Tag Archives: urban fantasy

Book Review: Damoren (Valducan, Book 1) by Seth Skorkowsky

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Damoren (Valducan Volume 1)
By Seth Skorkowsky
Ragnarok Publications
Release Date: April 16, 2014
380 pages
$11.51 (paperback) | $5.03 (Kindle)
Review copy purchased online

Plot Description:

Fourteen years ago a pack of wendigos killed Matt Hollis’ family and damned his soul. Now, Matt is a demon hunter armed with a holy revolver named Dämoren. After a violent series of murders leaves only fifty holy weapons in the world, Matt is recruited by the Valducans, an ancient order of demon hunters. Many of the knights do not trust him because he is possessed. When sabotage and assassinations begin, the Valducans know there is a spy in their ranks, and Matt becomes the core of their suspicions. Desperate to prove himself, and to protect Dämoren, Matt fights to gain their trust and discover the nature of the entity residing within him.

Review:
The best way I can describe Damoren, a new urban fantasy novel from Seth Skorkowsky, is to say it’s sort of a cross between The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher mixed with a healthy dose of Supernatural and a dash of Hellboy.

Things start off with a young boy, Matt Hollis, who witnesses a demonic attack on his family as well as a man who busts into his house and appears to be fighting the hellish creatures. Matt becomes something to worry about for the man, a hunter named Clay, who notices that Matt has a lot of traits of demons and yet he isn’t one. He turns to his weapon, Damoren, which is part gun and part sword, for guidance. It’s a special kind of weapon. With that, the first chapter ends with a momentous decision and a big bang (pun intended) that sets the tone for the rest of the novel.

Fast forward to when Matt is all grown up. He’s pursuing a lead somewhere in Calgary where he finds out there’s much more to his presence than the elusive aswang whose trail he’s been on. He finds a red envelope with his name and finds out that there are some very interesting people who wanted to get his attention. Those folks are Valducans, members of a society of demon hunters that has existed for centuries. Although they say they mean him no harm, Matt isn’t so easily persuaded, especially because Clay told him to steer clear of their order. We also discover that Clay has a history with them and that it didn’t end well, to say the least.

Matt finds out he’s by no means unique in the sense that he’s not the only demon hunter with a holy weapon that can do some serious damage. He finds himself in a house with the rest of the Valducans. Although most of them tolerate Matt, while a few in particular take a shine to him, notably a hunter named Luiza, others are not so welcoming. They don’t trust Matt because to them he is a demon or at least gives off enough demonic energy that he gives them cause for alarm. One of them, Malcolm, seems to despise Matt from the beginning, creating an uneasy tension between the two that makes their passages all the more interesting.

Aside from creating memorable characters with interesting backstories the reader can really get into, Skorkowsky’s real strength lies in his unique world-building. One of the most critical components to a compelling urban fantasy tale is in how intricate the world-building—the consistency of the rules of the world, and how the author blends everything together to create a satisfying reading experience. I can’t say enough good things about the fascinating aspects of the history of the holy weapons, the history of the order of the Valducans, the mysteries behind Matt’s “is he or isn’t he” demonic vibes that seem to give him leverage in battle (including the very cool ability to heal by touching the blood of a dead demons), and finding out why the conclave of these hunters is so important.

Too often we see urban fantasies that focus mostly on a big American city, or some Canadian ones more recently, some UK ones (I’m sure there are also Australian ones but not any that I can think of off the top of my head). That can get dull after a while. Needless to say, I’m always more intrigued when the action in any story shifts to Europe, so I was pleased with the European locales in this novel, including Italy, which was a nice change of pace.

Although there are a few werewolves and vampires that make sure the central characters have their hands full, there are enough eclectic, not-often-seen demons in the mix to freshen things up here, as well, including the aswang and the Oni, which is sort of like a troll but kind of like a dragon too, and just generally not the kind of demon to be trifled with.

Interspersed among the main narrative are snippets of historical entries from past members of the Valducans that contain information about ghouls or demons in the Old World vs. the New World. While I think some of them were more interesting or relevant than others, or may have been good material for a “bonus features” type of section at the back of the book, they were short enough and placed strategically enough that they added to the story.

Near the end of the book, the mysteries of why Matt is the way he is and why he has certain enhancements start to unravel and things become clearer, built up with subtle hints and cues. Things get progressively worse for the central characters and it leads to an all-out epic demon brawl to basically stop demons from running the show on Earth, with some bad-ass Mortal Kombat style action thrown in that leads to a satisfying conclusion.

Far from giving readers what now seems like the requisite “dun dun dun!” cliff-hanger ending, Skorkowsky wraps things up with Matt and sends him on his way, but at the end of this book there was a preview for Hounacier, which is another one of the holy weapons belonging to another hunter, Morgan. If the teaser included with Damoren is any indication, this second volume in the Valducan series is going to be just as thrilling and action-packed and I can’t wait to read it when it comes out.

Skorkowsky does a great job early on of establishing the parameters of his world-building, the rules under which his demons operate. In this universe, “demons” are more like an umbrella that includes everything from vampires, werewolves, wendigos, and other more eclectic creatures like the Arabic ifrit and the Asian aswang. Demon hunters must use holy weapons to destroy both the body and the soul of a demon, which, once the creature is dead, emits a different coloured glow depending on the type of demon.

So, to sum things up, as some other reviews have pointed out, if you’re a fan of Jim Butcher’s style of urban fantasy, you can’t get enough of Supernatural and you like original urban fantasy that places less emphasis on the romance (although there is an appropriate romantic subplot that’s far from filler, and far from being there for the sake of being there) and you like your world-building, but you especially like your demons, buy this book.

It’s been a long time since an urban fantasy novel has knocked my socks off—probably hasn’t happened since I read Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey a few years ago, which in case you haven’t read that, is also a must-read for die-hard urban fantasy fans.

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Blog Tour Post: Elysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson (Book Review)

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This book review is part of the New Orleans Reading Challenge 2013, hosted by Midnyte Reader, which you can read more about here.


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Elysian Fields (Book 3, Sentinels of New Orleans)
by Suzanne Johnson
$17.58 (hardcover, Amazon) | $15.79 (Amazon Kindle)
Tor Books
Release Date: August 13, 2013
Hardcover, 352 pages
Review copy received as part of the blog tour for Bewitching Book Tours. Don’t forget to enter the Goodreads giveaway that’s running until August 31, 2013.

Plot Description:

An undead serial killer comes for DJ in this thrilling third installment of Suzanne Johnson’s Sentinels of New Orleans series.

The mer feud has been settled, but life in South Louisiana still has more twists and turns than the muddy Mississippi.

New Orleanians are under attack from a copycat killer mimicking the crimes of a 1918 serial murderer known as the Axeman of New Orleans. Thanks to a tip from the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, DJ Jaco knows the attacks aren’t random—an unknown necromancer has resurrected the original Axeman of New Orleans, and his ultimate target is a certain blonde wizard. Namely, DJ.

Combatting an undead serial killer as troubles pile up around her isn’t easy. Jake Warin’s loup-garou nature is spiraling downward, enigmatic neighbor Quince Randolph is acting weirder than ever, the Elders are insisting on lessons in elven magic from the world’s most annoying wizard, and former partner Alex Warin just turned up on DJ’s to-do list. Not to mention big maneuvers are afoot in the halls of preternatural power.

Suddenly, moving to the Beyond as Jean Lafitte’s pirate wench could be DJ’s best option.

Review:

To say that I was dying to read the next installment of Suzanne Johnson’s highly addictive Sentinels of New Orleans series would be a gross understatement. After the events of River Road (you can read my review here), I was really antsy to find out what happens next and this book more than delivered.

Our protagonist, DJ Jaco, starts off in the French Quarter with increasingly volatile and troubled loup-garou Jake. They’re investigating a crime scene as a series of murders has been happening in the city that resemble killings committed in 1918-1919 by a serial killer who was never identified, but the local media called him the Axeman of New Orleans.

Things have (understandably) cooled down a bit between DJ and Jake because of his changing nature. The shift to loup-garou has had many negative effects on his life and he’s lashing out more and more at those closest to him. Jake is even moodier this time around and everyone expects him to still be the same easygoing, flirtatious guy he was before, but he’s not and he is having a hard time accepting that. I won’t spoil what happens after a sour confrontation between the two, but suffice it to say it kicks DJ’s life into overdrive and makes life even more complicated for her, as if she needs any more complications.

She summons famed jazz musician Louis Armstrong to help her with any clues about the Axeman, and it becomes evident that he didn’t just show up for no reason in the present day. There’s a shady necromancer working some seriously evil magic to shuttle the murderer back and forth from the past to the present. Soon enough, DJ becomes one of the Axeman’s most important targets, which makes things even worse for her.

DJ’s suspicions toward her best friend Eugenie’s boyfriend, Quince Randoph, continue in this book and we finally get some more answers as to what he is, what he’s doing, and what he wants with DJ. He also shamelessly flirts with DJ at every opportunity, much to her chagrin, as DJ is more interested in her former partner Alex Warin. Things intensify between them and for those readers who have been waiting for more to happen in DJ’s love life, they won’t be disappointed.

In addition, the Wizards Congress sends one of their guys, Hoffman, to teach her more Elven magic. Trouble is, he doesn’t like DJ very much and may be hiding more than he lots on about where his true loyalties lie. Fan favourite Jean Laffite also returns, as charming as ever. He thinks he can help DJ with looking into the necromancer doing the summoning of the Axeman. There’s also a major vampire character we’re introduced to, Etienne, who we’re told is in cahoots with Jean as they go way back. Etienne used to be a necromancer, but as the plot unravels more and more, it’s not necessarily clear if he’s the one behind the Axeman’s killing spree, but the author casts enough doubt on him that the reader will not be sure if he’s guilty or innocent until the very end.

As the story continues, the body count rises, and the Axeman gets ever closer to DJ. The tension between DJ, Eugenie, and Quince Randolph also increases until it finally blows up, but the reader will get a lot of interesting answers from the fallout.

If you were waiting for more explanations and an exploration of DJ’s Elven heritage and connections, this installment in the series is going to be your favourite. Although I’ve previously said in other reviews that one doesn’t see much of Elves in urban fantasy fiction, I think we’re starting to see more of them, and although I wasn’t expecting to find them in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, it’s a nice treat, and the storyline absolutely works.

The further into the narrative the reader gets, the more irresistible and unputdownable this book will be. Eventually things come to a head with the true master of puppets coming out, but he lackey strings are incredibly tangled, which will make the inevitable books that follow this series even more addictive than this one. Things end on a more positive note although, as mentioned, there’s definitely potential for more books in the series. If you haven’t picked up this series yet and you’re a big urban fantasy fan, or even if you don’t normally read fantasy but love a good yarn involving the Crescent City, you should most definitely pick up the books in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, and so far, each one is better than the one that preceded it. Suzanne Johnson has become one of my absolute favourite fantasy writers–this lady knows how to spin a good yarn ;-)

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Book Review: River Road (Sentinels of New Orleans Book 2) by Suzanne Johnson

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This book review is part of the New Orleans Reading Challenge 2013, hosted by Midnyte Reader, which you can read more about here.


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River Road (Sentinels of New Orleans, Book 2)
by Suzanne Johnson
$11.53 (Amazon, paperback) | $12.40 (Amazon Kindle)
TOR Books
Release Date: November 13, 2012 (original hardcover)
Review copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Please note, if you haven’t read book one in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, River Road, you may wish to skip this review until you’re caught up because I will be discussing some plot elements and spoilers!

Plot Description:

Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.

Wizards are dying, and someone—or something—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two.

It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series continues.

Review:
Before I start the review of River Road, I would like to commend the author for arranging for a percentage of the royalties from the book to go to the Greater New Orleans Foundation for its Gulf Coast oil spill fund as much of this book is set in Plaquemines Parish, which suffered tremendous damage during and after Hurricane Katrina.

Things kick off with our protagonist, DJ Jaco, at the historic Hotel Monteleone where notorious pirate Jean Lafitte, who we met in book one, is waiting for DJ. He’s staying in the Eudora Welty suite, but although he’s in the lap of luxury, he’s got problems, namely two feuding merpeople clans. Jean and DJ’s partner, Alex, still despise one another so DJ knows she’ll have to limit their interactions, making for tension in the plot and on a romantic level.

Jean Lafitte is more endearing in this book and as he grew on me, I think that he will grow on many readers with his charm. Although DJ is still vehemently opposed to liking Jean, she does have to go out on a date with him as per their agreement from the first book, and she spends much of River Road denying that she has feelings for Alex, a shifter, mostly because she’s gunning for Jake, who *spoiler alert* became a loup-garou at the end of book one. Let’s just say he’s not adapting particularly well. It takes her most of the book to realize that it’s not going to be easy to maintain any kind of a relationship with him, let alone a romantic one. Alex spends much of the book treating DJ like his property, which pushes her away, but he also sends mixed signals, which confuse her.

Although I enjoyed DJ’s romantic quandaries, it felt a bit odd to me to have Alex jealous of Jean Lafitte, with the implication being that he doesn’t trust the pirate (and with good reason) but also he’s threatened by the prospect of DJ choosing to be with Jean. But Alex doesn’t seem jealous of DJ’s interest in Jake, with whom she also has a date, and to further complicate matters, DJ has agreed to pose as Alex’s girlfriend for an upcoming family reunion, but he does have feelings for her even if he’s pretending not to. To be fair, at least Jake asks at one point whether there’s anything between her and Alex, which made a bit more sense.

The merpeople are Cajuns, which adds good flavour to the cast of characters. As well, they have Houma Native American heritage, which makes them even more awesome. There are two families that are feuding, the Villeres and the Delachaises. We venture into bayou and swampland territory where they find a corpse on the shore who died in a particularly gruesome way, and DJ detects a wizard signature from it. We soon learn that there’s more history between wizards and merpeople than initially revealed. I also liked that the loup-garou in this universe aren’t just your average werewolves. They’re larger and don’t join packs, not to mention oher werewolves are scared of them. They also live in the Beyond, Johnson’s alternate dimension where Old Orleans exists, as introduced in the first book. Loup-garous can also shift into their beast form in an instant.

There’s also some Greek mythology mixed in this time with a nymph, as well as the River Styx (as in the one in the Underworld), and also an Elven Synod who don’t like the fact that DJ, who is a wizard, can use Elf magic due to her heritage. They think the Elven staff she uses is one of four, belonging to the clan of the fire elves. No one else can claim or use the staff as long as DJ is alive, which seems to make the Elves even angrier. She even encounters one of the Elves, Mace Banyan, in the Beyond, and suffice it to say it’s not exactly the most pleasant meeting.

She works closely with both merpeople clans, but in particular with Rene Delachaise, with whom she has to form a special bond. Things come to a head as the murders of wizards and a woman who claimed to be human but DJ suspected wasn’t point increasingly in the direction of one person, and everything leads to an intense, suspenseful ending that makes me excited to devour the next book, Elysian Fields, as soon as I can.

If you want urban fantasy that incorporates New Orleans into the setting and makes it a character in and of itself in the book, you need to pick up a copy of River Road, and once you get to the ending, you won’t be able to resist picking up Elysian Fields, for which I am participating in the blog tour as part of Bewitching Book Tours (it releases on August 13, 2013).

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Book Review: Boreal and John Grey by Chrystalla Thoma

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Boreal and John Grey (Season One)
by Chrystalla Thoma
$0.99 (Kindle)
Includes Books 1-5 (The Encounter, The Gate, The Dragon, The Dream and The Truth)
Review copy received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Plot Description:

Read the complete First Season of the series Boreal and John Grey, books 1-5 (The Encounter, The Gate, The Dragon, The Dream and The Truth) at a special price with an Author’s Note at the end.

Centuries ago, they nearly conquered humankind. But their Gate to our world closed, leaving them out. Now the elves have found a way back.

Ella Benson, agent of the Paranormal Bureau, fights the Shades when they cross into our world, keeping everyone safe. But increasingly dangerous creatures are slipping into her city, her work partner has just gone missing, and a mysterious – and, quite frankly, hot — guy saves her life. His name is Finn and, as it turns out, he’s a natural when it comes to fighting the Shades.

When the Gates between the worlds start opening and the elves make a comeback, Ella needs a new, temporary partner. Enlisting the mysterious Finn is a no-brainer, until she realizes he is guarding dangerous secrets of his own.
Together with Finn, and the fate of the world on her shoulders, what’s Ella to do but grab her weapons and figure it all out, one way or another.

Warning: contains profanity and adult sexual situations.

Review:
One doesn’t see much in the way of traditional epic fantasy elements and tropes combined with urban fantasy much (or at least a good combination that works). Sure, one could argue that there are fairies, trolls, dwarfs and other similar “fairy tale” creatures of legend among popular urban fantasy series like the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris, the Hollows series by Kim Harrison, and even in the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher, but until I read Chrystalla Thoma’s Boreal and John Grey books 1-5, which comprise Season One, I hadn’t ever seen Elves used well in urban fantasy. It could be that Elves have previously appeared in urban fantasies and I’m not aware of such works, but in any case, Boreal and John Grey marks the first time I’d seen an interesting intermingling of the two. Elves typically work well only in epic fantasy novels for the most part and this series erased my doubts on the matter :-)

The story concerns gates that divide the world of the Elves from our world, and an introductory section that prefaces each episode warns us to beware of John Grey. We quickly meet Ella, an officer in a paranormal investigation team wondering where the heck her partner, Simon, has disappeared off to. She has to battle Shades, creatures that have slipped through the cracks between worlds, as well as other nasties called Kobolds, and a vicious Goblin that was surprisingly tough, which was a nice change from the usual depiction of Goblins. A mystery warrior comes to her aid, and looks like he just stepped off the set of The Lord of the Rings, which added a cool touch as I wasn’t expecting Elves to show up, but from the get-go, it’s evident that this dude is Elvish.

Ella is more charming than most urban fantasy leads, and more comedic in the vein of Sandra Bullock, which spiced things up a bit from the usual stock of “tough guy” female protagonists. To find answers about Simon’s disappearance, she visits his a relative of his only to get accosted by some Shades outside. Her mysterious boss, Dave, assigns a new partner to her, Martha, who can only see Shades but doesn’t really do battle with them. Ella also meets up with Sarah, Simon’s girlfriend, who is an Oracle, someone who hears Shades, and she says they’re whispering about John Grey.

Fortunately for Ella, she runs into the mystery Elf from before, and it turns out his name is Finn only to find out that Simon’s relative has also perished. Her wacky neighbour, Mike, who is also an Oracle, gets dragged into the fray as more agents from Ella’s organization continue to vanish. Finn becomes her new partner, and it takes both of them some getting used to.

The incorporation of Nordic mythology was a great twist to the Elvish world-building, and it turns out that one particular saga, that of John Grey, is going to play a vital role to solving the mystery of just who John Grey is but also what his function is as relates to the thinning of the Veil between worlds, and how Ella can stop the Gates from opening, as well as if there’s a way to close them and stop those nasties from coming through (some of the animals that break through, and yes, there are dragons, are quite unique and keep the momentum of the story going well). She also finds out that Elves have different classes, not just Light Elves and Dark Elves, but also the Boreals, a high class of royal Elves who ride snow dragons and who tried to invade Midgard, more familiarly known as Earth.

We soon find out that our resident Elf, Finn, is not just any kind of Elf but a very special one but not for the initial reason we may think. He wants to stop the Boreals from invading Earth mostly because they weren’t so kind to him, but the trouble is that unlike most Elves, he doesn’t possess magic. The frequent action scenes add a great pace to the narrative that keeps things chugging along as we race to the end of each episode to find out one cliffhanger after another, and most of them are “OMG!” moments. There are also Duergar or dwarfs, and their constitution is more robotic than anything else, which also adds a nice variation to the usual myths and legends.

Soon, we find out John Grey’s true purpose and why the Elves made such a fuss about him in the saga mentioned earlier. Also, another kind of tension becomes relieved as Ella and Finn find that their connection is much deeper than initially thought, leading to a great romantic subplot that will have the reader cheering for Ella all the way (not to mention a few X-rated scenes for those that enjoy them ;-)) Eventually, mysteries and secrets are revealed, the major plot points all lead to the rising action, and we get hit with some multiple whammies until the ending and the denouement, which will leave readers both satisfied and thirsty for more.

This is the perfect book for urban fantasy fans who crave more mythical and epic fantasy elements in stories, as well as those who typically stick to more epic fantasy fare but want to make the foray into urban fantasy. The characters are imaginative and memorable, the plot fast-paced and action-packed, and the world-building unique and exciting making this the complete package for fantasy fans who love a good story, not to mention the combination pack of all the episodes is of a great value.

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Book Review: Spellbound by Kelley Armstrong

Spellbound
by Kelley Armstrong
Book 12 of the Otherworld series
Hardcover ($25.95) | Paperback ($9.99)
Release Date: 26 July 2011
Pages: 336
Review copy received courtesy of Dutton (Penguin USA) in exchange for an honest review

Description:

Savannah Levine is in terrible danger, and for once she’s powerless to help herself. At the heartbreaking conclusion of Waking the Witch, Savannah swore that she would give up her powers if it would prevent further pain for a young orphan. Little did she know that someone would take her up on that promise.

And now, witch-hunting assassins, necromancers, half-demons, and rogue witches all seem to be after her. The threat is not just for Savannah; every member of the Otherworld might be at risk. While most of her fellow supernaturals are circling the wagons at a gathering of the council in Miami, Savannah is caught on the road, isolated from those who can protect her and unable to use her vast spell-casting talent, the thing she counts on most. In a story that will change the shape of the Otherworld forever, Armstrong gathers Elena, Clay, Paige, Lucas, Jamie, Hope, and other beloved characters, who soon learn that the greatest threat to supernaturals just may come from within.

Review:
Savannah Levine, daughter of Eve, is all grown up and her own woman now, a powerful witch in her own right as we saw in the eleventh entry into New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series, Waking the Witch, which, incidentally, I reviewed here.

Through a prologue, we learn that a sneaky, unnamed villain has Savannah right where s/he wants her, and is somehow able to make good on her thought of being willing to sacrifice her magic if it would free Kayla’s grandmother, Paula, from prison. Savannah soon finds herself powerless and unsure as to why. At first, she blames it being poisoned in the predecessor to this volume, but as the story unfurls, it becomes clear that this may not be the case.

Kelley Armstrong does a wonderful job reminding readers of details from all of the prior books in the Otherworld series to help us chugging along, so even if you’re new to the books, you’ll have a good idea of what’s going on, but really, you must start from the beginning with Bitten if you haven’t already.

Savannah is in a hotel room with Adam, her best friend and the half-demon she has loved since she was twelve. They’re on the lookout for a witch hunter from the previous book who is up to her old shenanigans again. Once it’s clear to Savannah that there is a real problem with her magic-less state, she and Adam go to Columbus to see if Paula has been set free from prison, which she has.

Hope, another half-demon and Lucifer’s daughter, who is married to werewolf Karl, reveals that she has been seeing visions of Savannah with a sword, but thinks it might be Eve.

Savannah also consults Jaime, a communicator with “the other side” who, despite her sold out show and act, really does have legitimate abilities to connect with ghosts. We eventually learn that a group of supernaturals wanted the help of a man who specialized in demon summoning to call forth the dark lord himself, Lucifer, who, in a creative twist, it turns out can’t be summoned, because he’s a fallen angel. Lucifer also retains the powers of an angel, including his sword of judgment, which sends souls to Purgatory, which I thought was a very cool addition to the Otherworld mythos. However, the human summoner did have help from below, and in exchange for his cooperation, the demon that Savannah and Adam interact with wants an audience with Hope. Meanwhile, we also catch up to the witch hunter, who claims her family is evil and that they thrust this role upon her. They say the opposite, and Savannah doesn’t know who to believe.

Adam and Savannah get into a huge row, and Savannah takes one hell of a wrong turn, placing her square in the face of danger, which intensifies with each chapter. The heart-pounding pace at which the narrative moves forward makes this an addictive read that only intensifies as we draw closer to the end. The extreme supernaturals take a page out of the book of the X-Men mutants in The Last Stand and reveal that they feel they’re the next in the chain of evolution along with the children of many key children of supernaturals from werewolf, demon, and witch bloodlines.

Most fan favourites from the Otherworld series appear in this volume, which sets up The Thirteen, the forthcoming final book, to wrap this story up and make for one hell of an exciting conclusion.

In this series, there are shades of what made the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series of books so good in the first place. If you yearn for the Anita of Guilty Pleasures, Armstrong’s series—and approach—are both a refreshing change from what’s out there and a throwback to old school urban fantasy. I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of The Thirteen and find out how it all ends…

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