For the next five days the Shattered Realms collection is free on Amazon until 7th February. Take a look and pick it up if you fancy a short dose of spooky fiction to pass a lunch hour/boring journey home.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Vampire Crusader follows the adventures of young knight Sir Richard of Ashbury who battles the terrifying William de Ferrer throughout history.
The story is vivid and gripping, and you find yourself enthralled in the world the author has created. It is obvious a great deal of research has gone into the historical elements of the book and this only adds to its authenticity. Such characters as King Richard the Lionheart (who until know only existed as Sean Connery in my head!) are brought to life as living, breathing characters rather than names from history. This particular entry in the series follows the Crusades where Richard, through his pursuit for vengeance, finds himself following King Richard to battle in the Holy Land against Saladin and his armies. Whilst the focus is on Richard and his personal story, this is subtly blended in with the wider events as a whole which gives a wider context to the story and its events.
Whilst the novel is about vampires, it is done in a subtle way rather than having any kind of stereotypes (both modern and old) that scream “vampire story”. These creatures are strong, fast and savage, but from the perspective of our hero and those around them they are obviously different, but treated with an air of mystery that I look forward to exploring in future books in the series.
I should also draw attention to the depictions of combat within the novel. It is gritty, brutal but feels so authentic. Rarely have I read battle scenes where I could practically feel the cut of the blade through muscle or the breaking of bone and cartilage. It’s grim, but necessarily so and really adds to the realistic feel of the book.
Richard himself is an interesting character. You feel through his narration the years of hell he’s been through (over 800 years of them!) without him having to explicitly describe them. This is a hero who’s been through hell many times over, and there’s almost a world-weariness about him that layers his perspective. When some of the bad things happen to him (and I mean, bad!) you genuinely feel the rage he feels and I was racing through the pages purely to see if the wrong-doers would get their comeuppance.
As the story progresses more layers are peeled back in both on the vampire mythology itself and Richard’s history. There’s an excellent balance of both that promises good things for book 2.
Really enjoyed Vampire Crusader. Once I’d picked it up I raced through it. Recommend.
I am no way affiliated with Blake Crouch, Fox or anyone else related to the Wayward Pines Trilogy
I’m not one for reviews normally, there’s definitely a lot better people out there who are much able to sell the merits of a particular novel than I am. However this time I thought I’d make an exception.
I’ve just finished The Last Town, the final part of the Wayward Pines trilogy – a creepy, Twin Peaks-esque thriller/horror/all round good yarn about secret service agent Ethan Burke who is sent to the idyllic town of Wayward Pines, Idaho in an attempt to uncover what has happened to his ex-partner. Without giving anything away, here’s the blurb for book one (Pines):
Secret service agent Ethan Burke arrives in Wayward Pines, Idaho, with a clear mission: locate and recover two federal agents who went missing in the bucolic town one month earlier. But within minutes of his arrival, Ethan is involved in a violent accident. He comes to in a hospital, with no ID, no cell phone, and no briefcase. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into the disappearance of his colleagues turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he get any phone calls through to his wife and son in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what is the purpose of the electrified fences surrounding the town? Are they meant to keep the residents in? Or something else out? Each step closer to the truth takes Ethan further from the world he thought he knew, from the man he thought he was, until he must face a horrifying fact—he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive.
I won’t say much more about the plot than the above, as the story itself is fascinating, and whilst the final part is almost like an episode of 24 with it’s relentless pace and action, it serves as a fitting end to an engrossing series. Blake has taken up a familiar premise but added a (to me, anyway) unique slant that made me devour each instalment within hours.
And the last scene of the last book – Wow.
I’m aware there’s a TV series from FOX coming out shortly based on the books, but as with anything like this I would recommend you sample the source material first, just to ensure you experience it from the author’s original version.
Heartily recommended. 5 Stars.