Synopsis: Eden Wing has been living in his brother’s shadow for years. Even though he’s a top student at his academy in Ross City, Antarctica, and a brilliant inventor, most people know him only as Daniel Wing’s little brother.
A decade ago, Daniel was known as Day, the boy from the streets who led a revolution that saved the Republic of America. But Day is no longer the same young man who was once a national hero. These days he’d rather hide out from the world and leave his past behind. All that matters to him now is keeping Eden safe―even if that also means giving up June, the great love of Daniel’s life.
As the two brothers struggle to accept who they’ve each become since their time in the Republic, a new danger creeps into the distance that’s grown between them. Eden soon finds himself drawn so far into Ross City’s dark side, even his legendary brother can’t save him. At least not on his own . .
Review: Rebel takes place 10 years after the last book in the Legend series. The previous novels concentrated on Day/Daniel and June. But this final installment focuses on Eden, Day/Daniel’s younger brother as well as Daniel. The narrative switches back and forth between the two. It’s a new, fresh story with enough complexity to make readers think. The system behind Ross City is fascinating, with a points system giving a better (or lesser) quality of life according to the good or bad that an individual does.
The characters are engaging. And the story is full of suspense, drama, and a bit of romance. I don’t really remember the details of the previous novels, as it’s been years since I’ve read them. But it’s easy to jump into this novel, as it works well as almost a standalone novel as well. This YA science fiction series ends with an exciting and endearing finale.
Synopsis: Only six weeks after a handful of teenage sorcerers defeated a team of anti-magic mercenaries called the Euclideans, Trish, Owen, and Perry are called back into action when they discover that the world’s cryptids (aka magical creatures) are disappearing. They’re partnered with brusque team leader Jacinda Greyeyes and their former nemesis Bryan Ferretti in a mission to travel all over North America, collecting famous cryptids like the jackalope, the chupacabra, and the altamaha-ha.
But when another team of teenage sorcerers suddenly vanishes, the spell casters set out for Germany, Egypt, and the Seychelles to uncover why the Euclideans have been abducting and experimenting on magical creatures like the unicorn and the sphinx. The secrets they uncover threaten to divide them, and reveal a truth that will permanently upend the way the world sees sorcery.
Review: Cryptozoology for Beginners is the direct sequel to Sorcery for Beginners. The novels are written as a story, but with fun facts that make it feel like a guide as well. The young teens are novices in magic when they learn it’s up to them to help protect Earth’s mythological creatures. There are a lot of diverse creatures highlighted that make this book a lot of fun. Trish, Owen, and Perry gain a couple more teammates as they are tasked with collecting cryptids. But it seems like the Euclideans are always right behind them. The characters have grown, despite the annoying and bullying Bryan. I was a bit confused on why there’s so much focus on the kids coupling up in what seems like a Middle Grade fantasy series. The book isn’t written with a young adult feel, despite YA romance (both straight and gay), so I was put off a bit. But the story is fast-paced and full of adventure and suspense. There are a couple of big surprises along the way that add to the dramatic aspect. And a climactic finale leads to an ending that doesn’t disappoint.
Epic Vs. Urban—Writing Both Sides of Fantasy By Gail Z. Martin
Swords or shotguns? Grenade launchers or catapults?
How about both? (Though not, usually, in the same story.)
I write epic fantasy and urban fantasy—along with alternate history and comedic horror—in time periods ranging from medieval to Victorian to modern. Sometimes people ask if it’s difficult, jumping around time. For me, it’s all part of the fun.
This year, we had a bumper crop of books coming out on both sides of the genre. Vengeance is the second book in my Darkhurst series about three undertaker brothers who become outlaw monster hunters and discover there is a much bigger conspiracy than they ever expected. The Dark Road is the second in the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, tracing the story of the brigand lord through his time as a mercenary, fight slave and smuggler. Assassin’s Honor is the first in the new Assassins of Landria series, as King’s Shadows Joel Breckenridge and Garrett Kennard go rogue to save the kingdom from a shadowy itinerant holy man who has ensnared the aristocracy with treasonous whispers.
Plot and characters aside, the books are all very different. Vengeance is ‘big fat fantasy’, with multiple point of view characters, several braided story arcs, a big cast of characters, and a truly epic scale. The Dark Road is a serialized novel from Jonmarc’s point of view, told in an interconnected collection of short stories and novellas. Assassin’s Honor is buddy flick epic fantasy, under 300 pages, and rocks the ‘Butch and Sundance as medieval assassins’ vibe with humor, action and intrigue. I really like switching up how the story is put together, even though all three are technically epic fantasy due to their scope and the medieval setting.
The same is true for the urban fantasy side of the writing. Tangled Web is the third novel in the Deadly Curiosities series, set in Charleston, SC. When a malicious weaver-witch awakens the spirit of an ancient Norse warlock and calls to the Wild Hunt, Cassidy, Teag, and Sorren—and all their supernatural allies—will need magic, cunning, and the help of a Viking demi-goddess to survive the battle and keep Charleston—and the whole East Coast—from becoming the prey of the Master of the Hunt. Close Encounters, the fourth novella in the Spells, Salt and Steel series (co-written with Larry N. Martin), takes a snarky-scary approach to monster hunting in the wilds of Northwestern Pennsylvania with mechanic Mark Wojcik. And the upcoming Sons of Darkness (launching in November) has ex-priest Travis Dominick teaming up with former FBI-agent Brent Lawson to tackle demonic threats in and around Pittsburgh.
Once again, the series are all different not just in their locations, but in the novels’ structure. Tangled Web is told from Cassidy’s first person point of view and often straddles the line between urban fantasy and horror. Close Encounters is also first person, and decidedly snark-filled, in between supernatural chills. Sons of Darkness is told from both Travis’s and Brent’s viewpoints, and also blurs the line between horror and urban fantasy. The tone of the writing and the character voices, as well as the setting, distinguish the series from one another.