The Victory Perspective, by E. J. Kellett, reveals a new angle on the creation story complete with a dark and foreboding side. Five beings materialize, quite literally, in the first chapter and proceed to make their way through the world around them while one of them, Alpha, emerges as leader. Raphael, Michael, Lucifer, and Gabriel seek ways to understand Alpha’s powers as they develop, strengthen, and subdue the other four. Alpha’s abilities overwhelm the others as he levitates, forces the others into virtual servitude, and begins presenting them with stunning creations, including human beings. When Raphael disappears from their camp, Lucifer must begin a battle within himself as he searches for his friend.
I was immediately taken with the beautiful language penned by Kellett. The striking descriptions of the landscape and the amazing emergence of each of the five beings is breathtaking to behold. Kellett is a master with the written word and fashions fascinating depictions as they grow in their cognizance.
Kellett incorporates several episodes of violence in order to emphasize the differences between his characters and demonstrate Alpha’s dominance. Like the other four stunned onlookers, I struggled through the sight but find it a fitting method for establishing Alpha’s place in the world and helping the reader sympathize with Lucifer as the plotline progresses. Their horror at Alpha’s growing strength and their wonderment at the tools, weapons, and shelters he is able to fashion are highly relatable feelings.
I was, at times, taken aback at the rather familiar tone of the characters. To hear characters who I associate with angels speak in mundane terms, sometimes using slang, was a bit off-putting. The intensity of the creation story seems to call for a more formal tone, even though this is a far cry from the traditional story which most readers would readily recognize. I had a hard time resolving my discomfort with hearing Alpha, depicted as the creator, curse.
Some readers may find the description of evolution unsettling. As Alpha discovers his efforts to create humans go somewhat awry, readers will find that he is not in complete control of the process. The resulting beings are not pleasing to him. (This is only one of the ways Alpha is very much humanized throughout the reading.)
The closeness between Lucifer and Raphael is touching, and Lucifer’s insistence at finding Raphael at all costs keeps the reader involved in the plot. As the two discover more about themselves and more about Alpha’s intentions, their relationship mimics human exchanges. Again, this is not something most readers are used to seeing from depictions of divine beings. Making that transfer to a different mindset might be a struggle for some.
Lucifer’s reappearance in the Garden of Eden places a new spin on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. In fact, one of the most iconic scenes we know from the Bible story is, here, given all the qualities of a drama. Lucifer, though always a major factor in Eve’s decline, is personified by Kellett and shown to be thoughtful and not without worries of his own. In addition, Adam and Eve’s conversations are basic in language and have a commonplace feel.
While beautifully written with remarkable imagery, I was not completely comfortable with the take on the creation story. However, there is much to be said for this reimagining of the immediately recognizable story of the origins of our world.
Pages: 314 | ASIN: B078Y9QJW1
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The Nightbreaker is a short but welcome sojourn into the world of the Gods and Men Cycle series by Kristopher Jerome. Following a paladin by the name of Daniel, we first are introduced into the conflict between the gods of darkness and gods of light and the conflict that is played out on the Mortal plane. Daniel is part of a mission that goes awry, but learns of a terrible new champion of darkness, Rexin the Blasted. As the story unfolds, Daniel bands together with other brave souls who seek out and stop this terrible menace, otherwise the mortal plane will be swallowed by darkness.
The pacing of Jerome’s novella is spot on, although sword & sorcery novels are often quicker paced. The first battle of the story takes place only a few pages in and I was immediately taken in by the action and everything that Daniel saw as he fought bravely through the demons. The setting is not overly elaborate, especially with the clashing of light and dark. The simplicity of the premise will leave fans of stories like Game of Thrones and others wanting more. But in it’s brevity lie its virtues, The Nightbreaker is a great read for an afternoon of leisure.
The descriptions that Jerome uses is rich and quite cinematic and I enjoyed the writing the most when details were delved into. The main character of Daniel is fun to read about, but begs to be developed further with some character-defining internal dialogue. The narrative is much more “show” rather than “tell” which I happen to enjoy. The story is often punctuated with a bit of action, which saves the stories pace and kept my interest.
With all of this considered, The Nightbreaker is a great introduction to the world of mortals and Gods that Jerome has created. The struggle between paladins, demons, and seraphs is a supernatural backdrop to classic fantasy tropes. This novella will please any reader of classic fantasy or the supernatural, who also enjoys action, redemption, and the struggle between good and evil. At 78 pages, it’s well worth your time.
Pages: 78 | ASIN: B071HPDQXN
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Fourteen-year-old Fraser dies prematurely as a result of a fluke accident while trying to save his baby sister. Upon waking up in heaven, he discovers that his new life in paradise is far different from the one he lived during his short time on earth. As he adjusts to his new surroundings, he is constantly amazed that there is so much to learn, explore, and achieve in his new permanent home. Fraser begins making new friends and even reunites with a loved one who left earth before him. He learns that everyone in heaven must find something they are passionate about and serve in that area. While his friends quickly discover what they want to do, Fraser is left discouraged and not strongly drawn to anything he is introduced to.
When Fraser begins to experience visions of his family’s current status on earth, he finds them divided, severely broken, and completely devastated about his death. His family is also unaware that they are being tormented and are in danger by evil presences that they cannot physically see. After having a talk with God, Fraser is told that he is chosen for a special assignment and will be enlisted amongst an army of Armored Angels to fight an earthly spiritual war of good versus evil. He finally knows what he is meant to do and is more than ready. He is predestined to save his family.
This is a story that will inspire young readers and beyond to diminish the fear of dying, provide hope concerning life afterward, and understand that God has assigned angels all around us for protection from dangers seen and unseen.
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The Glass Demon is a supernatural novel that dives into the world of spirits and haunting’s. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I was really into a TV documentary program called, A Haunting. It was about real life hauntings told by the people who lived through them. My goal was to make a fictional story that felt real enough that it could be believed to be based on a true story. I also had just watched The Rite with Anthony Hopkins. I knew I needed to write something that was super intense and scary.
What I liked most about this book was the depth of knowledge of demonology presented in the story. What type of research did you have to do to keep things accurate?
I have several books on true ghost stories and encyclopedias about the supernatural. One such book is: The Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology by Rosemary Ellen Guiley. I own about 4 of her books. The encyclopedia has profiles on some infamous demons known to plague people’s sanity and also true stories about demonic occurrences. Additionally, I did a lot of internet research about demons, and books on demons, and types and names of demons. It was purely academic with a desire to entertain, but it made me feel like I was on the borderline to receive the wrath of God. Needless to say, research was extensive.
William has had a complicated life. His avoidance of childhood demons leads him to an addiction to booze and pills. What was the inspiration for his character and backstory?
Most heroes seem to be blessed with an infinite amount of strength, courage, and knowledge. My heroes tend to be flawed. William’s journey is meant to be a humbling one. He believes there is nothing he can’t handle; even though he never dealt with his own past. When he walks into this next case he is smug. He’s most likely thinking that he is going to walk around, find someone who doesn’t know he’s dead, tell him to move on, he moves on, William gets paid and then goes home. It turns out to be much more complicated than that.
William is almost foolish in the beginning and doesn’t appear to be someone who can help the Glass family, let alone himself. He is on a slippery slope to self-destruction and then takes on the hardest haunting he has ever had; one that fights back. He’s also used to being the one who is in control. The fact that the demon knows William’s past and he does not takes the ball out of his court. He goes through an intense torture before he is finally able to become a hero and that’s only with the help of the supporting characters. Without them he would have failed.
I also wanted to answer an age old question, why do bad things happen? William went through a lot of bad things, but in the end that is what he needed to become a better person. Most horror stories just want to shock and unnerve you, and the characters are all pawns who can die at any time. William brings a character-driven arc to the storyline that makes this a little more than just a horror story.
Do you have another horror story in the works? Or are you currently working in a different genre?
I did leave this story open for a sequel. I was combining ideas that will bring most of the characters back together to solve an even larger haunted case involving multiple city blocks. I remember reading about a similar event about unexplained hauntings across several small nearby towns. The sequel will share this trait. “If you think one house was bad… try 100.” It looks cool in my head with an almost Hell erupting feel to it, but I have yet to put words on paper. Hopefully one day…
William Corgel is a clairvoyant medium who is hubris, doubts his faith and a heavy drinker who finds comfort in pills. Believing there is nothing he can’t handle he soon finds himself in a home with a demonic presence and the possession of a teenage girl. The demon continually taunts and attacks him while claiming to know William’s suppressed childhood memory centered on his mother.
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The Prophet and The Witch continues the story of Israel Brewster who is now a disgraced outcast when King Philip’s War begins. This is an intriguing setup to a novel that is high in social commentary. What was your goal when writing this novel and do you feel you’ve achieved it?
Regarding my goal, I initially wanted to write an engaging, historically accurate novel that would highlight a fascinating era that the casual reader was not familiar with. I don’t think this era gets nearly the attention it deserves, and I hope that changes in the near future. Hopefully, the book educates its readers as well as entertains them. So, yes, I think I’ve achieved my goal.
Regarding the social commentary, I think different readers will derive different messages from the book, and that’s terrific. Ultimately, I hope the novel stands as a tale of courage, love, and friendship in the face of evil and violence.
Israel Brewster continues to be an exceptionally developed character. What was your inspiration for his emotional turmoil through the story?
Thank you for the compliment. I’m not sure there was any particular inspiration; I think there’s a little Israel Brewster in all of us. Whether it’s a question of religion, war, or alienation, I think everyone feels deeply conflicted at some point in their lives. What are the things, and who are the people that genuinely deserve our loyalty? More importantly, what makes us persevere in the face of unbearable pain, and what compels us to do the right thing? I guess, to paraphrase Faulkner, writers like to portray the human heart in conflict with itself.
As a reader, it is difficult to pick a side in this battle. How did you balance the story to offer a contrasting yet similar worldview for the characters?
It’s certainly not my intent that anyone pick sides in the conflict. I think the story is balanced by presenting the common elements inherent among both the English and the Wampanoag. There are virtues among both sides like faith, love, loyalty, courage, and family. Conversely, some characters on each side are prone to violence, hatred, and ignorance. So, I hope it is really a tale of love and brotherhood versus evil and wickedness.
Ultimately, I can only hope to present a factual novel and let the reader draw their own conclusions. King Philip’s War was one of the most astounding and tragic chapters in American history, and it doesn’t deserve to be ignored and forgotten.
I understand this is the second book in a possible trilogy. Where do you see the story going in book three?
I can see us moving about fifteen years into the future. There was yet another fascinating war in New England during that time, and the remarkable Benjamin Church played a major role in that conflict as well. And evidently, in 1692, there was some kind of kerfuffle in Salem that got everyone all excited.
If you thought New England was dull in the 1670s, get ready for a history lesson.
In the critically acclaimed “My Father’s Kingdom,” debut author James W. George transported his readers to 1671 New England, and the world of Reverend Israel Brewster. It was a world of faith, virtue, and love, but it was also a world of treachery, hatred, and murder.
Four years later, Brewster is a disgraced outcast, residing in Providence and working as a humble cooper. Despite his best efforts, war could not be averted, and now, “King Philip’s War” has begun.
The rebellion is led by Metacomet, known as “King Philip” to the English colonists. He is the tormented son of the great Massasoit, and leader of the Wampanoag nation. Once the most reliable of Plymouth Colony’s allies, they are now the bitterest of enemies. Meanwhile, Metacomet’s mysterious counselor, Linto, despises this war and will do anything to end the bloodshed.
Meticulously researched, “The Prophet and the Witch” is a tale of hope and brotherhood in the face of evil and violence. It features the remarkable cast of fictional and historical characters from book one, including Josiah Winslow, Linto, Increase Mather, Constance Wilder, and Jeremiah Barron. Additionally, new characters such as America’s first ranger, Captain Benjamin Church, bring this chapter of history to life like never before.
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Wrath of the Fallen is an epic fantasy novel detailing the ferocious clash of angels and demons. What was your inspiration for this story and how did it change as you were writing?
This story has been kicking around in my head for some time. As much as I enjoy the human machinations of stories like Game of Thrones, I really like battles between good and evil as a larger construct over the human element in a story. I crafted this mythology over several years, drawing inspiration from some of my own beliefs, and cobbled them together with different failed story ideas that I came up with as far back as when I was in High School. The opening Prologue, for example, started as a scene from a story set in an entirely different world, but I eventually reworked it to be the jumping off point for this one.
Early in my college career, I was a dishwasher at a restaurant. I worked graveyard, and as you can imagine, I didn’t have a lot to do mentally from the hours of 9 PM-4AM so I started to craft this world in my head to pass the time. I came up with the history of the Mortal Plane, starting over a thousand years before Wrath of the Fallen, and continued it some two thousand years past that first novel with multiple other story ideas that I hope to get to someday. Overall, the initial planning of the world took place over several years, while the actual writing of Wrath took place over roughly two.
The characters in this book are well written and easy to visualize. What were some obstacles in your story that you felt were important for the characters development?
I ran into the issue when crafting the story of making the characters too black and white. I didn’t want to fall into the trap where Trent was always likable and never did anything good, and I wanted to make sure that the antagonist was somewhat sympathetic. The hard part about overcoming this was the good vs. evil divide that was built into the very fabric of the world. This is why I felt that it was important to give Trent his anger issues and resentment towards his father based on what happened in his past. I actually didn’t have him meet his dad in the first draft, but on the rewrite, I knew that adding that scene would give Trent a more realistic and humanistic characterization. Trauma, especially in childhood, fundamentally changes a person, and I wanted what happened to Trent to reflect that. Too many of the orphan chosen-one archetypal heroes are good people through and through and are too well adjusted for my taste. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I wanted to make sure that I gave the villain, even being an evil god, a real human motivation, so I picked what might be the strongest one out there: revenge. He couldn’t just be evil for the sake of being evil, but because he was also defined by trauma.
The backstory and mythology of this story, I can tell, was developed with a lot of thought and care. How did you set about creating the rich background for this story?
As I mentioned earlier, I started coming up with the history while washing dishes. Most of the world is still in my head, though I am finally typing it up into a series bible that I can refer back to. I also laid out an illustrated timeline on my website to allow others to see what the history of the world is leading into the Broken Pact Trilogy, which really helped me pin down specific dates for events that I was fuzzier on in the beginning.
I follow the history through storytelling method of worldbuilding. I would rather write a novel, novella or short story that details a historical event in my world and allow readers to learn the full details that way than writing out a detailed pseudohistory for them to pore over and wonder about. Those certainly have merit, and I enjoy reading them myself, but as a writer, I would much rather tell a story than write a history book.
This is book one in The Broken Pact series. Where does book two pick up and take readers?
Book two will be titled Cries of the Forsaken. It picks up immediately after the events of Wrath, and even a little bit before the final chapters to show us what happened to certain characters that we weren’t previously following. Some heroes that we thought dead return and some that we hoped survived do not. One of the themes of the next novel is good destroying good and evil destroying evil, so be prepared to see the conflict between the gods turned on its head.
The Mortal Plane has long been divided among the servants of Light and Darkness, suffering a thousand years of atrocity by both sides. When one god finally rose up and slew another, The Pact was formed, forestalling any further damage to the realms of men. But now, over the last few decades, signs of the Demons and their mindless Accursed minions have dwindled to an all-time low. It seems that after a thousand years of conflict the Gods of Light and the Gods of Darkness have finally tired of the bloody war. Or have they?
It falls to Trent, a Paladin of the Light with a soul torn with an impossible and unrequited love for his commander and scarred by a childhood filled with despair and pain, to travel beyond the walls of the city to discover what has become of humanity’s ancestral enemy. Only with his closest friend Devin by his side can Trent hope to keep from losing himself. Together the two men track a horde of Demons to a secret that will rock the Mortal Plane to its very foundations.
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Alex and Ian return in the sequel to The Bug Boys, back to the town of Rossolington after the collapse of the mine. The boys still have the nanobots inside them and retain the ability to take on the different aspects of live bugs they swallow. They are still working with the Secti to bring new insects back to the Nest planet, but the Secti are impatient and want a better selection of insects so they start to create their own portal outside the boys. Meanwhile, bugs start showing up from a forth portal that no one knew existed. Professor Blake Blackhart, has also ingested nanobots and tapped into their abilities, as well as improved upon them. Professor Blake however, does not have good intentions and becomes the book’s super villain to the boy’s superhero personas. Add into the story a new student Linda and her mom, the new PE teacher that takes an unhealthy interest in Alex and Ian and things get very interesting in the declining mining town of Rossolington.
The Bug Boys vs Professor Blake Blackhart is an engaging and fun novel for young adult readers and adults alike. You have your classic good vs evil theme, and kids’ vs adults. A group of four kids taking on the super villain and his sidekick kitten. Yes, a kitten. A kitten that is also infected by nanobots and has been surgically altered to be a weapon. Hoffman uses humor that draws kids in, lots of detailed descriptions about farts, the noise, the smell, the way it makes them feel. All humor that appeals to typical young adult boys. Eating bugs, but needing to keep them alive, entertaining and gross. The awkward time of puberty where boys suddenly discover girls and those awkward moments are brought out in the interactions with Linda.
Hoffman also manages to address some serious topics through this adolescent humor. Alex has to come to terms with the fact his dad is not infallible. This realization, that his father has fears, is not perfect and can make poor choices is one that hits him hard. Alex must learn to accept his father and his short comings if he can. After almost losing his father in the mine to be dealt another blow is difficult. This is relatable to young readers as they are hitting the age where they might start seeing the childhood hearos for who they really are and realizing they are not the perfect examples of humans they originally thought them to be. These can be hard times for a young teen to experience, seeing characters in a book they like can help them come to terms with reality, and give them a laugh along the way.
While Alex and Ian want to be superhero’s, they learn there is more to being a superhero than just putting on a costume and having super powers. They learn limits, asking for help, working as a team and reaching out to others when they realize they can’t do it all on their own. There are a lot of good lessons for young adults packed into this short novel. There is enough action to keep kids interested and wanting to read more. Hoffman even at the end gives readers a cryptic scene that leads us to believe we can expect more from the Bug Boys.
Pages: 154 | ASIN: B076737HRN
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Set in the world of Perilisc, Jesse Teller returns to this world with another series sure to captivate readers. The Manhunters series starts off with Song, and tells two story lines that intertwine. Rayph Ivoryfist is an immortal magician that has his own personal demons to fight, but is bound by honor to protect the land and the boy he believes to be the next great ruler. When the prison he built is destroyed and all the evil had brought to justice is released he knew he needed help. Rayph than builds his own army of powerful beings, with his old friend Smear at his side. Parallel to the story of Ivoryfist preparing for battle is the story of Konnon, the father that wants a cure for his daughter’s paralysis. To help his daughter Bree, Konnon must work with his partner Glyss. Together the two of them have a reputation for being unstoppable and deadly. They live up to this reputation, knowing each other inside and out. The two pair’s separate missions will unavoidably end them up together in the town of Song, the question is, who is alive in the end?
Jesse Teller has a way with describing the setting that really makes you feel like you are there. The swamps that Rayph visits, you can almost feel the mud clinging to you, smell the decaying woods and animals used for sacrifices, and feel the tension that the people around the main characters create. The level of detail that goes into settings, also goes into the action. While this is great for really getting into things, those with a weak stomach for gore might not be pleased. Teller describes in detail the torture of some characters, and details the death of many. This level of detail may not appeal to all, but Teller can also detail the compassion and love between two characters just as well. The example of Konnon and his daughter Bree. There is no question about the devotion and love he feels for his daughter, it is relatable and pulls at the heart strings. A father’s undying love and willingness to do whatever he must to save her, no matter what the cost is to himself.
One of Teller’s greatest skills is relationships. Not romantic quest love relationships, but bonds between people and spirits. These bonds draw the readers in sometimes more than the story lines do because they are so powerful and relatable. As I read Song, I felt the bonds that form between Rayph and his army. The magic that makes it so they can all be connected is just a piece of the puzzle, they genuinely build a brotherhood and work as one. Konnon and Glyss while not blood brothers move as one unit together, they are bound and know each other so well there is no need for words. It is a great read for the relationship factor alone. If you enjoy studying and reading about human (or in this case non human) relationship Teller will not disappoint. Through his use of many magical creatures from humans, to fairies, to demons, all working together for a common goal the passion for survival and willingness to put all differences aside for is apparent. Perhaps it is a good lesson for modern society, put our differences aside and work together to defeat the evil looking to rip our world apart.
Pages: 319 | ASIN: B074GP13JC
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Spinner is a refreshing addition to the science fiction and horror genres. The book gives readers a new perspective as the main characters are not your usual shiny protagonists, but rather a group of boys, all of whom have some form of disability or handicap. The main character, Alex, is both impaired mentally as well as physically, bound to a wheelchair. This is not the only thing that sets Alex apart, though. Alex is a spinner, capable of taking on others emotions, physical ailments, and pains before they disappear entirely. A trait that finds him unknowingly being watched by those with ulterior motives and a far more sinister entity as well.
Spinner definitely brings something new and refreshing to the table with its focal characters being those typically dismissed and often belittled in our society. Bring in the science -fiction/horror vibe and Michael J. Bowler definitely writes to catch your interest. The story is original and cut from a different cloth which is refreshing. Although sometimes sentences can run on or become focused on small details, almost Charles Dickens-esque. It leaves little to the imagination as each character and scene is described in detail.
The author does a wonderful job of presenting the main characters with disabilities as people, not just a subset of society to be catered to. Each character, though their disabilities are mentioned and made apparent through their interactions, are easily seen as teenagers with their own opinions, personalities, and mindsets. The fact that they’re disabled rarely comes to mind throughout unless the story itself points to it, giving a refreshing and normalized perspective. Bowler uses a lot of different aspects and mannerisms stereotypical of a screen-teen. There are many dramatizations and immature reactions that detract from the characters otherwise superb development and depth.
I found this contemporary story easy to relate to and understand. Spinner has a lot of interesting and refreshing concepts that I felt kept the story thrilling and suspenseful.
Pages: 445 | ASIN: B075VCQ5F9
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Wrath of the Fallen by Kristopher Jerome is the first book in a series about the battle of good vs. evil with mankind stuck in the middle and suffering because of it. The war went on for thousands of years until one side seemed to beat the other into submission. It seems as though mankind gets a break as the demons and their minions seem to be disappearing. Trent, a Paladin of the Light thinks something’s not right and follows them with his friend Devin to discover what is truly happening in their world. What they find is more than they bargained for.
I personally find stories about battles against good and evil to be right up my alley. I’m a fan of shows like Supernatural that portray angels and demons in a different light than just wearing halos or poking people with pitchforks. The characters in this book are well written and easy to visualize. The battles were bloody, which didn’t bother me in the slightest. After all, this is a book about a war. If there wasn’t violence I would have been disappointed!
Trent has some issues that make him a realistic character, in my book. In reality, people are a bit twisted from their past and current situations. He was very lucky to have his friend Devin with him on the journey to keep from losing himself. I won’t say how, sorry. Read for yourself if you want to know!
The twists and turns of Wrath of the Fallen kept me reading when I should have been sleeping. I don’t often stay up to read a book, but I had problems finding a place to really stop at so that I could get some rest. For some reason, I had thoughts of Frodo taking the ring to Mordor with Sam. I am not quite sure why, since it was a bit of a different situation, but what can I say? Perhaps it was the adventure itself with two friends.
While the ending was abrupt, I get it. There are other books to the series and a cliffhanger was needed to keep you wanting more. I don’t mind this at all. If anything, this shows the art of a true storyteller. They can suck you into this new and magical world and leave you wanting more, not ready for it to end just yet. While I had not read a fantasy novel in quite a while, this book put me in the mood to go back to this genre for the next few books.
Overall there was lots of intrigue and drama to keep me reading, and the characters were very well written. I tend to get put off by things like paladins and things like that, but that is just me and one of my many quirks. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys epic fantasy stories about good v. evil.
Pages: 322 | ASIN: B01COENGR8
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