I don’t typically read horror novels. Not because I scare easily, the opposite actually. I never get as creeped out reading as I would watching something, so I’m probably the worst person to judge if a book is actually scary. “Demon’s Prize” is meant to be scary at times, and there definitely is some creepy imagery, but since I’m not sure what most people find terrifying when I have a hard time defining that for myself, I’m not going to spend much time talking about the scare factor. Needless to say, The Alpha Wolf series is a paranormal, urban fantasy that fits nicely for New Adult readers. The book follows four friends—who are werewolves—as they embark on trying to make their dreams come true with their band. Along the way, they meet Brent, an alpha werewolf with secrets of his own that the young pack desperately tries to unravel no matter how much Brent pushes them away. The story follows the four werewolves and Angela—a werewolf hybrid—as Brent intervenes when Angela is nearly taken by a demon. Following that incident, the young werewolves are determined to save Brent at all costs, even though one of their pack really doesn’t want to. So, yeah, you can see exactly why some people may find this creepy or scary, so consider yourself warned.
“Covenant of the Hollow” is a reverse timeline fantasy focusing on two women from very different times, backgrounds, and locations. Annalise lives in our current world and, at nineteen years-old, is running for mayor of her small town outside of Seattle. She’s Puerto Rican and faces a great deal of racism and push back because of her origins and the mistakes of her father. Elizabeth Bathory is a Hungarian noble in the 1500’s who did actually exist and is credited as one of the most prolific female serial killers—which the author plays off of wonderfully. Elizabeth wants to secure her families line with a well-made marriage and will do anything to ensure her name goes down in history. Which is why she makes a deal with a mysterious, dark entity who she is half convinced is the devil. This dark force is present in Annalise’s time as well, tempting her and her friends with granting their every wish and removing all obstacles in their path. All they have to do is give up their fear and everything they want is theirs with no consequences. Or so the demon-like entity says. But things don’t exactly work out that way for any of them, and really, is anyone surprised?
“The Guardians Crest” is the third book in the “Guardians of Zion” series, and like the previous book, this particular volume makes the most sense if read in order, so you know the players etc. If you haven’t read the first two books, go do that now and then come back to this review, as there might be some mild spoilers for those books lurking in this review. Now, as is customary, the author starts the book with an introduction that 1. Kind of reminds the reader where the heroes left off and 2. Tells you a bit more of what this book is about and a little reasoning as to why Chrobak choose to start the novel the way he did: going back to when Thomas was first discovering his faith and powers. This time, however, we’re focusing on his little sister’s experiences, and the author also explains why he chose to include some of the demons this time. Normally, I’m not a fan of introductions like that because I don’t want someone to tell me what I’m about to read, but, for this book, I appreciated it because it was necessary for one very important reason: we don’t visit Thomas and where book two left off until about half way through this novel.
What a ride! Caligation is the name of the town—city? Let’s go with city—that Ripley Mason, our MC, finds himself mysteriously in after a terrible car accident. Struggling to understand how he got there and how to leave, Ripley starts wandering deeper into the city where he finds everyone has an effigia—think animal familiar—and some of the people are very much like vampires, while others are pretty much shapeshifters, and then others can manipulate a certain natural element, while others are just boring humans, but with the animal, of course. Everything is new and strange, and unfamiliar to Ripley who just wants to LEAVE, but can’t figure out HOW, and neither can anyone else he encounters in this strange place. Which lands Ripley in a metric ton of trouble as he inadvertently gets himself mixed up with the underground gangs in his quest to figure out what’s going on, and how he can get out of Caligation before it kills him.
“Victor” is the second book in the Eden East series, and you really do need to read the first book before jumping into this story, as Black doesn’t do a ton of recapping, which I like! I don’t like spending chapter after chapter just going over past information, but at the same time, I did have a bit of a hard time remembering some of the smaller characters… Still! This book picks up right where we left off, with the slain Victor coming back to enact his revenge and to push Eden and her Balancer (think husband/soulmate) towards a prophecy that will change their world forever. Black has an incredible ability to make each chapter gripping and leave you wanting more. The world of Truintor is fascinating and the struggle Eden finds herself in is extremely compelling; I felt all the feelings during this book and enjoyed it a great deal more than the first book, which is saying a lot as I enjoyed the first book! There are only a few things in this story that left me a little less than satisfied.
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