Tag Archives: fantasy horror

Knight in Retrograde (Dynamicist Trilogy Book 3) by Lee Hunt Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Four students who had hoped to change the world with mathematically based dynamics find their world instead of on the brink of war, as violent protestors rise and a series of hangings around the city grips them all in author Lee Hunt’s “Knight in Retrograde”, the third and final chapter in the Dynamicist Trilogy.

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The Synopsis

Would you trade uncertainty for stagnation, chance for god, invention for inertia, thought for dogma?

Four years have passed since the events of Dynamicist and war is on the horizon. Robert, Koria, Eloise and Gregory went to the New School, hoping to change the world. They thought that mathematically based dynamics, the enlightened age’s answer to wizardry, would give them the power to make everything better.Their hopes were naive.

Protestors are condemning the creation of a new vaccine. The city is seeing a series of hangings; is it murder or sacrament? The cloaked man is back stalking students. The long-absent demons Skoll and Hati reappear and begin slaughtering whoever they meet. But the real question is, will Nimrheal return? If he does, who will die first?

Uncertainty is inspiring fear, and inventions are not making the world better, only more complicated. The terrified civilians don’t want dynamics and reason. They want the word of Elysium and the return of the Methueyn Knights.Koria fears the world faces an awful conundrum: that if the Knights return, Nimrheal will stay.

Will Robert, Koria, Eloise and Gregory choose to transform into angelic knights or, at the cost of such heavenly communion, instead banish Nimrheal? What price will be paid? If a new Methueyn Knight rises, will the age of invention disappear forever?

The Review

What a dynamic and fast-paced final chapter in this gripping epic fantasy! As a relative newcomer to the series, I was highly impressed with the amount of world-building and magical realism the author poured into the narrative. The unique twist of using mathematics as a means of finding control of the magical system this world is governed by was so brilliant and spoke to me as a way to explore how modern science treats our ancient culture’s viewpoints on magic itself, and how the world would look if the two could both exist together. 

The captivating characters were such a powerful force of nature in the narrative, fleshing out the story and keying into the emotional depths that the reader feels towards this series. The reader should be prepared for some shocking twists and turns that will rock the fandom of this growing series, and the way the author wasn’t shying away from the brutality and visceral nature of this world’s events, as well as the fast-paced action the narrative has become known for, made this a gripping story to behold.

The Verdict

Memorable, heartbreaking, and entertaining, author Lee Hunt’s “Knight in Retrograde” is a must-read narrative and the best way to end such a powerful dark fantasy horror and magical realism series. The engaging way the author brought these characters to life both on the page and in the audiobook’s narration was well complimented by narrator Craig A. Hart really elevated the main story overall, and the haunting final chapter in this series will have readers on the edge of their seats. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Lee Hunt’s epic fantasy book Knight in Retrograde is now available in audiobook format, in addition to eBook and paperback. And there’s a giveaway!

Would you trade uncertainty for stagnation, chance for god, invention for inertia, thought for dogma?

Four years have passed since the events of Dynamicist and war is on the horizon.

Robert, Koria, Eloise and Gregory went to the New School, hoping to change the world. They thought that mathematically based dynamics, the enlightened age’s answer to wizardry, would give them the power to make everything better. Their hopes were naïve.

Protestors are condemning the creation of a new vaccine. The city is seeing a series of hangings; is it murder or sacrament? The cloaked man is back stalking students. The long-absent demons Skoll and Hati reappear and begin slaughtering whoever they meet. But the real question is, will Nimrheal return? If he does, who will die first?

Uncertainty is inspiring fear, and inventions are not making the world better, only more complicated. The terrified civilians don’t want dynamics and reason. They want the word of Elysium and the return of the Methueyn Knights.

Koria fears the world faces an awful conundrum: that if the Knights return, Nimrheal will stay.

Will Robert, Koria, Eloise and Gregory choose to transform into angelic knights or, at the cost of such heavenly communion, instead banish Nimrheal? What price will be paid? If a new Methueyn Knight rises, will the age of invention disappear forever?

About the Series:

The Dynamicist Trilogy examines the difficulties of change in a fantasy setting. This challenge manifests itself through a rigorous magic system where thermodynamic cost is accounted for, and an inventor killing god. Most realistically, the challenge of creating a better world is illustrated by the many mistakes and miss-steps of the well-meaning and intelligent characters. The power and importance of memory, love and hope are ever present.

Universal Buy Link | Amazon


Giveaway

Lee is giving away a $30 Amazon gift csrd with this tour:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47224/?


Excerpt

Knight in Retrograde Meme

As their eyes met, Heylor found himself abruptly pulled away from the handshake and whirled around by the strong hands of his mother on his shoulder. “What in Leylah’s long night happened to your face, Heylor?”

This again.

“It looks like he got trampled across the gizzard by a team of oxen,” said Herevor in a deadpan voice, rubbing his long narrow jaw with his right hand. His fingernails were black with dirt.

“He wouldn’t tell me what happened!” Shelley yelled from the kitchen table.

I don’t want to talk about it.

“Who’s there?” came a new voice from the couch. It was grandma’s broken, warbly twitter. Heylor peered into the den again and saw her slouched low on the half-collapsed couch. Beside her, perched primly with a straight back, sat Constable Lynwen, hands on lap. Heylor had not seen the young woman cross the room and sit down. He had forgotten about her completely, and now there she was beside his grandma.

“It’s me, Grandma. Heylor.”

The old lady squinted at him. She seemed little more than a bundle of thin, wrinkled skin, looking as if she had lost another two inches of height in the months since Heylor last saw her. Looking at her, spine hunched like a question mark and eyes rheumy and clouded with cataracts, felt like a stab in the gut.

“I thought you were out there across the line.”

“I was.” Heylor looked at Lynwen again, sitting beside his grandma. What is she thinking? “I’m back. Where are Heyden, Scrandeyn, and Helloise?”

Jesteyn crossed her arms. “They’re out farm-handing, Heylor. We told you that at the beginning of the season.”

“Sorry, I forgot about the farm work,” Heylor mumbled. “It’s probably a good thing they’re not here.”

“Why’s that?” Jesteyn asked, eyes narrowing. “They’d love to see you. You know that.”

“Why would they?” Heylor spread his arms wide in a surge of frustration. “They must be glad to be away from here. I can’t believe all the junk you have here.”

Herevor flinched for a microsecond before breaking into a mad grin that exposed every one of his missing teeth. “One knight’s junk is another knight’s armor.”

“Oh, for knights’ sake,” Heylor exclaimed, “why is there a wheelbarrow full of cats in the fireplace? What knight is going to make plate out of that? The cat would be better armor! And isn’t that Shelley’s sextant on the bookshelf? She lives in the orchid now. I do remember that. And isn’t that my old cooper’s kit spread out on the shelf yonder? And why do we have three busted telescopes? I’m sure I threw away the bronze one after second year. What isall this stuff doing here?”

“I needed a place to store my spare things,” Shelley replied evenly. “My room in the Orchid isn’t big enough.”

“Those rooms are huge!”

“Nope.” Shelley was not flustered in the least.

Heylor clenched both fists so hard his face hurt where Skoll had gripped it. “What about the cooper’s kit?”

“Heygard thought we should hold on to it for him until harvest is done,” his father answered nonchalantly

“Oh, of course,” Heylor whispered. “What about the telescope I know I threw away?”

“I think I can fix that,” Grandma piped up.

You? You can barely stand up!

“Well, that accounts for one telescope. How about the other two?”

“That’s me,” jumped in Herevor. “I thought I would see if I could make a small version of an Eindarch Eye.”

Heylor blinked. “Did you succeed?”

“Nope.”

Heylor shook his head. Of course you didn’t. “How about the old wheelbarrow?”

Herevor rubbed his jaw again. “Scrandeyn didn’t want it anymore. I figured it could come in handy. Someday.”

“Of course! Of course it could. Someday,” Heylor almost shouted, angrier than ever. Everything about his family reminded him of himself, of his own failings, of killing his friends. In that moment, he despised them like he despised himself. “It’s come in handy for the cat at least. Whose cat is that anyway? No, don’t answer, I know it came from a cousin or was thrown away by someone somewhere. Everything is useful, everything comes back. From everyone. Nothing is trash. It’s all worth something. My hand-me-down clothes probably got handed back and used for another cat’s nest.” He whirled around. “You know what this family is? Sick, crazy hoarders. It’s an illness. You’re so bad that, even when one of you finally throws something out, it gets thrown back by some other member of the family. When they throw something out, you take it. It’s a circle, a circle of junk, a knights-damned hoarding circle! We should study it in the New School. It’s a mathematical singularity for trash. Nothing ever leaves that doesn’t re-enter. There’s no escape from the entropic pull of the Style family’s hoarding circle vortex! No junk is abandoned, no mistakes are left behind, nothing is forgotten or moved on from.” Heylor held his hands up and whirled slowly around. “This might be a big new house, but we’re still just the same old peasants.”

Smack!

Heylor’s jaw rung for the second time that day, this time from the big hand of his own mother.

“My face already hurts, Mom! Don’t hit me.”

“I love you, boy, but I know that hurts less than what you’re carrying.” Jesteyn had hit him, but she did not look angry. Her liquid eyes betrayed a different emotion. “What mistakes aren’t you leaving behind? What pain are youhoarding? What happened to your face? It’s your family here. The only way yer gonna get rid of whatever it is, is to share it.”

Heylor started laughing. “That’s so clever, Mom.” He kept laughing and didn’t stop until his nose started running because he was actually crying. Through blurry eyes, he looked over at Lynwen, sitting silently, watching. “I’m sure you want to leave now, Constable.”

“Nope.” Lynwen smiled.


Author Bio

Lee Hunt

Ever try to do things you were really not well suited to? Lee Hunt understands. He was born with only one working lung, but has gone on to be an Ironman triathlete, a sport rock climber, and a professional geophysicist. The poor lung function has been an excellent excuse for his unimpressive triathlon performance—he is among the worst of those able to complete the Ironman under his own power—and is of some service in eliciting a modicum of sympathy for his average at-best skills as a climber. Actually no one on a rock wall really cares about excuses. It’s a climb-or-fall kind of thing.

His marginal ability to breathe is of no use whatsoever in explaining his career as a geophysicist. He was good at that. Lee published close to fifty journal papers, articles or expanded abstracts, has been awarded numerous best paper awards, and was even sent on a national speaking tour to Canadian universities by the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists. He was born on a farm but grew up near the giant oil sand mines of Fort McMurray and is interested in discussing the environment and the amorality of science. He is also useful at parties in explaining the physics around why, or why not, fracture stimulation might be a risk to manmade structures and the fuzzy cuddly things of nature. Lee’s career helped him appreciate the difficulty in predicting outcomes, the dangers of arrogance—such as thinking you can predict even the smallest thing—and the exigent need to try anyway. He was comfortable and happy being a geophysicist, so after twenty-eight years, he quit to go do the things he was less well suited to.

If you want to hang out with Lee, look for him hiking, cycling, floundering in a lake, clinging desperately to a wall, or at his desk trying to write an entertaining story.

Author Website: https://www.leehunt.org/

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100052376555360

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/DynamicistAuthor

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lee-Hunt/e/B082YFTMCK?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

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Skin Curse (The Gate Cycle #2) by Kristin Jacques Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman searching for her brother in a city of monsters must navigate her growing power and the inner workings of the city of Avergard’s politics in order to save her family and friends in author Kristin Jacques’s “Skin Curse”, the second book in The Gate Cycle series. 

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The Synopsis 

The Children of the Gate wait for the call to Rise.

Azzy Brimvine knows her brother is in the vast city of Avergard. She must find him, but time is not on their side.

In the House of Seven Smiles, Azzy struggles to understand the constraints and limits of her power. She finds the whispering voices that guided her for so long, suddenly silent. The enigmatic Lord Wallach is both a frustrating ally and a dangerous mystery, and a strange entity lurks among the household servants. The haven Azzy sought may not be as safe as she thought…but is anywhere truly safe in the Above? 

The city of Avergard is full of monsters and secrets, and a dark history festers at its root. A yawning pit nestles in the house of a scheming lord, who will use Armin’s dangerous gifts to raise history, and raze the city to the ground. As Azzy finds herself and her brother pulled into these machinations, she must navigate the politics and society of Avergard’s brutal ruling class to save her family and friends before the Gate consumes them all.

©2020 Machovi Productions Inc (P)2021 Machovi Productions Inc

The Review

This was a gripping and engaging story, blending everything from fantasy and horror to sci-fi and dystopian themes. While I am new to this series, I found the author did a great job of implementing enough of the first book’s story into this novel to make it feel both fresh and well-understood. 

The pacing and haunting atmosphere played a big role in establishing this fantasy world. The blend of chilling imagery that really brought Avergard to life in the reader’s mind and the narrator (Amie Lyn Hornick) really did a great job of voicing this story, establishing the mix of wonder and terror the protagonist endures throughout the novel while capturing the raw emotions and action that Azzy must overcome to save those closest to her. 

The Verdict

A brilliant, entertaining, and mesmerizing fusion of gothic horror and sci-fi dystopian elements, author Kristen Jacques’s “Skin Curse” is the perfect fantasy read for both new and established fans alike of this series. As a fan of history, I loved the backstory the author established of using one of history’s greatest villains, the Third Reich, and showed their involvement in opening the fabled Gate that let the magic and monsters into this dystopian world, as I know it is well established that one of Hitler’s mad machinations was to harness the power of the occult into his hatred and war machines. Add to this a great story with both haunting and engaging characters and a heart-pounding narrative that readers won’t be able to get enough of, this is a brilliant audiobook that can’t be missed. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Author: Kristin Jacques

Narrator: Amie Lyn Hornick

Length: 9 hours 13 minutes

Series: The Gate Cycle, Book 2

Publisher: The Parliament House

Released: Apr. 21, 2021

Genre: YA Fantasy

Continue reading

Never Never by Liz Butcher

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A seasoned detective haunted by her past finds herself drawn into the search for a missing teenage girl, and soon discovers the case has haunting connections to her in author Liz Butcher’s “Never Never”. 

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The Synopsis

More than 20 years after her abduction at the hands of the elusive Pan, Wendy Darling is all grown up and a successful detective. But when a local girl vanishes in the middle of the night, her past comes rushing back.

Grieving the death of her mother, Detective Darling wants nothing more than to throw herself back into work. When the Lord Mayor’s daughter, Rosalie, vanishes, she insists on taking the case, triggering memories of her own past abduction. For years, Wendy struggled with her nonsensical memories of her captor, who she only knows as Pan. Yet the more she uncovers about Rosalie’s disappearance, the more Wendy is convinced her worst nightmare has come true—Pan’s back. Her fears are confirmed when the girl suddenly reappears and Wendy realises she’s walked straight into Pan’s trap…

The Review

One of the best reads of 2021 so far! Liz Butcher has worked her magic once more, bringing a chilling retelling of the classic Peter Pan mythos and putting a series of twists and turns into the narrative to keep the reader invested heavily. The novel does an excellent job of pacing the story, slowly building a relationship between Wendy the protagonist, and the audience as the history of the Darling Family is revealed. 

The character development was some of the best work to emerge thus far this year. Wendy is a force to be reckoned with, fighting her past trauma while trying to find this young girl before it’s too late. Yet the revelation of the girl’s abductor and their ties to Wendy’s own case decades earlier make for some interesting developments. The author has managed to craft a new legacy for Pan himself, marking a dark and villainous turn that will shock and amaze readers. His connection to an ancient mythological being will add an entirely new depth to this rich story, making this something fans of fantasy and horror will not be able to put down.

The Verdict

A mesmerizing, haunting, and highly entertaining read, author Liz Butcher’s horror retelling of the fantasy classic in her novel “Never Never” makes this a must-read novel and a contender for novel of the year of 2021. A book that readers will flock to over and over again, a twist ending that leaves readers hanging off the author’s every word makes this reader eager to see if the author will tackle the narrative again in a sequel. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Liz Butcher resides in Australia, with her husband, daughter, and their two cats. She’s a self-confessed nerd with a BA in psychology and an insatiable fascination for learning. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, Liz enjoys road trips, astronomy, music and knitting.

https://www.lizbutcher.com.au/