Pain is inescapable. Suffering is a choice.
Azrael, the Angel of Death, has known his fair share of pain. Losing his mother and sister and forced to join the Watch Guard at the age of twelve, he becomes the most feared assassin in all of Pandaren. As a Hunter, he searches for those with magic, called Spectrals, but has his own agenda–destroying the Fire Spectral who altered the course of his life.
Azrael, obsessed with revenge and power, undergoes an experimental procedure that gives him magic, but unexpected side effects cause chaos, and he becomes a liability to the Hunters and the Watch Guard, for the Angel of Death cannot have a conscience.
Rescued by the people he has sworn to eliminate, Azrael finds himself questioning everything he once believed as years of secrets and lies are exposed. His very nature is challenged as he battles unfamiliar emotions and navigates relationships that contradict the heart of a killer.
Chasing the Darkness is an escape to a land of magic, sword fights, and love, with memorable characters who come face-to-face with the darkness within, forced to journey down a path of either destruction or redemption.
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Chasing the Darkness follows an assassin who’s given magical powers which unlock suppressed memories that turn his world upside down. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
The inspiration for Azrael came from a video game called Overwatch that my boys played. One of the characters is an assassin named Reaper, who can teleport. In my first draft, Azrael’s name was Grim, but after a search for names from different sources, I came across Azrael, which means Angel of Death. I didn’t just want the typical assassin on a quest for revenge, which is why I added the side effect of the magic. An assassin that feels empathy is a liability, which leads to his betrayal and being dependent on those he’s hunted, forcing him to face the past, the unwanted emotions, and the vulnerability of caring for someone besides himself.
Azrael is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
During my writing and research, I found a quote by Plato: “For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of victories.” I love the anti-hero and the conflict of man vs. self, and for an assassin to conquer himself was an intriguing idea. I think we all have some darkness inside that we battle daily, and I wanted Azrael to be forced to deal with his darkness. Also, I learned from the Jerry Jenkins Guild about antagonists needing to be vulnerable (what he calls a “pet the dog moment”), and although Azrael wasn’t the antagonist, he still needed something to make him human, so to speak. Having an assassin cherish the sunrise, admiring its beauty, and the idea of starting new, brought a depth to Azrael that made him likable.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
There were two underlying themes in Chasing the Darkness; redemption and forgiveness. Azrael in his quest for vengeance found redemption. His love interest, Kenz, who held onto bitterness and anger, learned forgiveness when she held Azrael’s life in her hand. These two themes allowed the characters to open themselves to the possibility of love.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m currently working on the sequel to Chasing the Darkness. I plan to have three books in this series, hoping to finish the sequel by the end of the year. It took me two years to complete the first, but I’m hoping to cut that time down so fans won’t have to wait too long between books.
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Azrael’s life changed the night he lost his mother and sister to a raid led by a magic-wielding human called a Spectral. Now he’s a young man with a heart darkened by hate and a life’s mission to kill the erring Fire Spectral. Drexus, the kingdom’s army commander, then drafts him into an elite team of warriors trained to hunt down Spectrals.
Fueled by hate and anger, Azrael’s becomes the Angel of Death, the kingdom’s most ruthless assassin. In an experiment led by Drexus, Azrael receives Spectral magic and gets superhuman strength and speed. But this leads to unexpected side effects, and Azrael’s life changes again. The once cold-blooded killer begins to sympathize with Spectrals, but that’s a problem. Annoyed at Azrael’s newfound softness, Drexus kicks him out of his elite team and condemns him to prison. This leads the Angel of Death down a new path where he discovers shocking truths about reality and his identity.
Cassie Sanchez’s Chasing the Darkness is a superbly thrilling epic fantasy novel. The author takes readers through a world of hard-hitting sword and sorcery, cold-blooded warriors, and power-hungry maniacs. It’s a delightful mix of adventure and fantasy.
If Chasing the Darkness had a pulse it would be beating rapidly. For an epic fantasy adventure with kinetic energy I was pleased to see this was also and emotionally charged story. Author Cassie Sanchez has the ability to keep the tension high with a consistently engaging plot that is colored with intriguing characters.
I loved Sanchez’s penchant for characters with colorful personalities. From the feisty to the smug, the sweet and noble to the cynical, irrespective of what your taste in story characters is, you’ll find one that’s endearing in this book.
Apart from the traits the book’s characters possess, I also enjoyed their evolution. For example, I liked how Azrael began his journey from the point of confidence and then nose-dived into an identity crisis before clawing his way to renewed purpose and meaning. It is a fascinating reflection of the typical hero’s journey but with a unique flare.
If you enjoyed stories like The Witcher or Assassin’s Creed then you will find plenty to enjoy in this suspenseful fantasy novel that keeps things much more clean but loses none of the intrigue.
Chasing the Darkness is an imaginative fantasy adventure story with a vibrant cast and a storyline that is relentlessly entertaining. A fast-paced sword and sorcery adventure that was hard to put down.
Pages: 280 | ISBN: 1631956094
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