INDENTURED MAGIC is a work that was recommended to me by Michael Evan and I have to give the writer for Fantasy Book Critic props for doing so. This is definitely some dark and gritty storytelling. I very much enjoyed the book but had to stop a couple of times during my re-read because it got too dark. That's something I rarely do and something that should indicate how harsh it can be.
TOREADOR is the first novel of the VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE Clan Novel saga that began in 1999 and finished right before the ending of the Old World of Darkness tabletop roleplaying game. If that sounds like gobbledygook to you then you're probably not the intended audience of Goth nerds who ate these books up toward the turn of the millennium. Even so, I remember a lot of people picking up these books who'd never played a game with dice or character sheets in their life. It was a big influence on my STRAIGHT OUTTA FANGTON books as well as works like TRUE BLOOD and UNDERWORLD.
The Valducan series by Seth Skorkowsky began last year with the very strong entry, Damoren. Damoren followed the adventures of Matt Hollis, mystical gunslinger and demon hunter as he joined the Valducan organization in attempting to rid the world of evil supernatural beings. During that adventure, he thwarted an attempt to wipe out all of the "holy weapons" which the organization used to destroy demons and faced down the mother of all monsters, Tiamat. It was an excellent globe-trotting adventure and darker than most urban fantasy fair with a good deal of horror. I liked it and was eager to see what would happen in the second book.
Have you ever wanted to reach into the reality of book or movie and shake the villain? Ever since Scott Evil pointed out he had a gun in his room and it would take just a few seconds to get it so they could kill Austin Powers, we have been in dire need of a villain consultant. This book seems to have been inspired by the Evil Overlord's List and that's fairly high praise by itself. We've all wanted a smarter more savvy villain in our fantasy and that's what the protagonist of this book provides as a service.
DREADNOUGHT is the first novel of the Nemesis series. The premise is Danny Tozer, young transgender girl, is there when Dreadnought the world's greatest superhero is killed. Danny inherits the power of Dreadnought but also becomes her idealized self (effectively Supergirl). This is problematic since Danny is still hiding her trans identity from her transphobic parents as well as schoolmates. She is, after all, only fifteen. But there's more to her life than dealing with them. There's an entire army of evil she needs to defeat as the other superheroes have nothing on Dreadnought--and the world needs a Dreadnought.
STRANGE DAYS is the reboot of the TOME OF BILL series that remains one of my favorite literary guilty pleasures. The second series, called BILL OF THE DEAD, is the start of a new storyline that reverses a lot of the final changes in the finale as well as sets up an entirely new chronicle of what I hope to be an equally lengthy series of books. It's an entertaining book, one of the author's best, and fans of the series should definitely pick it up.
NEVER DIE is a stand-alone novel by popular grimdark novelist Rob J. Hayes (The Ties That Bind, Best Laid Plans, Drones). I've always been a fan of Rob J. Hayes and will recommend all of his books to those who want an awesome dark fantasy story. I think he stands up there with Ben Galley and Mark Lawrence for stories that are just plan good. Never Die isn't quite up there with the Best Laid Plans series but is certainly as entertaining as Drones. I also applaud the book for having a non-Western setting with this having a Chinese/Japanese fantasy kingdom as its premise.
A big fan of the Valducan books by Seth Skorkowsky, I was interested in other books by him and the release of a new fantasy series intrigued me. MOUNTAIN OF DAGGERS is the first collection of short stories by him about the Black Raven. Who is the Black Raven? The Black Raven is the alias of Ahren, a thief and assassin who haunts a Medieval Fantasy world. Well, Medieval bordering on Renaissance fantasy world.
PATRICIA LEE MACOMBER is a author I was interested in checking out the works of since I had her writing recommended to me by a friend. I decided to check out STAR QUEST: THE JOURNEY BEGINS in large part because of the cover due to the fact I'm a big fan of STAR TREK and the author clearly communicated they were going to go for that sort of feel. I wasn't disappointed and found this to be a delightful afternoon read.
KNIGHTS OF THE DEAD GOD is the sequel to JACK BLOODFIST: FIXER but its own separate series. This is interesting because they're two separate genres. Jack Bloodfist: Fixer is a urban fantasy while Knights of the Dead God is a more traditional fantasy. The two can be together because travel between worlds is a real thing in this setting and plays a major role in the story. Like if a story took place in both Narnia as well as New York. This is the Narnia section where Arthur Shield, an antagonist of the first book, must undergo a fascinating as well as gut-wrenching bit of soul searching after his god dies.