Fans of Mercy Thompson, Harry Dresden, and Anita Blake: meet Zyan Star.
She’s a clever and acerbic, Seattle-based by way of Ireland, supernatural (immortal?), eternally damned, katana-wielding bounty hunter, and for this story, she’s in Rio hunting some Nightmares. Not bad dreams, but the bitey, human-eating, give-you-nightmares kind. She is hired by a local supernatural big-wig to get rid of the evil things. However, as there should be in any good story, there’s a lot more to the situation than meets the eye. Let’s just say this: drama drama drama.
The novelette is fast and furious and full of one-liners that often lead to open questions rather than answers. Zyan notes, for example, that a flowering vine sags over the balcony, one that “smelled of vanilla and childhood. Well, someone else’s childhood.”
Zyan is a fighter imbued with supernatural abilities. We don’t see a lot of those abilities here for various reasons, but what we do see is that, generally, she isn’t somebody you want to get angry.
“It makes him look weak to get his ass kicked by a woman?” I rolled my eyes. “Don’t make me cut off another limb.”
The novelette is a vignette into Zyan’s career. We get some quick hits in, meeting her friends/business partners right away: Riley the werewolf and Quinn the witch. All three of these characters are cool, fashionable, and able to handle their business. We don’t find out what Zyan’s supernatural aspects really are. Chamberlynn does a good job of leaving that teaser for future books. We know it is Irish in nature, and a few other hints, but the reveal is left for future installments.
We also meet Donovan McGregor, rival supernatural bounty hunter, shape-shifter, and eye-candy for Zyan and her team. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him. There are some romance elements in this book, though mostly via flirtation, and this is secondary to the action, plot, and characterization–just how I like it. I would be unsurprised to see a continuation and probably further development of these elements.
The book is full of action, and if Chamberlynn keeps up the frenetic pace, the series will be a blast.
This novellette is a quick introduction to Chamberlynn’s Zyan Star series. Black Magic and Mojitos will eventually be followed by the series’ first full length novel, Martinis with the Devil. Being only a taste, I can’t tell where the series will go. I do know that it is a better first installment than the first books in several similar series.
Black Magic and Mojitos: A Zyan Star Novelette was released through Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on August 7, 2015.
Unearthly shrieks split the air as a herd of horses materialized. Well, materialized being a relative term. Wisps and streaks of glowing silver; wraiths in the night. Their eyes glowed fuchsia, and their bodies left smears of light like shooting stars, both beautiful and disorienting. Only two things about them had any solidity: their teeth and their hooves. Sparks flew up off the mountain where their feet touched the ground.
A Nightmare lunged for my face, its teeth snapping together near my cheek. I jerked my head to the side, going into a spin. My katana flashed in the moonlight. The horse spirit disappeared in a swirl of light, my sword catching nothing but air. A moment later as I landed in a crouch, it reappeared. Quick and deadly, it darted in again. My blade kissed the sky once more. But even with my super speed, I only grazed the tail-end of the thing as it whipped around. It let out a cry, taunting me as it disappeared from view once again.
A horrible human screaming rent the air. One of Raoul’s men had sunken to his knees, clawing at his eyes. A Nightmare hovered above him, its gaze hypnotic. The man didn’t seem able to look away. One of the other men stepped towards him, but a barked order from Belphegor pulled him up short. A moment later three horses appeared on each side of the fallen man, and they descended like piranhas. His screams cut off abruptly, followed by the sound of tearing flesh and snapping bones.
They came at us all at once again, a bigger circle around our smaller one. Screams, teeth and eyes first, emerging from nothingness, followed by their silvery bodies.
“Close your eyes!” Quinn yelled.
It went against all my instincts, but I squeezed them shut, before the Nightmares could lock gazes with me. My other senses kicked in. The taste of adrenaline on my tongue, the smell of blood and terror in the air, an electric hum of magic, a burning along my arm as teeth connected with skin. I swung my katana before me. Minor vibrations ran up the blade as I struck one of the Nightmares, but they were so quick, materializing in and out, that I hadn’t gotten in a lethal hit yet. Behind me, I could hear the firecracker blasts of Quinn’s magic, but I couldn’t tell if they were hitting the enemy or just the rocks around us. The rhythmic popping of the machine guns punched the night, the sound buzzing along my jawbone. Donovan and Riley’s growls intermingled with the bloody orchestra, but I didn’t hear anything that sounded like they were having better luck than I was. How much longer could we keep this up?
About the Author
A.A. Chamberlynn lives in Florida. When she’s not writing or reading, she can be found playing with horses, eating chocolate and other delicious things, drinking wine, traveling to the next place on her global wish list, or maybe doing yoga. She is represented by Sandy Lu of the L. Perkins Literary Agency. Connect with her on her website.