The Vagrant is a harsh fantasy set in the aftermath of what may be best described as a demonic invasion. They’re not exactly demons, but they’re referred to as “infernals” and they came bodiless into this world and stole human shells to house their essences, basically. The original civilization in this world was technologically advanced, but things have pretty well fallen apart now, at least in the south. I’m calling it harsh because some people are left for dead and the infernals who build themselves bodies by reanimating and joining corpses sound gruesome.
The Vagrant himself is a fairly noble character and does try to save a lot of people that others want to leave for dead, but he also has a mission (to bring the sword he carries to the Shining City in the north), and is carrying around and caring for a small baby, so he has his own priorities. The start of the book did start to get annoying because the Vagrant kept getting double crossed by people trying to steal the baby. An “untainted” baby is a rare thing in the south because normal humans who are exposed to the demons can become tainted by them. And then they usually start to mutate. The book does eventually move on from the baby-stealing plotline, however.
The novel does get a little awkward in places, but it usually turns interesting again shortly afterward. By awkward, I just mean that some of the conversations turn awkward and there are some places where the parts of the plot just seem to resolve themselves very abruptly. We’re thrown into the deep end at the start but we learn more about the backstory of the Vagrant and his world as the story progresses through flashback chapters.
I will note that the book was written in the present tense, but I’m not counting this as a mark against it since I actually felt it worked well here. It allowed for minimal information to be given out about the characters while retaining a sense of immediacy. Usually use of the present tense bothers me (as in it’s irksome) and it didn’t here. I can’t speak for others, however.
Looking back at the book from the end, the overall story arc is resolved although there is enough left over that is open-ended to leave room for a sequel. Not everything gets wrapped up but there is an end. Overall, you get enough details for the story but you won’t get much more than that and the information will be handed out piecemeal rather than at the beginning before any action happens. This book isn’t for someone who wants everything spelled out in minute detail. It’s certainly not as obscure as some other books that I’ve read, but you have to be patient.