It's the dawn of the 22nd century, and the world has fallen apart. Decades of war and resource depletion have toppled governments. The ecosystem has collapsed. A new dust bowl sweeps the American West. The United States has become a nation of migrants -starving masses of nomads who seek out a living in desert wastelands and encampments outside government seed-distribution warehouses.
In this new world, there is a new power. Satori is more than just a corporation, she is an intelligent, living city that grew out of the ruins of Denver. Satori bioengineers both the climate-resistant seed that feeds a hungry nation, and her own post-human genetic Designers, Advocates, and Laborers. What remains of the United States government now exists solely to distribute Satori seed; a defeated American military doles out bar-coded, single-use Satori seed to the nation's starving citizens.
When one of Satori's Designers goes rogue, Agent Sienna Doss-Ex-Army Ranger turned glorified bodyguard-is tasked by the government to bring her
in: The government wants to use the Designer to break Satori's stranglehold on seed production and reassert themselves as the center of power.
When Violet Knight finished her ordinary day’s work, she could never have imagined the strange island she found herself on that very same night. Falinn Galdur is an island where magic, mystical creatures and supernatural beings exist, hidden from the world Violet knows. It is an island only accessible through a mystic portal no ordinary person could have opened but Violet is no ordinary person.
The evil witch Agrona’s heart and body are hidden separately and only the powerful wizard Merrydian knows where. Something is stirring and Agrona’s demonic army are ready to make their move. All they need to reawaken the witch is the blood of Merrydian or his heir.
When Violet arrives on Falinn Galdur, she unintentionally sets into motion a series of events that will awaken Agrona. Can Merrydian prevent the rising of the Agrona or is Violet doomed by fate to revive the witch intent on stealing her heart.
Before I start this review I must first tell you that the author is my wife. This could mean that I am slightly biased and that I fear for the survival of my marriage when writing this but that is not the case. This is an honest review and in no way did my wife’s menacing glare, whilst I wrote this, influence my judgement.
The story starts of telling the story of Gweniveev who is expecting to meet a relative, unfortunately this turns out to be a trap which results in her demise. We find out that Gweniveev is the daughter of Merrydian and is in possession of magical powers, these powers allow her to send a message to another heir in the distant future. Gweniveev’s death is ordered by the powerful witch Agrona, who requires the hearts of magical individuals to ensure her immortality and help her in her goal of world domination. Merrydian, having lost all that he loves is able to defeat Agrona but not kill her; instead she is trapped within her own body and hidden away from those who might seek to restore her.
We then meet Violet, your average teenage girl, trying to juggle work, a social life and school. After work one evening she and a friend, Dahlia, find themselves confronted by an otherworldly being called a Gnarl. When trying to escape the Gnarl, Violet accidently unlocks and steps through a portal which transports her to the hidden island of Fallin Galdurr, she soon learns that she is heir to the most powerful wizard in existence Meridian and her being on the Island has potentially set into motion events needed to bring Agrona out of her slumberous state. Violet and her new companions must then race against time and ensure Agrona can never awake again.
There’s an abundance of characters created by Amy, each unique and imaginative, belonging to one of the different races, themselves well thought out and each with differentiating characteristics. There are three main humanoid races, there’s the warrior race of Worlen’s, ruled by a cruel King and inhabiting the expansive Forge Gate. Then there are the Banshees, mystical and majestic, yet in possession of voices that can blow a man’s head off. The Bobbins are the first race Violet comes into contact with, similar to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbits, small in stature, resourceful and caring, Bettery, one such Bobbin instantly takes a liking to Violet becoming a kind of mother figure throughout the novel.
Violet herself is a young teenage girl who is both compulsive and brave, the book itself is written in Violets inner voice and there are time where she can be frustrating in the decisions she makes, which in my experience, as a secondary school teacher, describes a young teenage girl perfectly. There’s also Jestin the young Worlen general, second born son of the King and duty bound to lead the armies of the Worlen people and refrain from any kind of relationship particularly that with someone outside of the Worlen race. It’s interesting to read how Violet and Jestin, although have feelings towards each other, can never develop their relationship and constantly fight their urges when in each other’s presence. My favourite character has to be Balthus, a proper bloke, a proper appetite and thirst for ale; described as an imposing physical character. Once general of the Worlen Army but stripped of this duty, he is now spoken about like some legend and still revered by the Worlen people. Caring, friendly and a character with a hidden secret, he intrigues me and I want to read more into his backstory, hopefully this will be brought up in future novels, I will have to ask the wife nicely and not piss her off otherwise she will kill him off.
Merrydian is the powerful wizard who has hidden the Island from the world we know in order to ensure the safety of magical beings. He is an extremely powerful wizard but his appearance is that of a frail old man. He reminds me of Dumbledore from Harry Potter, but due to his cantankerous personality brings a lot of humour to the book and the dialogue between him and others had me laughing out loud.
Merrydian’s gate is well written and Amy was able to transport me into Falinn Galdur through her descriptions of the setting and characters, it is a book I look forward to reading the sequel to, and I will no doubt be able to do this long before anyone else. This is a book which all readers of fantasy and young adult novels will enjoy and will no doubt have you eagerly waiting for book two.
Older than her years and completely alone, Temple is just trying to live one day at a time in a post-apocalyptic world, where the undead roam endlessly, and the remnant of mankind who have survived, at times, seem to retain little humanity themselves.
Temple has known nothing else. This is the world she was born into. Her journey takes her to far-flung places, to people struggling to maintain some semblance of civilization – and to those who have created a new world order for themselves.
When she comes across the helpless Maury, she attempts to set one thing right, if she can just get him back to his family then maybe it will bring forgiveness for some of the terrible things she's done in her past. Because Temple has had to fight to survive, along the road she's made enemies – and one vengeful man is determined that, in a world gone mad, killing her is the only thing that makes sense . . .
The ‘Reapers are the Angels’ is a book which I had wanted to read for a while and was constantly being teased by my kindles recommendations but I just didn't have the time. When I finally did buy the book I was not disappointed. The book's main protagonist is a 15 year old girl called Temple, the story is mainly told through her inner voice and to begin with the accent put me off, I stuck with the book and I’m glad I did. Alden Bell does an excellent job of helping the reader see the world through Temple’s eyes and has created an exceptional and memorable character. Temple lives in a world full of ‘meatskins’ or ‘slugs’, it is a world which is all she knows, having been born 10 years after the world was ravaged by zombies. This gives it a very different perspective to my usual zombie novels, zombies aren’t evil or even that much of a threat to Temple, she says “them meatskins are just animals is all” and she deals with them quickly and with ease.
Temple is a tough young girl who, although not able to read or write, is cunning and has a natural ability to survive. While she has this tough outer, Temple is a very lovable character and she carries with her a constant feeling of guilt and isolation.
When I bought this book my initial thoughts were that it would be full of zombies trying to eat Temples brains and a young girls struggle to survive, I was pleasantly surprised. The books antagonists are not the zombie as expected but other humans who, in a world gone to hell will try to take advantage of a young girl, only to meet their end. One such person is Abraham, Abraham's demise results in a vendetta by his brother Moses who will stop at no length to see that Temple dies. This sees Temple having to uproot from the relative safety of a small community and travel across the dangerous landscape. On her journeys she comes across Maury, who she refers to as dummy because he cannot speak. Initially Temple is reluctant to help the gentle giant but her conscience gets the better of her and gives her journey purpose.
This story was a great change from the usual zombie novels I delve into, the characters were well developed, although it did confuse me as to why Moses was so hell-bent on the demise of the young girl, but still he made a great adversary, opposite in physical description but similar in personality and values, as cunning and equality if not more so dangerous. I think that Moses and Temple are different from the other people in the book and as Moses puts it “Some people, he says, they hide themselves away from the eyes of the world. They hunker down and shiver. They find four walls high enough to put between them and everything else. Those people, to them the world is a frightful place. See, you and me, we're different. When we are called on to move, we move. It don't matter the cause or the distance. Revenge or ministration, reason or folly - it's all the same to us.”
I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it; it contains all the things I look for in a book, action, adventure, violence, horror, great memorable characters and settings and also was unique compared to most post-apocalyptic novels.
Benny Imura and his friends have made it to Sanctuary, they've found the jet and they've discovered that civilization is struggling to regain its foothold in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse. Scientists are on the verge of finding a cure for the zombie plague. It should be time for celebration, but it's not. Benny's best friend, Chong, has been infected by an arrow dipped in the flesh of a zombie and he hovers between life and death and Dr McReady, a researcher who may have the critical formula for a cure, has gone missing. So Benny convinces Captain Ledger to mount a search and rescue mission to find the doctor and help Chong. But with the Reapers still pursuing their plan to turn all zombies into super-fast shock troops even if they can save Chong, can they save themselves? In the fourth book of the thrilling and emotionally charged Rot & Ruin series, the battle to end all battles is about to begin...
In the last book of this awesome series we find Benny Imura and his gang of Nix, Lilah and Riot faced with the dilemma that Chong, their best friend, has been infected with the zombie virus. Poisoned by the Reapers, a group of crazy arseholes, intent on sending everyone into the darkness by opening them up with knives. Benny and the gang must race to find Doctor McReady and a potential cure whilst at the same time keeping the Reapers at bay.
The book offers many exciting and tense scenes of action and Jonathan Maberry is excellent at building suspense and keeping you on the edge of your seat. One thing I love about Maberry’s writing is his ability to describe fight scenes in detail using his own knowledge and experience to help the reader visualise what is happening as well as what is going on in the characters mind. Maberry is also excellent at incorporating humour into his books for example "Should we split up?" asked Lilah. "I can-"
"Not a chance," said Joe. "This isn't a bad horror movie. We stay together and we watch each other's backs. No one goes into the basement in a negligee to investigate a strange noise." I thought this was great and I did laugh as it reminded me of the many frustrating occasions when watching movies and seeing groups split up only to meet their end.
The characters in the book are well developed over the series and continue to develop throughout the book, Benny and Nix especially with the realisation that their relationship might have come about a little quickly, both transform from teens into adults and samurais, putting aside their relationship until the current situation was dealt with. We also see how Benny is adapting to his role as leader and how far he must go to defeat his enemies. I was happy to see the return of Joe Ledger which I had been looking forward to since the last installment, being a massive fan of the Joe Ledger series. Joe asks Benny “How scary are you willing to be in order to take the heart out of the enemy? Are you willing to be the monster in the dark? Are you willing to be the boogeyman of their nightmares?” In Fire and Ash we find out just how far Benny is willing to go in order to protect that which he loves.
There’s a great set of obstacles the gang must face including the fast and smart 'zoms' as well as those Reapers. Brother Peter and Saint John both provide some edge of your seat action and the dialogue between them and Benny is great.
Lilah, the tough wild girl, shows us her more caring side and is always there threatening violence at the mention of quieting Chong. Riot also had a big part to play in the story having originally being part of the Night Church (Reapers), she is also involved in a part of the story which, if I wasn't a manly man, might have produced a tear or two. Joe and Grimm were also excellent, right in the heart of the action, both as awesome as each other.
The story finishes with the gang having to prevent the fall of the nine towns which includes their original home, Mountainside. The ending although not as climatic as I expected did end on a high and finished the series off perfectly and I won’t be disappointed if it is the last time I read about Benny and the gang just a little sad to say goodbye.
BookBloke, a bloke who loves to read.