“Prey” has flavors of a cop-procedural, apocalyptic level stakes, paranormal monsters, and good old fashion horror. There’s a lot going on in Majka’s first book in the “Blood of the Ancients” series, and this first installment does a great job laying the groundwork for the series! “Prey” follows Eric Archer as he discovers the truth behind his parent’s gruesome murders, and uncovers long buried family secrets that may stretch back several generations. As Eric and those he works with uncover that their foe is an evil godlike entity, they have a limited amount of time to come to terms with their whole reality being upended, and put the beast back where it belongs. Only the fate of the world hangs in the balance, so, no pressure?
This is one of those books that makes you pay attention. There’s a ton of little hints that get tossed at the readers with such a deliberately casual air, that if you aren’t paying attention, it could go over your head. Usually, that can be pretty bad because then, come the end when earlier questions are answered, it’ll feel like a cheap coincidence. That’s not the case with Majka’s book. Even if you fly over the hints that Eric and team are following, they stick in the back of your mind so the twists and betrayals feel more like M. Night Shyamalan during his “6th Sense” glory days, and everything falls into place. Which, fortunately, and unfortunately, makes the review really hard! Because anything I may say about the characters or parts I thought were done well, may give something away, and that’d spoil the fun!
What I can say is that this book is not appropriate for everyone. Given the subject matter, that really shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it is worth mentioning that the characters use a lot of swearing (which makes sense for the characters, so it fits really well, but if you’re sensitive to the f-bomb, well, sorry?). I’d say the levels of violence and gore are up there with shows like “Supernatural” both in their creepy occult imagery, and use of violence and gore. Personally, I love “Supernatural” so none of this was an issue, but again, if you are sensitive to that, consider yourself forewarned.
I enjoyed Majka’s story, the conflict he presents, and the questions left unanswered are all so tantalizing, that I can’t wait to dive back in with the next book in the series. The author has a terrifyingly fantastic imagination, and his comfort with breaking conventional writing norms (or it may just be formatting, not sure what to call it, honestly), is at first jarring, until suddenly your appreciating how much it helps complete the world-scape, and makes things a bit more eerie on occasion. Sometimes the relationships felt kind of rushed, but when you consider the situation, and the fantasy elements that surround these characters, it sort of makes sense, and helps create a sense of dread (especially with the ending, eek!). Even though Majka and I share a publisher, it in no way impacted my judgement or feelings about his writing, or the story, which I genuinely enjoyed. Which is why I confidently give it 5 stars!
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