Category Archives: Dark Fantasy

The House at Divoro by Charlotte E. English – Review

Title – The House at Divoro (The Malykant Mysteries Book 7)
Author – Charlotte E. English
Genre – Fantasy
Length – 155 Pages
Publication – May 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Konrad Savast is the Malykant: foremost and most secret servant of the God of Death. His job? To track down the foulest of murderers and bring them to The Malykt’s Justice. No mercy. No quarter.

When Nanda shows up with a pressing invitation to a post-Solstice house party, Konrad is unenthusiastic. Eino Holt, their host, might have a taste for theatricals, but Konrad emphatically does not.

But then a corpse turns up, mutilated and hidden in a pantry cupboard. Konrad soon learns that the house at Divoro harbours many a dark secret…

Dark fantasy meets classic murder mystery in this seventh installment of Charlotte E. English’s Malykant Mysteries.

Review

Oh how I love Konrad.. I’m so glad we have another story to read. First off I must say the covers for the series keep getting better and for me fit the tale perfectly.

Followers of my reviews will know I’m a big fan of Charlotte’s work. She has to be my favourite writer so the bar is always set high.

Well once again she’s leapt over the bar set by the previous tale and has given me the best one yet.

What English always seems to get spot on for me is the balance between story and character development. In a short tale it’s not easy to make you enjoy the characters but English does just that, building on previous tales but at the same time a reader could easily pick the series up from here as we are given just the right amount of background info when setting up the scenes that it’s easy to understand the relationships between the main characters.

My favourite line of the book has to be “it was bad because he felt as fresh as an aged pair of socks, and approximately as lively” – Sounds like me most days ha

As I’ve said this is the best tale yet, English easily keeps the series fresh and interesting and I love the continuing development of Konrad. He doesn’t like to give much away but he’s a loveable character.

In this tale, as usual a body is found..but there’s a few strange twists that leave you thinking “What?” or “How?”. It’s these twists and turns that keep you hooked.

Again what I’ve always loved about the authors work is  the writing itself.. Never dumbed down but never overly complex, it might be a dark tale but the writing is suitable for young and old alike.

The suspense was killing me with this one right till the end and the page count means you can easily get sucked in and read this in one sitting or over two.

Konrad struggles  in the tale more than the last to keep his secret life just that..a secret so it was a great chance to see him put his different personas to use.

I can’t write a review on this book without mentioning Optapi and Eetapi, Konrad’s serpents who help him in his role as the Malykant, their dark humour makes them quirky and fun and I love when they show up. It’s a strange relationship between them and Konrad and for me it’s the best thing about the series..after the plot of course 🙂

The Malykant series is rather unique in my opinion. I’ve read nothing like it before and I just can’t get enough.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

The Spirit of Solstice by Charlotte E. English (@Charlottenglish) – Review

Title – The Spirit of Solstice (The Malykant Mysteries Book 6)
Author –Charlotte E. English
Genre – Dark Fantasy
Length – 92 Pages
Publication – Jan 2017
My Rating –5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Konrad Savast is the Malykant: foremost and most secret servant of the God of Death. His job? To track down the foulest of murderers and bring them to The Malykt’s Justice. No mercy. No quarter.

Solstice Eve, and Konrad is dragged from his bed to investigate the murder of a local wine merchant. The man’s as dead as they come, but his spirit seems oddly unperturbed by his passing.

More victims are swift to emerge, all killed in the same brutal style — and all with strange, unheard-of reactions to the news of their own demise. Is it just the Solstice spirit, or is there something else afoot? Something stranger, darker and far more dangerous…

Review

I don’t know how Charlotte does it but this series gets better and better with each story.

Konrad is the Malykant, He seeks justice for those murdered and he has a growing group of followers to help him. My favourites being Optapi and Eetapi as always. Their dark humour always has me smiling. The relationship between them and Konrad is a strange one, I don’t think Konrad wants to admit it but as much as he doesn’t like the serpents he’d be lost without them.

This case is a very perplexing to start with..a man is found murdered but seems happy to be dead when the serpents bind him. Why?

More bodies turn up and the curiosity grows with each death.

Now I don’t want to spoil the tale by giving away too much detail but Konrad has to root out fact from fiction to discover the identity of the killer but the strange manner of the deaths means this isn’t a quick open and shut case.

I loved the injection of myths in this tale. Fantasy and myth blend so well for me and it made for an extraordinary tale.

What the author manages to do superbly well is that she builds on the previous foundations set in the series and develops the relationships. Konrad is still coming to terms with feeling emotions and in this tale it looks like having emotions might not be the best thing.

While I loved the original ensemble of characters I really enjoyed the return of Tasha, she’s very unique and I love the relationship she has with Konrad and the growing support she has to offer with her own set of skills.

Once again I’m shocked at how much Charlotte can fit into so few pages. At 92 pages this is exactly what a short story should be..It’s a full tale, fast flowing and easy to follow, no unanswered questions & nothing feels rushed.

Charlotte’s tales are dark and a mildly gruesome at times but are very enjoyable and well suited to a young adults and above. I think what I really enjoy is Charlotte’s use of language, it’s never dumbed down but never too complex to put a reader off either.

I’ve said it before but Charlotte is Queen of the short tales for me. She never sets a foot wrong and they’re perfect if you don’t have the time to read a longer length novel.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

Secrets In Blood (Lake of Sins #2) by L.S. O’Dea (@LSODea) – Review

Title – Secrets In Blood (Lake of Sins #2)
Author – L.S. O’Dea
Genre – Dark Fantasy
Publication – April 2015
Pages – 498 Pages – Print Length
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

Trinity’s plans have gone horribly wrong and she is now fleeing for her life, but at what cost to her friends and family. Can she save any of them without sacrificing herself?

Hugh Truent, an Almighty, learns of Trinity’s escape and that she is the offspring of two different classes which is supposed to be impossible. If it’s true, it would be the discovery of a lifetime, but he needs scientific proof. In his quest for answers, he soon realizes that there are those who will kill to keep this find a secret.

Trinity’s struggle to survive in a society based on absolute segregation of the different classes along with Hugh’s dogged determination to find the truth at any cost, sets into motion a collision between the groups that shatters the foundation of their world

Review

This is the second book in the Lake of Sins series and it built greatly on the groundwork laid in “Escape” the previous book.

Trinity’s quest to find out what happens to the producers once they are removed from camp continues and she’s put in even more danger as more people become interested in her.

She’s being hunted now as her parentage has come into question and the idea of interclass mating is explored.

This is gruesome fantasy writing..There’s a social structure to this world the author has created and those at the top take advantage of those they see as beneath them. But there’s a very gruesome and disturbing secret that some of the upper class called Almighties don’t even know about.

For me what I really found interesting is how similar the underlying topics are to real day issues. The social structure with those in power controlling everything, racism against those different to themselves but as we find out.. just like in modern society.. Perhaps the differences are only skin deep.. Below the surface everyone is more similar than they would like to admit.

I have to say I liked this one a lot, it really did get better as it went along but with such a defined social structure I felt the pace was a little fast.. there’s a lot to take in and you really need to give this one the time it deserves. With so many different classes and characters I was left wanting.. not in a bad way.. just as soon as you feel you’re getting to know one of the social classes you switch to another and the whole idea was that interesting I really wasn’t ready to move on.

Another positive for this book is that I think the author has a very easy reading style of writing. No stupidly big words to slow you down, you just get faced paced gruesome fantasy.

Something I talk about a lot in my reviews is did the book hook me in..this one did just that but it keeps you hanging on.. it pulls you in with its intriguing plot then throws you back out to digest for a while and just when you think your safe another bit of gruesomeness is thrown in to reel you back in.

Overall I enjoyed it a lot. There’s more to come in this series so I’m looking forward to see what direction it takes.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read/review their work

Where the Waters Turn Black by Benedict Patrick (@benedictpaddy) – Review

Title – Where the Waters Turn Black
Author – Benedict Patrick
Genre – Fantasy
Publication – 16th November 2016
Pages – 227
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

When gods and monsters battle, her music will not protect her…

The Crescent Atoll is a remote string of tropical islands, connected by long canoe journeys and a love of stories.

When Kaimana, a young ocarina player, discovers the lair of a taniwha – a legendary monster – she finds herself inspired. The song she is composing about their encounter will be her masterpiece, but her disturbance of the beast attracts the ruining gaze of the god of war. She must convince the taniwha to trust her if they are both to survive.

Where the Waters Turn Black is a standalone novel from Benedict Patrick’s Yarnsworld series. Inspired by the myths and legends of South Pacific island cultures, this book is perfect for those seeking fantasy stories with a hint of the unfamiliar.

Start reading today to discover this epic tale of friendship, gods and monsters!

Review

After Benedict’s previous work They Mostly Come Out At Night I was left wanting..wanting more of his work. Fortunately for me and you the author hasn’t kept us waiting long..phew.

We are back in the wonderfully dark and exciting world the author has created full of gods and monsters that will send shivers down small children’s backs.

I loved this book. It feels like a fairytale.. but not the Disney kind.. the true kind.. think The Brothers Grimm. Myths told to scare the little ones come to life and change the life of one person in particular..Kaimana.

From the opening sentence I knew I would enjoy this – “There’s a monster in the village” and this author has a real knack for creating the weird and wonderful that switches on my brain giving me the blissful feeling of using my imagination to see this world myself.

The tale is fast paced..would have liked it slowed down a bit so I could really enjoy the world and people the author has created but saying that the author has fit in a lot of content into less than 230 pages.

So you’ll want to know a bit about the book..

First off one thing I really loved about the author’s previous work and this one is how he separates the chapters with little tales, myths, folklore from the world he’s created. I’ve not read anything like it before and it really shows off the author’s imagination to the fullest.

Kaimana is part of a traveling group of performers. She has the knack but hasn’t reached her full potential yet. When the group heads back to her former home this is a chance to see her parents but she’s kind of an outsider in her own home since she didn’t follow in the family footsteps.

This feeling of being an outsider is what I think draws her to go searching the woods when she’s told a monster is lurking..she just doesn’t think of the consequences .

After disturbing the creature the travelling group are asked to leave and they head out to their next destination.. little do they know the taniwha has become connected to Kaimana.

Kaimana is certain this connection is what is needed for her to become a legend..to create a song that will be shared for generations.

Along the way on this adventure we meet gods..good and bad..and more monsters. We even see the Magpie King make an appearance :).

I won’t spoil the overall plot for you but this was another well written tale from a strong author that you should definitely keep your eye on.

The tale is one of friendship & loyalty and the fantasy edge really makes this one hell of an interesting book to read.

Another plus for me is that the book is written in such a way that even though it’s connected with the previous tale you don’t have to have read that book first, you can read them in any order.. Although I’d strongly suggest you read it at some point..Damn it was good.

I can’t wait to see what Benedict comes up with next!

The book is out today! To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read/review the book

Bloodwalker by L.X. Cain – Review

Title – Bloodwalker
Author – L.X. Cain
Genre –  Dark Fantasy
Length –  284 Pages
Publication – 4th October 2016
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Lightning flashes. Another child disappears…

Zorka Circus’s big top roars with laughter and cheers, but when it moves on, children vanish.

Circus Security Chief Rurik suspects a killer hides among the performers, but they close ranks—they’ve always viewed lightning-scarred Rurik as the monster. He must find the culprit before anyone else disappears and his home is destroyed by the murders.

Into Zorka Circus comes the Skomori clan, despised as gravedigging ghouls. A one-day truce allows bloodwalker Sylvie to marry. Instead, she finds a body. Alerting others will defy her clan’s strict code, break the truce, and leave her an outcast.

When more bodies turn up, the killer’s trail becomes impossible to ignore. Rurik and Sylvie must follow the clues—even if they lead to something unimaginable…

Review

I can honestly say this one surprised me… the synopsis only scratches the surface of the tale and the twists that played out definitely had the shock factor

Two stories collide in this tale. The first being Sylvie, she’s a bloodwalker..although not a very good one. By some bloodwalkers would be classed as special but others look down on them. They help deal with death and I just loved how each chapter started with a quote from the bloodwalker handbook.

Rurik on the otherhand is a security guard working for the circus. When we are introduced to him you quickly learn he’s not an average man. He manages to put together the pieces to learn someone involved with the circus has been kidnapping children and he sets out to put a stop to this

Sylvie and Rurik meet when Sylvie and two other bloodwalkers are due to be married. The wedding takes place at the circus as one of the clans elders is married to the owner

From here things start going wrong fast..

Sylvie makes a ghastly discovery but has no time to tell anyone..Rurik is so driven he sees guilt everywhere and can’t risk confiding in anyone so goes it alone at first to find out who is committing the kidnapping

The author takes their time to reveal the truth of the tale..adding twist after twist to throw you off the truth. The plot was superb.. I couldn’t fault it..

These twists and turns meant there was a great chance to develop the characters which I really felt the author did well. Development is probably the most important thing for me.. I want to feel like I know the character and  I definitely felt like I knew what motivated the main players in this tale

This is dark fantasy at its best for me, right up until the end I had no idea how the tale would play out which kept me hooked in page after page.

Major plus point for this tale has to be the very unique plot. I won’t spoil it but this author has a brilliant imagination..i can’t even put into words how unusual and fascinating the tale is.

Overall a cracking dark and gruesome tale that held a lot of surprises. I don’t think I’ll forget this book in a hurry. 100% would read again

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read/review their work

The book is out today! to find out more head to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Other links –

Lake Of Sins: Escape by L. S. O’Dea – Review

Title – Lake Of Sins: Escape
Author – L. S. O’Dea
Genre – Dark Fantasy
Length –   330  Pages
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

Lake of Sins: Escape is Lord of the Rings meets The Island of Dr. Moreau. BEWARE Hobbits!

“A dark, fantasy series with an OMG plot twist that you don’t see coming.” J. Urbanczyk 

On earth in the near future, all animals over twenty pounds are extinct and humans are not entirely human.

This new world is segregated by classes and for a Producer—the lowest class whose purpose is to produce all the food for the other classes—making the Harvest List can mean the difference between life and death.

Trinity knows her name won’t be on the Harvest List. They only choose the finest examples of Producers to stay and breed and she is far from a good specimen. She’s a mixed-breed and has hidden her differences—claws, fangs, the ability to see in the dark—all her life.

She needs to discover where they take the teenagers who don’t make the list before they come for her. She’s been trying to figure this out for years and discovered a clue during her last trip into the forest.

With only one week left before she’s taken, she sneaks into the woods again but this time, she uncovers predators long thought to be extinct and creatures who should only exist in legends.

Every turn she takes, someone is hunting her but once she discovers the horrifying fate of her kind, can she return to camp and save the others?     

Review

I’ve previously read Rise of the River-Man: Mutter’s Story and was instantly interesting in the world the author had created. The population has been drastically lowered after great death hits the planet and of those that have survived.. They aren’t really human anymore. There’s a hierarchy.. and for producers this isn’t a good thing.. They are the lowest of the low

This tale follows Trinity, she wants to know what happens to producers when they are taken from her camp and after an altercation with some other producers the time to leave is now..

We are whisked away on a fast paced journey where we are introduced to the others classes such as Almighties who sit at the top of the chain, Guards, Handlers and Trackers. It’s not massively complex to get your head around the social structure but there’s a lot to digest at times.

The tale unfolds when she meets some unlikely friends in the forest.. they both have information that the other is after so join together to suit their needs at the time.. your left never quite knowing if this will last or if someone might end up dead

It’s a good story but again there’s a lot going on..3 distinct tales in my opinion and the book moves from one agenda to another but all written well and with a clear plot. The main focus being on Trinity but I was more taken by the story involving the handlers and the trackers..I’ve yet to read the next book in the series but the author has left a lot of questions unanswered..not in a bad way either I must add.. it’s left me wanting more.. that’s never a bad thing in my book

Again this author seems to like to throw in some gruesomeness now and again for the shock factor and the fate of the producers in one such instance..i thought it was brilliant if I’m honest.

The author has made a cruel and intriguing world, if you like your fantasy but want that added gruesomeness then this is the tale for you

It’s unlike anything I’ve read before and I enjoyed it a lot. I’ll definitely read the next book in the series. I need to know what happens next

To find out more head to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com