Posts Tagged ‘free’

The Hunted

“‘What do you think you’re playing at, Father?’

Without stopping to pause, Tacit powered a fist square into his face and the man went down in a motionless heap.’”

About :

Tacit Poldek is not a normal priest: he’s an inquisitor traveling through an alternate-20th century Europe to neutralize supernatural threats wherever he finds them. Today, he seeks the murderer of a priest in Sarajevo before that murderer can reach its next target: Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The Hunted is adult horror/alternate history written by Tarn Richardson and published February 20th 2015 by Gerald Duckworth & Co.

I ran across this series on Tammy’s terrific speculative fiction blog, Book, Bones & Buffy, and after reading the synopsis of book III (of which she was running a giveaway), I knew I had to try it out. Speculative fiction set against historical backgrounds can often balance entertainment with details that bring a period to life at the same time. Winning! Bonus: The Darkest Hand also deals with church history, something I find endlessly fascinating. Max Gladstone introduced me to the sort of fiction that explores both faith and magic in the same volume, and I’ve been addicted ever since. So finding the short story prequel to the series (available for free on Amazon!) was really exciting.

Thoughts :

“The pavement around the Priest was slick with blood, thick rivulets of darkening crimson snaking from the body drying fast beneath the hot Sarajevo sun.

A priest is dead. The crowd assumes he fell from a window, but Tacit Poldek sees the signs: someone—or something—threw this priest to his death. As Poldek sets off to find the murderer, we quickly learn that this violent brandy-swigging priest will stop at nothing to get answers. The story moves at a good clip and I enjoyed the chase, although the predictable outcome and the repetitive, violent nature of the priest’s investigative techniques left me feeling “meh” about the final third of the story. I think the constraints of the short story form hindered potential character development and clever plotting in The Hunted.

Overall :

However, this free prequel does provide a fast and helpful introduction to the author’s style, the world of the Darkest Hand series and to the hero (or, rather, antihero?). I’m certainly interested in continuing the series to find out more about this dark, gritty world.

Recommended To :

Anyone intrigued by the idea of mixing horror and urban fantasy, set against a background of 19th century alternate history. I would recommend skipping this prequel, though, and going straight to book I. This feels more like a prologue than a standalone story, mainly published to promise series potential.

Plot: 3/5
Worldbuilding: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Writing: 3/5

***3/5 STARS

 

 

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emperorsedge

Premise: Amaranthe, an ex-corporal in the emperor’s army, and Sicarius, an assassin outlaw, gather together a surprising band of adventurers, determined to clean up the city and regain the emperor’s favor.

About: A fun self-published adult Fantasy series. The legend reads thus: “A HIGH FANTASY NOVEL IN AN ERA OF STEAM.” It was a 2013 Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee and came highly recommended by a fellow reader of Fantasy whom I can’t thank enough. (Thanks Corryn!!!!)

What I Love: (1) I love the heroine, Amaranthe. She’s my new fave. She drew me in very quickly and (2) her adventures kept me eagerly reading along. Those two elements are what I most love about this series—the talented, self-deprecating and quirky character of Amaranthe and her knack for getting out of sticky situations. It feels similar to YA Fiction, except that there are no genre expectations forcing the author to, say, rush the protagonist into a romance. It’s very refreshing! Don’t get me wrong, romance would be a really fun bonus. But so far this series is really about the various characters gaining redemption in the eyes of their sovereign. I suspect it will evolve into a further political plot, but right now I’m content with the adventures, which are truly inventive. (3) I love the humor. My goodness do I love the humor. It’s largely character-driven: the characters, who all have drastically different personalities, are constantly poking at one another to get a reaction. There’s a great group camaraderie in the band of adventures. The appearance of this character-driven humor (which doesn’t occur until after the first few couple of chapters, when the cast of “heroes” comes together) dramatically increased my interest in the story. (4) I was shocked and pleased to discover that much of the series is available through our library system. That’s really nice because while I am excited to read the books when they come out on Kindle, I would prefer to buy them in hard copy, if I really love them.

What I Didn’t Love: (1) It could be edited more carefully. I don’t think these books were just “thrown together,” exactly, because the big stuff—character, plot, worldbuilding—all work together well enough; however, I do think details of the characterization, worldbuilding and humor could have been further sharpened. With those improvements, this series could really shine.

Overall: So far, I give the series four stars because not only did I get the first three books really cheap (the first book is free on Amazon), I’ve also really enjoyed them thus far! The adventure plots and humor are simply too fun to be missed.

I hold on to the hope that some publisher might buy the rights to the series so that Lindsay Buroker might have a chance to clean it up. It could happen. (Please, somebody, make it happen!!)

Recommendation: Kindle readers. Fantasy lovers, adult and young adult alike- I think this series would appeal to both crowds of readers.

****Four Stars