Read 5/15/10 - 5/22/10
3 Stars - Recommended to readers familiar with author and genre
Thanks go out to the author, David H Burton, for bringing his self-published novel to my attention.
Due to a not-yet-fully-explained catastrophe, the Earth is knocked off it's axis, unleashing things that were better kept hidden. Ghouls, demons, dark angels, Firstborns, Lastborns, Obeks, Imps... all crawled to the surface to fight for control under an immoral God.
Some of the surviving humans turned to witchery and the occult; learned how to summon spells; create blood oaths; Soul Run; and command the dead. Some turned to the Church of Ascension and the Confederation - which bred a new age Witch Hunt.
Burton's eBook is a face paced, dark, apocalyptic tale that's bursting at the seams. Packed with loads of action, it promises to never bore you, and always keep you guessing. A very ambitious first novel that, while fully functioning as a stand alone story, teases the reader as only a book destined for sequels can.
I admit to being slightly confused throughout most of the story. Burton may have bit off more than he could chew when it comes to maintaining such a heavily charactered plot-line. I lost count only a few chapters in, and found myself forgetting, and at times even confusing, the different people and their alliances and backgrounds. This would be easily remedied, though, with the aid of a notebook - I recommend outlining the characters and their storylines if you do not think you can finish this book in one sitting.
He does a great job of pacing the subplots as characters that began at different points of the novels move towards one another, and those that began together move apart. Though, once they all converged in the much awaited finale, I found the pacing was thrown off and a bit scattered when I needed it structured the most.
Some of the characters suffer from extreme cases of what I call "internal thinking". It's where the author italicizes what a character is thinking, so you know it is being processed internally. While I don't have issues with the technique itself, Burton overuses it to the point where different characters get different symbols placed before and after their internal thinking as a way for us to differentiate who is doing the thinking. In the end, I found it to be more of a crutch or gimmick than a useful technique.
One thing that surprised me was the amount of sexual innuendoes and practices that the author was able to cram within the plots. At times, it fit the need of the moment, and at others just seemed so random and out of place that it distracted me from what was actually taking place. I do have to give Burton credit though, his characters exhibit a wide variety of sexual preferences, which (as distracting as I found it) was really quite refreshing.
Certainly not to be missed by fans of dark fantasy, witches, demons, and all things good vs. evil. Suspension of belief and reality are a must.