To begin a new series is, really, a very difficult thing to do. There has to be an emotional connection between the reader and the characters in the story for one thing. That connect can’t be vague or a wisp of a thought either. It has to make the reader want to see what happens next and where the story goes. Then comes the story isn’t. It should never be a massive information dump that the reader has to slog through before actually getting to the meat of the story. Purpose and reason are important and mixing that with background does matter.
Managing to balance both of those needs and do that well? That’s a talent. I found an author that certainly has that going for them…
One of the core plots of this work is all of the events that happen to Arthur and his family. Were this a “young man coming of age” story that would fit quite well. Arthur is much older than he looks and as such, he cannot express the loss of his wife, cannot grieve as he must, and when his world comes crashing down… it is an awful thing to see. To know that you could live, in theory, forever, and have to see all that you hold dear fade away around you… That can kill a soul.
But in spite of what happens to him and his family, Arthur knows the value of doing the right thing, even if it hurts. He knows that he has done wrong and accepts that he has. He knows that he need to do the right thing and, truly, no matter what he will strive to do so. I said that Arthur is older than he looks. He is an old soul. But even an old soul can learn something new. Especially about themselves.
That journey, from despair to a need for retribution is a long path full of moments unexpected, friends not believed, places encountered, and truths given that he never saw. It is that last experience, to know what had been happening around him and his family. takes him to a place where knowing the truth makes it no easier to accept. But that is, in the end, what the path of one’s life must be.
Arthur carries with him six beings and their stories are both tragic and inspiring as well. One of these is a Succubus, but I will return to her in a moment. Arix is the sorcerer with his secrets to be told. Vetisghar is the warrior demoness-cat who speaks little, but holds honour above all. Hjuul, the devoted hellhound that can be a puppy in one moment and fearless in the next. Pffiferil is a leprechaun with a bottomless flask, a sharp wit and a taste for the things that he enjoys. But also a compassion that few see. And Sheyliene is the fairy who suffered greatly in the past and faces her tormentor once more unexpectedly.
And, finally, there is Silithes the Succubus, also known as Sil. I have said many times that stereotypical Succubi bother me greatly, that having them in a story just isn’t interesting to me. Sil, her past, her secrets, who she is, what she wants are… different. Some say that a Succubus cannot love, cannot have a soul, cannot be anything more than what they are so crudely called. Those need to meet her I think and discover they are completely wrong. She isn’t perfect, though she would like to be. She holds secrets that when revealed nearly destroy Arthur. But the thing is that she is not dispassionate, she isn’t simply a temptation. She is so much more than that and for me that was the most attractive thing about her. That and she doesn’t have hooves, but she does have a tail and wings, but I digress a bit. Sil is, when the moments come, every bit wanting to do the right thing, to show that she is more than Arthur believes. That secret I mentioned does cause much pain, but there is closure for both Sil and Arthur eventually and in those moments, she I think gained that soul that she claims she doesn’t have.
There are several other characters in this work that some might call minor, but they are written with the background and personality that when they appear they hold the moment quite well in spite of the main characters they are with. Grey is an enigma, Marthe is one cook I would never want to cross, Karen runs hot and cold but for reasons we don’t quite now really. But then… then there is Znuul. He reminds me of someone I know, really quite a lot, and reading his thoughts and actions I can her that being’s voice speaking to me. He is… well I won’t spoil things, but I would really like to see, at some point, he and Arthur sitting down, sharing a drink, and talking about what they have seen. For them to be the friends that I feel like they are meant to be. It may sound odd, but when I see those two together the chemistry reminds me of a Hollywood movie two buddies road trip… Come to think of it, that would be wonderful thing to see. They would be perfect.
The works is gripping from the first to the last, there is little wasted moments and you do need to follow what is going on intently. But that is the point of any good story, of any well written tale to be told. To make you want to pay attention, to not skim the words… That is a talent. And for that, especially to read these characters… That really was important to me.
There is only a hint of erotica in this work and to be quite clear, having that as part of this work in any obvious dramatic way would have felt… cheap. This work is not about erotica. This work is about finding one’s self when the one you love isn’t there any longer. It is about finding out who is your friend, who matters to you, and what you do with your life. The tone of the work, the heartfelt moments for Arthur, for Silithes, for all of those that touch Arthur’s life positively in this work is what matters. In the end, when the last page is turned, the ending leaves the door open to the next story in the series quite well and in doing so that gives thoughts to where the story goes from here… As it should.
The writing is tight, the characters full, as I have said, the plot is well designed and all of those things are the hallmark of excellent story telling.
I have a new series to follow… And I will be.
Five out of five pitchforks.
A very good opening to the series, full of passion, real characters, and moments when they are, truly, more than they are expected to be. One of the things that I have always believed in is that family matters. In this work, by far, that is so very plain to see.
Recommended, the author has indicated that the second work in the series will be coming soon and I for one will be watching for it intently…
(review of free book)