Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Broken Souls: By Stephen Blackmoore



Sister murdered, best friend dead, married to the patron saint of death, Santa Muerte. Necromancer Eric Carter's return to Los Angeles hasn't gone well, and it's about to get even worse.

His link to the Aztec death goddess is changing his powers, changing him, and he's not sure how far it will go. He's starting to question his own sanity, wonder if he's losing his mind. No mean feat for a guy who talks to the dead on a regular basis.

While searching for a way to break Santa Muerte's hold over him, Carter finds himself the target of a psychopath who can steal anyone's form, powers, and memories. Identity theft is one thing, but this guy does it by killing his victims and wearing their skins like a suit. He can be anyone. He can be anywhere.

Now Carter has to change the game -- go from hunted to hunter. All he has for help is a Skid Row bruja and a ghost who's either his dead friend Alex or the manifestation of Carter's own guilt-fueled psychotic break.

Everything is trying to kill him. Nothing is as it seems. If all his plans go perfectly, he might survive the week.

I’m actually embarrassed that I didn’t read Stephen Blackmoore until this point.

Not only does he write like an experienced Jim Butcher, introducing gritty yet likable characters and putting them into impossible situations, but he has also moved his story along at such an astonishing pace that each book in the series (there have been two thus far) read as if they are much later in an incredibly elaborate series.

I say that as a good thing, as I personally feel that some of the best urban fantasy I’ve read has come from the later part of series of excellent and experienced writers. Examples of this can be seen in Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series, Jim Butcher’s Dresdan Files, and Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. The reason for this is that there are enough characters and cross motivations to keep the reader guessing at what is going to happen, yet at the same time the author has established the character so less time has to be devoted to that and more time to larger story arcs that can lead to much bigger action scenes, more startling events, and all around better books.

Having said all that Broken Souls is not just a great sophomore book in a series, it is legitimately a great book. It has tons of action, it is dark without being disturbing, has more magic than you could waive a wand at, and has interesting characters with mixed motivations that will keep readers guessing until the very end. On top of that Broken Souls reads like a mash up of Richard Kadrey, Kevin Hearne, and Jim Butcher all in one excellent book.

All in all a must buy for any fan of urban fantasy. 


Publisher: DAW

Published: August, 5, 2014

Price: $7.99

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