique how the author connected it all. For a few pages, you follow Sorcha. The world building, action, and the plot is pacing forward while you follow her and soon, she dies. Then, another character picks up and the cycle continues.

Do read my other book reviews here.

It’s like the book’s plot is divided into sections, and even though the overall plot is one, each section has you follow a different character while the plot continues.

It was so pleasant to read such a different writing style and amazing to see how the story of By Death Defined was complicated in this manner to make it even more entertaining and enjoyable.


The overall plot of By Death Defined is mysterious and yet, I felt it a bit faded in front of the exceptional work with the characters and writing.

But I enjoyed the magic system, the world-building, and the whole idea.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anybody who’s looking for an easy to read, short, fast-paced, interesting, very well written and connectable fantasy novel.

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