...that’s not how it happened. That’s just what they said happened.
Here’s how it really went down:
In truth, Booth was betrayed by his former teacher. He was touched by the hand of a god, his memory erased, and is now hell-bent to kill the man responsible for his squadron’s annihilation. And he has some amazing talent at his side: Richard, a ghoul in a Hawaiian shirt, two women who hate him but are mysteriously attracted to him (make that three?), and a black-magical spellbook that everyone wants to get their hands on.
The mind that created this Neapolitan-blend of tropes is truly astonishing. Oh, wait, I’m speaking of C.T. Phipps, who I already know is capable of mind-boggling feats of literary contortionism. And all delivered with his signature sarcastic wit and tongue-in-cheek cynicism (is that enough hyphens for one paragraph?) Anyone who can mix Lovecraft, Mad Max, and Alien in a blender and make something palatable has surely won my respect. In this case, the outcome is addictive.
I truly enjoyed this novel and had a hard time putting it down. I found John Henry Booth a relatable main character who is easy to like and a terrific deconstruction of your typical Gary Stu protagonist. Speaking of deconstruction, that’s what this book’s all about and where it shines—deconstructing one trope after another. It does this remarkably well without never taking itself too seriously.
This book has been my first foray into Lovecraftian-inspired fiction. I enjoyed the milieu filled with Deep Ones, Elder Things, Cthulhu cultists, and E.B.E.s (Extra-Biological Entities). And the pace never lets up; it is pretty relentless from start to finish. The stakes are high and the ending—and our protagonist’s life—is never guaranteed.
I highly recommend this novel for anyone with even the slightest inclination toward dark science-fantasy.