About the Book
From the authors’ website:
The great Ruins are gone. The titans. The behemoths. All banished to the Dark and nearly forgotten. But the cunning ones, the patient ones remain. They hide not in the cracks of the earth or in the shadows of the world. But inside us. Wearing our skin. Waiting. Watching.
Once haunted by visions of the world beyond, Ferran now wields that power to hunt the very monsters that he once feared. He is not alone. Others bear the same terrible burden. But Hunter or hunted, it makes no difference. Eventually, everything returns to the Dark.
This is the second novella written by Mark Gelineau and Joe King in their ongoing, over-arching series, Echoes of the Ascended. One of the interesting things about this wider series is that there are four distinct series under the Echoes of the Ascended banner, all taking place in the same world. Each has a different feel.
This second book is about a monster-hunting acolyte. It has more of a horror-fantasy vibe. A little more like a Van Helsing. Some of the gruesome aspects reminded me a bit of The Monstrumologist, though this is distinctly a different tale.
Ferran is the protagonist here, or at least one of them. We follow him, beginning with his childhood, from his humble origins in an orphanage. He sees monsters. The people who run orphanages hate it when the little blighters under their control see weird, disgusting, scary monsters, so when he freaks out upon seeing that the juggler isn’t what everyone else thinks he is, the orphanage is not pleased.
We get a really cool passing mention of the lead characters from the other three story lines Gelineau and King are working with: Elinor, Alys, Roan, and Kay. Though the stories are each separate and self-contained to some degree, it is enjoyable to see little glimpses of where the world intersects for these characters.
Ferran is eventually taken in by a group of people who hunt and kill the blackhearts, and he is trained. By the time we meet him again, he’s not a scared child hiding from the juggler. He’s a badass monster hunter, complete with a chain in one hand and something like a naginata in the other. We meet some other characters here, but giving too many details here will give too much away. The most interesting of these others is Mireia, who acts as a spiritual bard; her songs seemingly aid the flow of battle in the group’s favor.
If large spider-things scare you silly, you’re going to have a bad time. Or, a good time, if you like being scared. Same thing with zombies, or things like zombies. Puppet-people. Monsters in people suits. Because that’s what’s being hunted here. Dark times.
I’m excited to read the third book, which sounds like a sort of noir-fantasy hybrid. I love hybrids. I enjoy noir titles. You’ve probably noticed that I read a lot of fantasy. I’ve enjoyed the first two novellas in the Echoes of the Ascended series. I won’t be reading quite as many titles in November (hello NaNoWriMo) but the first Alys title, Best Left in the Shadows, will be coming out in November, and it is on that list.
About the Authors
Mark and Joe have been writing and telling stories together for the last 25 years. They share a love for the classic fantasy tales of their childhood. Their Echoes of the Ascended series brings those old epic characters and worlds to new life.
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