Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5 The blurb says this is like Firefly meets Wagon Train and that is accurate. This is the best world-building I have read in a long time that wasn’t contained in a bubble: meaning the reader isn’t just given enough to advance the plot at that moment, and that not […]
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 There is a free short story prequel to this book, but you don’t need to read it to enjoy this story. Alpha Varian of the Northern Pack is allied with the Shadow Clan against the allied packs of the South. I don’t really understand how this alliance works; it […]
When Angus realizes that what his parents taught him is not always true, he needs to find his own path in life and while is it not what his parents want, it might be what the world needs. Angus is in a magic school, learning how to summon a demon to steal his magic. Eventually when a demon is drained of magic, they are usually killed. There are wizards who have magic, but do not make themselves stronger by taking magic from demons.
There are so many interesting what-ifs in Angus’ mind. I love the different types of demons. Angus doesn’t want to summon a demon in class so he can fail out; he gets a sexy demon instead and gets yanked into Demonside/Arlyxia. Saku needs a warlock to rebalance his world due to the humans taking magic from it. The whole way humans are exploiting the demons and magic itself became more horrifying once I got to see demon civilization. The higher warlocks in Humanside obviously know what is happening, but are too greedy for their own power to care. There are three ways to rebalance the magic, but the most fun is sex magic. I vote yes. If you don’t like knives and blood play, this may not be the book for you. There is a lot of violence and sex in this world.
The world-building here is intriguing. Miniti is the ruthless leader in Demonside and trying to save her people. Humans are the ones that starting breaking the unwritten agreements between them set in place hundreds of years ago after the demon wars. The more magic humans take, the colder and wetter their world is becoming. Warlocks in Vinland are storing the magic somehow. Meanwhile, Demonside is becoming a desert–the demons becoming like Saharan desert natives. Usi is another demon mage like Saku, only she uses blood magic and gives the souls to Miniti. The danger is clear: when beings are backed into a corner with nothing to lose, violence is a likely result.
Angus and Saku are now bound together until one of them dies. When Angus is retrieved from Demonside and the warlocks, including his father, try to take his memories away that he is left feeling betrayed, confused, and frightened. Is is better to stay at the Warlock College and continue to learn magic in order to fix what is wrong? In essence, he becomes a double agent. He could be killed by either side. He seeks out his ex, Jim, in the wizard underground for help. Saku has his own help from the mage council, but not all mages are happy with watching their world die while waiting for the humans to get a clue and do the right thing. The parallels with what we are doing to our workers and our natural resources, the despair and climate change, are obvious.
Terrence becomes his college tutor, but he is also part of the underground. I hope to see more of him in future books as a way to give Angus an anchor in the human world. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot. Let me just say I loved everything about this story. I can’t think of anything I’d change.
Rick Raine is our space captain. Karl is our other MC looking for transport to Mendhem, a territory controlled by Confed military. The Confed (Confederation of Free Planets) and UPA (United Planetary Alliance) are at war. This story starts on Meridan, a world along the borders that tries to stay a neutral territory.
Raine agrees to take him on as crew if he can find cargo to transport. Karl is from Meridan, but has been living on Earth. He escaped his life in the brothels after his mother’s death at 12, due to Sam, who is trapped on Mendhem after being sold as a slave. Slavery is allowed in the Confed and sometimes people are given a choice between slavery or military service.
I liked the descriptions of the various worlds, the spacecraft, and space travel. I love that the ship is piloted like a theramin.
I have to say both characters are so different in their outlook and approach to life, but both are likable in their own way. Rick will remind you a bit of Hans Solo and this is no bad thing. Karl could be a young Luke without cool powers. The sex scenes were well written and fit into the story as a natural, inevitable progression to them growing closer through proximity and sharing dangerous situations.
As a novella it did its job of telling a complete story with world-building. Due to it’s length, it did such a good job by focusing on the two main characters and showing us parts of space inhabited by “border rats” and a small part of Confed space. We don’t know that much about UPA and that is fine. I hope adventures in this world continue and we get to see if UPA is actually the “good guy” in this fight, or if it is a bit more nuanced than that. This story is complete with an ending, but it could be a beginning too, so that could make this work for a prequel or just book one in this world.