Saturday, January 31, 2015

5 Star Review: Masters of Blood and Bone

Author| Craig Saunders
Edition| Kindle ARC (via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review)
Genre| Urban Fantasy/Horror
Rating| 5 Stars
Release Date| February 3rd, 2015

I received this book as an ARC courtesy of DarkFuse through Netgalley in exchange for a free review.  Thank you!

This book was, within the first five chapters, a five star book in my head.  Then, around the middle, I hit a spot where I thought it would only be 4.5 (not a bad rating, still).  At the end, though, there was no way this wasn't getting all five of its hard-earned stars.  Easily my favorite book of the year, especially my favorite book of the month: I loved it.

I was wary of it; I had seen it described as a fantasy version of Taken (the movie starring Liam Neeson), which I really, really don't like (ask me why, if you like).  This book is really nothing like that movie, though.

To break it down: Holland is a treasure-hunter/hit-man for hire and he works for the mysterious "Jane" more often than not.  His daughter, Ank, is also an enigma- she's something special.  Holland can see the dead and he appears to be training Ank for a similar task.  One night, while working for Jane, he discovers a book which tells the story of a wizard.  Things go down hill from there.

The back of the book hints at gods and mythology, but it never quite spells it out.  Mythology is, however, a major part of the story, and very, very impressively laid.  Not expecting it, I was very pleased with all the connections.  I'm a bit of a mythology buff myself, and I haven't had a treat like this in some time.  The characters are very three dimensional; so much so that I can't exactly pin them down.  I can try, but I think the less you know about this one, the better.

My only complaint, and it's a slight one, was the violence in the middle.  There's a scene where several police officers die rather violently and it didn't sit well with me.  Several members of my family are/were police and, while it wasn't enough for me to put the book down permanently, it did have me taking a step back.  It is a violent book, especially once you get to part four, but outside of this scene, I thought the violence was acceptable for the story.

From the very first words on the page this book reminded me of Neil Gaiman's writing (my favorite author).  As I continued through, I realized it's the perfect respite for anyone suffering American Gods hangover (since there still isn't another book in what Gaiman has always referred to as a series).  The mythology and plot are laid out perfectly, and the darker aspects work very well.  I must warn you that this is a book for the more mature reader; some of the scenes could also serve as triggers.  Regardless, I've already bought another of Saunders' books and can't wait to feast.

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