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Review: Necromancer Awakening

Introduction
Necromancer Awakening is book one of the Mukhtaar Chronicles by Nat Russo and follows Nicolas Murray your av

image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu
image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu

erage Joe who was just about to graduate from college and was engaged to Kaitlin, the girl of his dreams, when he begins having strange dreams about a floating skull chasing him. The dreams get worse until on the day of his father’s funeral he is whisked away to another world where he must learn to become a necromancer if he hopes to survive and find his way back to his world.

Along the way Nicolas meets Mujahid Mukhtaar who takes him under his wing and teaches him about being a necromancer and the going ons of Erindor, the world he finds himself in.

The Good
Overall I really liked this book. The world building was phenomenal and was done in such a way that it made you want to know more as the story progressed. I loved how Nat Russo laid out the rules of necromancy and showed us how it worked via Nicolas and his thoughts and actions.

I also liked how Russo didn’t pull any punches and kept upping the ante so you never knew if Nicolas or the other characters would get out of the tough spots they found themselves in.

The bad
Overall besides a few mistakes with character names there isn’t much bad I have to say. Sure it was a bit cliched how it was revealed that Nicolas was really the son of Archmage Kagan and heir to the Obsidian Throne and was also the subject of a prophecy, but Russo handled these topics in such a way that it didn’t matter these tropes had been done before.

I also wasn’t a fan of how fast Nicolas mastered necromancy but Russo handled this well by having other characters like Lamil and Mujahid be better versed in the art than him.

The Verdict
Overall if you’re looking for a good fantasy read checkout this book. You won’t be disappointed.

Review: Chausiku : Nightmare of The Clans

image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu
image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu

Introduction

Chausiku: Nightmare of the Clans is Book one of the Chausiku series by Pamela E. Cash and centers around teenager Chausiku “Chassie” Moreau who develops supernatural abilities on her sixteenth birthday.

It is revealed that Chassie’s mother Adamma was a member of the sakombi clan who are one of six clans throughout the world that have supernatural abilities.
In her case Chassie has inherited telepathy telekinesis and the ability to disintegrate and reconstitute any object.

Chassie’s abilities make her the target of Rasul who is responsible for the death of her mother and has designs of controlling her due to a prophecy detailing her birth.

The Good
It was nice to see a protagonist who was a person of color for a change who wasn’t either a walking stereotype or being white washed. I liked that Chassie had flaws and I could relate her struggle to keep grounded given everything she had to go through.

The premise was interesting all be it done before in series like Avatar: The Last Air Bender and Naruto, but still enjoyable.

The Bad
Overall while I enjoyed the premise of this book it was executed poorly and the writing was sub par. This book could have used another round of editing before being published. Often times I found myself picking out typos and generally editing the book as I read, which broke immersion for me.

I also wasn’t a fan of how easily Chassie mastered her powers. Except for a scene at the beginning of the book she doesn’t struggle at all controlling her abilities.

In my opinion it should have taken her awhile to master her abilities instead in a matter of weeks she’s so powerful she can block Rasul’s ability to locate her, robbing the story of any tension.

I also wasn’t a fan of how Cash built up Rasul only to have the final confrontation between him and Chassie to be so onesided it was laughable and anticlimactic.

I also disliked how Chassie and John got together in the end of the story. Their romance added nothing to the story and could have been cut without losing a thing. Not only was it the cliched best friends who are secretly in love with each other trope there was no real chemistry between them and we’re just told they love each other.

The Verdict
Overall I’d say pass on this book.

 

Review: The Last Refuge

Introduction

The Last Refuge, the penultimate installment in The Last Survivors series, picks right up where The Last Command ended and is a roller coaster ride from start to finish. I couldn’t put this book down it was so good, and can’t wait for the next book in the series to be released. Warning: spoilers ahead turn back now

This time around Ivory helps Melora navigate back to Bray and company and he stays with them a few days and agrees to introduce them to Jingo, which doesn’t turn out as planned and results in the death of Ella by Bray as he tries to attack Jingo and she gets in the way. Ella’s death causes William to snap and he runs away to live with the demons.

To make matters worse Father Winthrop and his followers make it to the Ancient City and stir up all the demons with their racket, forcing Jingo and company to flee on Jingo’s boat during a storm.

Meanwhile Oliver and Minister Beck continue their trek back to Brighton while avoiding the demons and blue shirts.

The Good

Overall this book was a good read. It held my attention from start to finish and left me chomping at the bit for the last book in the series, due out this summer. Honestly I was shocked when Bray accidentally killed Ella and by how William up and decided to leave them. It should be interesting to see what happens to him in the finale.

I was also pleasantly surprised with how Fitzgerald and the other women were able to take out Tenbrook and his men. I won’t give away how they manage this but it was a good comeuppance for Tenbrook and all the hard hearted men who treated the barren women like dirt.

The Bad

Overall I didn’t find many areas to critique. There were a few typos but none that really detracted from the story. Overall I was a bit taken back by the viciousness Tenbrook displayed when he killed Franklin and had his men take out the clergymen.

The Verdict

If you’ve enjoyed the first four books so far then by all means go out and get this book today.

Review: The Last Humanity

Introduction

Picking up right where The Last Escape left off, The Last Humanity is action packed and full of twists and turns that will keep you turning the page.

The Good

Overall this entry in the series really ratcheted up the action and left me wanting to know what happens next. I particularly like Fitzgerald’s story line in this book and was glad to see her make it to the end without being killed off, unlike some characters who weren’t so lucky.

When she laid out her pan to force Father Winthrop to ride out on the mission to the Ancient city I thought she was a goner for sure, but I was pleasantly surprised that it paid off and she was left relatively unscathed, save the brutality she experienced at the hands of Tenbrook, who has been picked to replace General Blackthorn.

I also liked the interaction between Melora, William and Ella. It was nice given everything that has happened so far they could find a little happiness in their lives. Though it not all fun and games for them as they make their way to the Ancient city and encounter demons on the way there, but they manage to kill any of the infected they come upon and carry on without Bray to guide them.

During the fight with the demons William climbs a tree thinking he can control the infected and surprisingly they listen to him. Ella thinks this is another sign that his mind is going, but given what we know about the infected and in a later scene with Ivory and Jingo, I think William won’t become a savage like the other demons.

I also liked the plot line of Scholar Evan plotting to oust Tenbrook only to have someone close to him inform Tenbrook about the coup.

The Bad

I didn’t particularly like how General Blackthorn helped Fitzgerald after he found her after Tenbrook ravished her. It didn’t make sense given that up until that point he was depicted as a callous and heartless hard ass.

Sure I get Fitz reminds him of his first wife but that alone wouldn’t explained his sudden soft-heartedness. It came off as out of character for him. Now had he demonstrated an inkling of kindness before this it wouldn’t have been so jarring.

I also didn’t like how Franklin got rewarded for his less than stellar actions toward Oliver and Father Winthrop, Sure he may have been forced to put Father Nealson to the pyre for questioning his promotion to Bishop of Brighton, but overall he didn’t suffer any repercussions for beating Oliver or plotting to oust Winthrop.

The Verdict

Overall if you liked books one and two, go heard and get this book.

Review The Last Suvivors

image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu
image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu

Introduction

The Last Survivors: A Dystopian Society in a Post Apocalyptic World is book one of a pentalogy by Bobby Adair and T.W. Piperbrook. Set in the three cities of Brighton, Davenport and Coventry the story centers around the various people as they struggle to live in a society reduced back to medieval times in terms of technology and knowledge(most people don’t know who to count higher than they have fingers), and plagued by demons(zombies) created when people are exposed to plant spores that bloom in the fall.

The story primarily centers around Ella and her son William who has been exposed to the plant spore and has the characteristic smudges that identify the afflicted from the general populous.

Every year the three cities hold the Cleansing, a mandatory public ceremony where people disrobe and have their bodies examined for smudges. Having already lost her husband to the previous year’s Cleansing Ella is distraught when she discovers her eleven year old son, William, is infected by the spores . Rather than lose him too she plots an escape to her aunt and uncle’s farm in Davenport.

The good
I couldn’t put this book down. Even though it lacked diversity in characters I still found it a good read. Ella’s fears were real and palpable and I readily identified with her struggles.

For essentially a zombie story the authors found a believable way to present the demons without falling into the stale tropes, such as being infected by their bite.

Also I thought it was a good call of their part not to have the people killed by the demons to come back as ones themselves. In this way the demons were made a potent threat without overdoing it and breaking suspension of disbelief.

The bad
Aside from a few typos the book was otherwise flawless, however I did have issues with the story. For example Father Wintrope was the cliched lecherous priest and only believed in the Word, the in universe dominant religion, so far as it enabled him to live the good life while the masses slaved away just to scrape by.

Also General Blackthorn was the trite blood thirsty soldier and his actions made little sense given that people were barely getting by and should have revolted given Blackthorn’s heavy hand. Yet you’d be hard pressed to see anyone brave, or stupid enough to go against either Wintrope or Blackthorn.

I also take umbrage with the lack of diversity in the characters. It wouldn’t have killed them to have a few people of color in there instead of the wall to wall white characters.

I also didn’t like how the book just abruptly ends once they arrive arrive in Davenport. Without spoiling the ending for you i’ll just say it could have been handled better after all that build up it just stops.

The Verdict
Overall this book was a fun read and if you’re looking for a good read to tide you over get it. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series and will review them as I finish them.

Review: Elements of a Broken Mind

Introduction
Elements of a Bro

image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu
image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu

ken Mind is book one of the Clear Angel Chronicles by Heidi Angell. Set in small town America the plot revolves around a serial killer targeting women in the area. In charge of the case is Grant Anderson. Formerly from the city he moved to town to get away from the craziness only to have it find him in the end.

With no leads to the case Detective Anderson gets help in the form of the eponymous Clear Angel, resident horse trainer and psychic. She is drawn to the case by visions of the missing girls which she can’t control.

Grant is reluctant to believe in her abilities until she proves it to him by predicting his promotion to lieutenant.

The Good
Overall the book was enjoyable, the plot engaging and the characters well rounded. Once I was able to turn off my inner editor(more on that later) I was hooked and couldn’t put it down.

I found Grant to be very likable and related with his longing to see his daughter again. As for Clear she was strong willed and independent, yet I could relate to her fear of being used and ridiculed for her gift.

It was refreshing that she didn’t have full control of her abilities, unlike in most stories where the psychic has no problems with their abilities and are never shown struggling to use them like Clear does.

The chemistry between Clear and Grant was there from the beginning and was a natural part of the story without overshadowing the plot like in some books.

The Bad
In all honesty the book could have used another pass with the editor. I found a few typos and the sentences were a bit on the wordy side for my tastes, but overall nothing that impeded me from enjoying the story.

I also found some of the plot twists predictable, like how the killer was also psychic, or how Clear would go after him and wind up being the last sacrifice.

I found the killer’s motive to be on the vague side and really didn’t get why he’d go through all the trouble of kidnapping the girls just because he was crazy.

Conclusions
Overall I’d recommend this book to fans of thrillers, cop procedural shows, and anyone else looking for a good read. Check out Heidi Angell’s site here

for more information.