For a reader-friendly, summary review click here. For a more detailed review keep reading!
Author: Steven Montano
Genre: Dark Fantasy (Adult Fiction)
My Rating: ★★★★ (4 out of 5)
In the time after The Black, human survivors of the Southern Claw Alliance clash with vampire legions of the Ebon Cities in a constant war for survival. Earth as we know it has been forever damaged by an arcane storm that fused our world with distant realms of madness and terror. Things that once existed only in our nightmares stalk the earth.Story structure:
Now, humanity is threatened by one of its own.
Eric Cross, an enlisted warlock in the Southern Claw military, is part of an elite team of soldiers and mages in pursuit of a woman known as Red -- a witch whose stolen knowledge threatens the future of the human race. The members of Viper Squad will traverse haunted forests and blighted tundra in their search for the traitor, a journey that ultimately leads them to the necropolis of Koth.
There, in that haven of renegade undead, Cross will discover the dark origins of magic, and the true meaning of sacrifice...
Experience a dark and deadly new world in the debut novel of the "Blood Skies" series from author Steven Montano.
There is a lot of imagery and description in this book which is good because it belongs to the fantasy genre. There is not other way, apart from creating a picture book, that the writer can show the readers what this made-up world looks like. The atmosphere is set up at the beginning of the story and the reader is also thrown into action with the protagonist, Eric Cross. After the action and the introduction to some characters we are fed information about the species that roam post-apocalyptic Earth. Again, this is important to the genre.
Characters central to the plot are introduced in original ways. For example, we meet a woman at a bar whilst Cross is intoxicated. She is key to Cross’ success later on in the book but we don’t know that yet. It would seem that every other chapter/ scene or so in this tale is action packed which makes the book interesting and gripping. There is no skimming pages during any of the book as the pacing is done expertly. However, is you aren’t a fan of descriptive chunks then you might want to proceed with caution. It is a matter of personal taste. When there isn’t an action scene or a scene that unravels an important plot point we are fed more interesting background and information on the world that Steven has created. Of course the information is fed in tid-bits where the reader must piece together the information themselves.
There are one or two slight twists but the plot is otherwise a straightforward one. There are a few original quirks to which credit must be given, such as killer Monks and Warlocks/Witches with assigned ’spirits’ for power and protection. I do believe there is a bumpy patch where there isn’t much information given as to why a large ’black egg’ is important to the plot or what it does, however, the story moves on and develops further.
Tension does build quite dramatically during the last few chapters. The climax is pleasing and it is obvious to the reader that there will be a sequel. This is good because the ending would otherwise be slightly disappointing if there would be no continuation of the story and the journey of Eric Cross.
Each character in this tale is completely relatable because of the background, habits and fears that Steven Montano has given them. Even the protagonist, Cross, isn’t the overly-heroic and one dimensional Warlock we sometimes see. Each main character has a past and emotional baggage like any normal person. The secondary characters are shaped well enough to satisfy the reader. No warning bells go off when reading this story.
A great read full of intricate imagery and beautiful description. Steven Montano has done well with this series and should be proud of his work. Apart from a minor rough patch or two the information and detail is fantastic. There is no reason why this shouldn’t be on your to-read list!
Zoe Harrington x