Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Hungry Ghosts: By Stephen Blackmoore



Necromancer Eric Carter's problems keep getting bigger. Bad enough he's the unwilling husband to the patron saint of death, Santa Muerte, but now her ex, the Aztec King of the dead, Mictlantecuhtli, has come back -- and it turns out that Carter and he are swapping places. As Mictlantecuhtli breaks loose of his prison of jade, Carter is slowly turning to stone.

To make matters worse, both gods are trying to get Carter to assassinate the other. But only one of them can be telling him the truth and he can't trust either one. Carter's solution? Kill them both.

If he wants to get out of this situation with his soul intact, he'll have to go to Mictlan, the Aztec land of the dead, and take down a couple of death gods while facing down the worst trials the place has to offer him: his own sins.


I’ll be honest I didn’t start reading Stephen Blackmoore’s Eric Carter series when it first came out. I had heard positive praise from authors I like about it, but didn’t actually manage to pick up a copy of Dead things, the first book in the Eric Carter series, until about a year ago.

Let me tell you, I’m glad that I did.

Blackmoore has created a fascinating and engaging series filled with action, mayhem and a fun take on urban fantasy. If you are looking for a comparison of known urban fantasy authors to compare this series to Eric Carter is somewhat like a mix between Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series and Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. It’s darker than the Dresden Files, but not quite as macabre filled as Sandman Slim, therefore this series may not be for everyone but if you can handle a bit more ghoulish killing in your action (well done, of course) then this could be the series for you.

As for Hungry Ghosts itself, I highly recommend reading the first two books in the series, Dead Things and Broken Souls before reading Hungry Ghosts, but once you do you’ll be very happy with the experience. The entire premise of the Hungry Ghosts is based on the previous two books in the series (hence it being a series), so please do not read these books out of order.

So, if you like urban fantasy and you’re ok with your magic a bit on the darker side of things then here comes the real question, why should you waste your precious free time reading this book. Well, first and foremost, Blackmoore is truly impressive in his action scene writing and he does not scrimp on them. Carter is always in some sort of gun fight, ghost fight, god fight, or just plain getting his butt whooped on (a bit like Harry Dresden if you will). Of course, one thing different from Dresden is the style of magic, since Carter is a necromancer, there’s a lot of death related to his magic, not only that but it really does seem that the magically enhanced folks seem to have a bit of a society that isn’t on the good side of Santa’s present list. Therefore, magic seems to be a lot more pain related, scars, blood, tattoos, things of that nature. If I didn’t lose you there then I have a strong feeling this will be the book for you.

On top of that, Eric is a strong likable protagonist (of course I personally like his old/dead best friend Alex best, his snark is certainly appreciated by me if not by Eric). Hungry Ghost deals a lot in Eric’s growth and acceptance in his part in the deaths in his family. Blackmoore does a good job showing the pain and depression that his parents and sister’s deaths have caused in him and how these events have shaped him into the character we see today. On top of that, these revelations lead to a bit of awareness that will help fill out Eric’s character more in further books.

Speaking of further books, while I would very much like to read more about Eric Carter and his world I’m genuinely curious about whether there will be more books in the series and if so where the story will go from here. Blackmoore has tied off a number of the storylines that have been driving Eric over the last three books, however, he does keep enough mystery alive that if there were more books Blackmoore could expand on this mystery treating the new books as a new chapter in Eric’s saga.

All in all, I very much recommend this to anyone who enjoys Mike Carey, Richard Kadrey and Jim Butcher, and I do hope there are more books in the Eric Carter series. It was an action packed, entertaining quick read.


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