A Few (more) Quick Questions With…Devri Walls

Ages ago (it seems), Devri Walls stopped by to talk about her stand-alone The Wizard’s Heir, and gave us a little taste of her upcoming series, Venators (including a cover that I don’t think I ever saw again). Since then, I’ve actually spoken to her at book store events and a comic convention (sat in on a couple of her panels, too). At the book launch for her most recent book, Venators: Promises Forged, (see my earlier post) she did a Q&A that got a couple of questions percolating in the back of my mind. Before I knew it, I had enough for one of these posts and Devri was able to find a time to answer them.

Before I get to the Q&A, a word about that book launch — Devri seems to have a good number of solid fans, it’s encouraging to see — from a wide age-range, too. She had more people in the front row of her reading than were in the audience of the last reading I’d been to at Rediscovered Books (and that author had one of the major publishing houses behind him) — and she had some Facebook live viewers, too. It’s good to see an indie author getting that kind of support.

As is usual when I get a second shot with someone, we got a little more into details of the particular book/series in question—but I don’t think you have to be a Venators-reader to appreciate these answers. Check them out and then go grab her books.

You’ve talked about how everyone’s favorite character is Beltran (I demur), given his appeal/popularity—how hard is it to keep him from taking over the series? How are you going about that?
This book is different in that there really are a lot of main players. This is going to allow Beltran to have a large role, and you’re going to see him really stepping into that in book three. But yes, he cannot take over. I think the key when working with strong supporting characters is that although they can have a heavy-handed part in the story, at the end of the day, they can’t be the hero. They can assist the hero, they can motivate the hero, they can set up a hero, but they can’t actually “pull the trigger”, so to speak. Given who Beltran is this will be tricky, but it has to be done in order for the climax to feel satisfactory to the readers.
Let’s talk about names for a minute: there’s a lot of creativity and strangeness in names (up to Rune from Earth), but then you give us Tate. An oddly Earthy name. Is that just to mess with people? I’ve always wondered, but never asked anyone—how do you come up with character names? Is the process different per series/world/book?
This made me laugh! No, I was not trying to just mess with you. Although I will admit to giving the giant race ridiculously human names because it amused me. However I promise to keep it consistent. With Tate on the other hand, he is part Venator, which means he’s part human. It made sense to me that given the backstory of this world and its connection to earth that there would be human names floating around both in the human villages as well as the Venators.

When it comes to choosing names there is there rare occasion that I will just completely make a name up, but for the most part I lean heavily on baby name websites. People are ever disappointed when I give this answer because they think that we authors pull all of these things out of our heads. The thing I looove about the baby name websites is that I can sort the results. For example, I can choose to look at old Scottish names specifically or only Norse names. This allows me to keep a consistent feel through an entire story, or in a book like Venators, a consistent feel within different species.

Normally before I even start a book I will visit baby name websites. Trying to choose names is both a time suck and a momentum killer for me. If I have a list of names both male and female that I have decided I like ready to go, then I have a very short list to reference when I add a new character.

Talk to me a little more about Arwin the wizard. First, how am I not supposed to think about Liv Tyler/the Lady of Rivendell? Secondly, the brilliant character who probably knows more about what’s going on than anyone, but plays the doddering, clumsy fool is a mainstay. How hard is it to pull that character off convincingly? And why have you gone that route with him—is it just because that’s more interesting than the super-powerful, all wise type?
I think anytime you’re working with a genre like fantasy there’s always going to be things that remind you of other stories. It’s, dare I say, almost unavoidable. But instead of fighting this, I did lean into the tropes on purpose. I wanted to play on the idea that all the stories and legends we tell today originated in Eon. In order to do that some of the threads needed to feel very familiar, while others I purposely twisted. Just like in the game telephone the end result will have some aspects of truth and some other things that have drifted far from the truth. That’s the basis that I was working from when deciding lore and chapter traits to keep or leave.

As far as Arwin’s character is concerned, I did choose to portray him as doddering very specifically. I needed to balance the story. When you look at the council you have a werewolf, vampire, incubus, succubus, elf, fae and wizard. From that list, three characters are very intense and serious. One of the characters is cruel and although she think she has a sense of humor, it’s dark and malevolent. Two of the characters have the ability to break tension in a scene but the sexual themes that run through that tension break is only sustainable for so long. And although all of these characters are much, much deeper than their facades, it’s the facades that they must present at the council house in order to keep themselves and their own people safe. Which means that by default every council scene will become unavoidably stifling. I needed someone to diffuse the situation and add a lightness to the writing. Thus, Arwin’s portrayal was born. Now, we are too early in the edits so I can’t guarantee that this scene will stay, but in book three we get a delightful taste of Arwin dropping that part of himself and showing the reader exactly what he is capable in a Council meeting by breaking up a argument between Dimitri and Silen. I think both you and the readers will be very happy with the result.

Now that you’ve told me about it, the scene has to stay. At the very least it needs to be included as a cut scene in an appendix. Or there will be rioting in the streets! (assuming I can figure out how to instigate one)

Can you tell me about the timeline for this series? A lot has happened in less than 2 weeks in Eon (assuming my memory/math is right), your poor characters have barely been able to catch their breath—are you planning on some kind of time jump? Is it going to keep going at this pace?

I’m a big believer in whatever timeline is natural and working for the story is the timeline that I’m going to use. Most of my work has always been a continual line without a lot of time jumping. For the first few books in the series I expect that will continue with small time jumps added to account for travel days. When we get past book five, I suspect we may need a time jump and some summarization of their day to day life when their world is not completely falling apart. But yes, overall I take it as it comes and I like a very logical and linear progression.
At the book launch, you talked a lot about what you’ve got worked out for the future in terms of plot and character—but I want to look at the world. How much of Eon have you mapped out (mentally or literally), do you know this world’s geography or is it more of a case of “I need an area like X, I’ll put it overrrrrr…here!”
Oh geography, I hate geography. Maps really do hurt my head. By happy accident I made a new writer friend who looooves making maps. So much so that she actually sat down with me and offered to map out the first general idea of Eon. It was very basic. However, as I’ve been writing book three and thinking through the plot points for the next couple of books, I realized that in order to set things up properly the geography absolutely had to be handled. Almost all of the council members areas have now been mapped out with the exception of Tashara and Shax for reasons I will explain in another book. But yes, there is actually a solid map on my wall now and despite the process causing me an aneurysm, I do really like the end result. Having something solid to refer to has been great. I definitely see the advantage to mapping things out at the start of the story and will probably move more toward doing that earlier in future projects.
I’m glad you were able to find some time in your hectic schedule for these answers and hope Promises Forged is a big success (and that you survive the editing process for #3!)

Venators: Promises Forged by Devri Walls: Out of the Frying Pan and into the . . . Clutches of a Life Siphoning Fae?

Venators: Promises ForgedVenators: Promises Forged

by Devri Walls
Series: Venators, #2

Paperback, 428 pg.
Brown Books Publishing Group, 2019

Read: May 3 – 7, 2019

I’m about a month late with this one — every time I sat down to write it, I decided I wanted to chew on things a bit more (and then I arranged to do a Q&A with the author in conjunction with the post and so I bought myself some time to let things stew while she found time to get the answers done). Now that I have her answers in my inbox, I have no excuse to put this off. So, despite some of my thoughts still being half-baked, here we go…

And yes, that was one very convoluted series of food metaphors. That really doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in this post, does it?

So the ending of the previous book (Venators: Magic Unleashed) focused on a dragon being unleashed by the series’ (apparent) Big Bad, the sorceress Zio. Not surprisingly, the series central characters survived the encounter. This book starts with a quick recap of that survival from the point of view of Zio — which is a great way to get the reader back into the moment and build on their understanding of what happened and Zio.

We quickly return to our Earthlings, Grey and Rune and the aftermath of their unauthorized excursion to rescue humans from a werewolf pack, which culminated in the aforementioned dragon attack. Rune’s proving to be a quick study of Council politics and was able to turn things to their advantage and buy them some leniency from the Council. The ways the two humans respond to and interact with Council members is pretty interesting and I suspect will be one of the more interesting developments from this point forward in the series. I suspect the Venator abilities that make these two the warriors they are in this world are in play with Rune’s politicking — no one mentions mental acuity when talking about Venator abilities, but maybe they should. Watching Rune play the games (both successfully and less-so) that the various Council members throw her way is probably my favorite part of the character.

And she has to do a lot of politicking and game playing here, because her co-Venator and friend Grey has found himself in quite the pickle. After their ordeal with the werewolves, the two Earthlings’ need for training was even more apparent. They get just a little of it (a good, promising start) before getting momentarily side-tracked. Before they get a chance to build on that, Grey is lured into the one place the two have been told they absolutely cannot go. Because forbidding people from going somewhere always works out (how many Hogwarts students stayed out of the forest? How long did Belle stay out of the West Wing? Even the Federation had to know that forbidding landing on Talos IV wouldn’t work for long).

Grey has found himself in the clutches of a powerful Fae, Feena. Feena will spend days/weeks/years sucking the life out of her prisoners to feed her own magics. Given that Grey is more powerful than your typical Eonian, you know she’ll drag it out as long as possible. It’s a torturous experience for Grey, but he does what he can to resist and fight back. On the one hand, watching him stupidly and blindly put himself in this situation was maddening. But after that, watching Grey endure what he has to and struggle in response is pretty cool. As much as I appreciate Rune’s playing politics, I enjoy watching Grey in action.

So the book boils down to this — can Rune get permission to run a rescue mission — or at the very least, find a window in which she can pull off another unauthorized mission? Can Grey survive long enough for the cavalry to arrive? Assuming they do, how can Grey be rescued and the Venators get back to their training without causing a diplomatic incident that will shake up everything?

The actions of the Venators’ guides, teachers, allies confuse me. They’ve got these two kids in a world they clearly don’t understand, with abilities they don’t understand and then expect them to react appropriately in new situations. Even worse, all of them are keeping things from Grey and Rune — telling them half-truths, deflecting legitimate questions and delaying explanations. It’s maddening. It’s bad enough that the Council, who are clearly only using these two for their own ends do that, but the people who supposedly are looking to them to change the world? A little honesty, being a little forthcoming, helping them to avoid the minefields they keep running into rather than saying “oh, you shouldn’t have done that” — it would make it a lot easier for this reader to stomach them.

The Council? I need to see more of them. I have little patience for them as individuals or as an entity at the moment, but as individuals and as an entity there’s great potential for something interesting to happen. Feena’s a good villain — she’s not worth several books, but for one novel? She’s a good opponent. The Fae? It’s simple — any universe, any world, any author — when it comes to Fae politics, Fae dealings with other Fae, Fae dealings with non-Fae? It’s complicated, tricky and messy. It’s good to know you can count on something.

So much is happening in a very short period of time, it’s hard to know what kind of impact the events are having on anyone — it’s been less than two weeks since these two jumped into this world, leaving St. Louis behind. It’s hard for them — or a reader — to really take it all in. We do know that already both Venators are changing because of their abilities (as well as the experiences in this new world) — both are self-aware enough to see how it’s happening (at least in part) and are both resisting and embracing the changes. Both are, naturally, deluded about how easy it will be to resist this kind of thing — denial’s not just a river on Earth.

I’m enjoying these books — I do hope that under the new publisher, they’re able to come out pretty regularly, it’ll help sustain my interest (and, I’m guessing, the reading public’s). I know that Walls has several more books planned, so it makes it okay that I’m still on the fence about the series as a whole — there’s a lot of potential to the series and these characters and she has time to help them reach their potential. There are aspects of the books (the prospective — and lingering — romantic entanglements, for example) that I’m withholding an opinion on until more happens. And I’m not sure if I should appreciate how little we’re getting with Zio and Rune’s brother, or if it should annoy me. Is Walls building suspense, or is she simply being obfuscatory? I’m hoping that after Book 3, I’ll be more settled with my expectations about these books — I know I’m enjoying them, I’m just not sure if I should wait on them getting better.

An interesting world, great characters (even if they frustrate me), good action — and a fast moving plot. This YA fantasy is a crowd pleaser, I’m sure of that — you should join the crowd.


3.5 Stars
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Venators: Magic Unleashed by Devri Walls: Welcome to Eon in this Promising YA Fantasy Introduction

Venators: Magic UnleashedVenators: Magic Unleashed

by Devri Walls
Series: Venators, #1

Paperback, 354 pg.
Brown Books Publishing Group, 2018
Read: April 17 – 18, 2019

Back in 2016, I read and blogged about Venators: Through the Arch, which was later picked up by a new publisher, given a re-write, a spiffy new cover, and was re-born as Venators: Magic Unleashed. I haven’t read that old post in a long time, and won’t until I finish with this one, I’m only linking out of habit. I hate to say it, but I remember very little about the original version of this book beyond a vague grasp of the plot outline, some vague notions of characters and an overall positive regard. Oh, and a strong interest in volume two. This revamped version is stronger, with some of the rough edges smoothed out, and strengths sharpened. Brown Books and Walls made good use of the relaunch. But let’s set aside the comparisons and focus on Magic Unleashed.

This is a portal fantasy about a world called Eon, populated by humans, elves, vampires, werewolves, elves, dragons, etc. There are connections between Earth and Eon, allowing travel between the two — although they’re not as strong as they once were. It turns out some humans from Earth have a certain invulnerability to the kinds of magic employed by the various races (like a werewolf or vampire bite, but not, say, an invulnerability to a werewolf tearing off their head). Thee humans also have other enhanced physical attributes allowing them to go toe-to-toe in combat with members of these races. Which has made these humans a powerful force for good, and a potentially tyrannical force as well. Eon’s known more of the latter lately, which has led to a lack of recruitment.

But now, society’s on the verge of collapse into chaos, warring tribes trying to wipe out other races in a fight for dominance, and the end of law. So some people have taken it upon themselves to reintroduce these humans, Venators, to Eon. Enter Tate, a warrior who is convinced that Venators are the key to Eon’s survival — he’s been to Earth before, and now returns to bring back some people he observed then. Six years ago, he encountered a young teen named Grey Malteer — who was forever changed by their brief encounter. Now in college, Grey is about as well-read in the lore of the supernatural and weird as is possible for someone to be while stuck on Earth and not being known as a crackpot (although he’s regarded as pretty eccentric, probably well on his way to crack-pot status).

An acquaintance of his from childhood, now attending the same college, Rune Jenkins is repulsed by the same things that Grey is focused on (while also drawn to them). Rune is totally unprepared to accept that the supernatural is anything but wild fiction until she’s attacked by goblins and rescued by a large blue man (the aforementioned Tate). Which really can only make her a believer — or drive her to some sort of psychotic break. Thankfully, she goes with the former. Tate brings Rune and Grey into Eon and sets before them the calling of Venator.

To oversimplify things: from here out, the two are introduced to this world, the beings that populate it, the political realities that govern it (and see them only as pawns), and they begin to embrace their new identities, while engaging in a brief battle or two. While Rune and Grey are introduced to all this, so is the reader — and it’s clearly the point of this book — to bring the reader and these two into Eon, give us all a taste of what’s to come and help us get to know the players. There is a clear plotline and definite story here — don’t get me wrong — but the major function is to provide a foundation for things to come.

The book would have to be a lot longer to serve as anything other than an introduction — the ruling council alone is made up of enough characters we’d need a few more chapters to really get to know them and their goals — although they can be summed up in lust for power and influence for themselves and their race to the possible detriment of every other council member/race. Then you throw in Tate; his allies (however temporary) the vampire Veridia and the shapeshifter Beltran; the two humans; and the council’s enemy, Zio — and really, you’ve got enough players that you really can only skim the surface with in 354 pages.

We get to know Grey and Rune enough to see they’re well-developed and three-dimensional, and many of the rest show signs of being that developed, but we don’t get to see that fully displayed — but we see enough to know that given the opportunity, the characters will be easily fleshed out. One thing I noted in particular while reading this is just how many seeds Walls planted in the characters and situations to come back to in future installments. This foundation is built in such a way that several books can be built on it — it’s really impressive to note.

Yes, this is written for the YA market, so there’s a bit more action than others might use. There’s a focus on certain kinds of emotional beats, and that sort of thing. But it’s more of an accent to the storytelling than other writers would’ve made it. For some reason, Mercedes Lackey’s Hunter series and Brandon Mull’s Beyonders Trilogy come to mind as I think about similar series — but the YA-ness of both of those comes through more strongly than it does with this book.

Book Two, Venators: Promises Forged releases today, and I’m hoping to start it in a day or two — I’m looking forward to seeing how Walls takes all these ideas, characters, and potential and develops them. This is a good starting point, and what comes next can’t help but be better when she can focus more on exploring the world she’s created and shown us rather than just establishing it here. This is a good book and I do encourage people to read it, but its foundational nature should be borne in mind.


3.5 Stars

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Venators: Through the Arch by Devri Walls

Venators: Through the ArchVenators: Through the Arch

by Devri Walls
Series: Venators, #1

Kindle Edition, 300 pg.
Superstorm Productions, 2016
Read: October 7 – 10, 2016

So this is a strange double-portal fantasy — six years ago Tate and some other creatures come into our world and run into Grey Malteer and some others, and disappear soon afterwards. Tate (and some others) comes back to check up on Grey and let him know about his destiny. In the meantime, Grey’s discovered he has some strange supernatural abilities — and has been teaching himself to use them in secret — he’s also been doing some research into the supernatural in the open, which is not such a great idea for a socially awkward teen — he might as well attach a “Kick Me” sign to his back himself.

About the same time, Rune’s twin, Ryker starts acting a little strange (and definitely takes advantage of the metaphorical “Kick Me” sign). Rune starts to feel differently about her brother and the supernatural, but there’s nothing she can put her finger on — so she bows to parental pressure and devotes herself to three things: academics, sports, and keeping Ryker from self-destruction. She excels at all three.

Six years later, the three are in college and Tate returns to bring Rune and Grey back to his world. A world where they are Venators (hunters) — keeping the vampires, werewolves, goblins, elves, fae, dragons, etc. in line. Eon is home to pretty much every mythological creature you can think of — and a few that Walls has invented on her own. The Venators are a line of human hunters supernaturally immune to the various abilities and magics of them all, whose duty it is to keep order in the land.

For various and sundry (largely undisclosed) reasons, most of the Venators are dead and gone — only these two remain. Tate and some of his allies, under the watchful (and not entirely corrupt) eye of the Council will train them to fulfill their destiny and restore the Venators to their rightful place.

Throw in a distrustful populace, a mysterious and powerful enemy, and a couple of super-powered impetuous and idealistic youths and you’ve got yourself a heckuva story.

Walls writes with a confidence and flair that helps the reader trust that she’ll be able to make sense of a fairly jumbled beginning (not bad, but could’ve been easier to navigate). Once we get into Eon, she balances plot, character work and worldbuilding to create a foundation for a promising series. I wondered a couple of times if the characters could’ve been developed a little more fully, but the work as a whole was strong enough that I was willing to roll with it and assume she’ll give us fuller characters next go around.

A quick-moving introduction to an interesting new reality. Give this one a shot — Walls will entertain you.


3.5 Stars

A Few Quick Questions With…Devri Walls

Devri Walls was kind enough to participate in a Q&A with me along with providing me a copy of her book The Wizard’s Heir (see my thoughts on it from earlier today). I asked her a little bit about the book, what’s next for her, and her writing in general. In addition to Heir, she’s got a YA series and another one on the way — I’d recommend checking at least one of those out.

What’s the one (or two) book/movie/show in the last 5 years that made you say, “I wish I’d written that.”?
The Hollow City concept was genius and so fun! I would’ve loved to have come up with that and been able to work a story around those incredible pictures. Also, The Mortal Instrument Series. To be the one to have come up with Shadow Hunters… oh man! So much fun would’ve been had!
In the writing of The Wizard’s Heir, what was the biggest surprise about the writing itself?  Either, “I can’t believe X is so easy!” or “If I had known Y was going to be so hard, I’d have skipped this and watched more TV”.
I’ve written enough books, and enough drafts of books, that I can usually predict where my trouble spots will be. While annoying in their consistency, it’s not usually a surprise. On the other hand, I’m almost always surprised by a character. I’ll add a new one, intending them to play a small, meaningless part, and then fall in love and alter the plot to include them as a larger player. It’s always the best thing that could’ve happen to the story, but still a surprise.

In The Wizard’s Heir it was, Asher. Everyone, including myself, really connected with him. He was a bit of a throw away character until I added the scene where he goes to the boat to pick up supplies, and that was it, I loved him immediately and gave him a much larger role to play. The Wizard’s Heir is a stand alone novel but I’ve been approached several times about writing a second book in that world, while I don’t have one officially in the plans, if I ever did it would be written with Asher as the main character.

Who are some of your major influences? (whether or not you think those influences can be seen in your work — you know they’re there)
I’ve been influenced by Cassandra Clare, Dean Koontz, Stephen King and Cinda Williams Chima to name a few. I also pick up a little good with any great book I read. There are always little nuggets that I try to make note of to improve the next book.
I’ve often heard that writers, or artists in general, will forget hundreds of positive reviews but always remember the negative — what’s the worst thing that someone’s said about one of your books, and has it altered your approach to future books?
The worst thing? Oh man, something about, “this story would’ve been good if an author with talent had written it.” Lol. Nice, right? Negative reviews did alter my writing in the best way possible. I realized fairly quickly that the things one person complained about, someone else loved, and vice versa. In addition, where some people hate my work… with more vehement than perhaps necessary, others love what I write with a passion far and above what it probably deserves. I could write the Pulitzer prize winning novel and someone would still write a review that it was the worst pile of drivel they’d every read. Once I realized that, those negative reviews became freeing, I do the absolute best I can at the time and that’s all I can do. I push myself, hard. And I rewrite until I throw my hands up and say, I really can’t do any more.
It looks like your next book is on the verge of release, what can you tell us about that — and what comes next?
Yes! My Venator series is getting close to the release of book one. I’m always hesitant to give a date until I have return commitments from the editors but I am hoping for late August, early September.

I’m really excited about this series. I’m still working on the official blurb but it’s the story of two teenagers who cross through the St. Louis arch to an alternate dimension where everything you’ve ever read about exists—Fae and Vampires, Werewolves and Dragons. Seriously, nothing is off limits and it is so much fun to work with. I think my readers who were missing the environment of The Solus Series will be especially pleased with this. The Venator series is slated for multiple books, so that’s where my brain is at right now, but I have a whole notebook full of story ideas that I will get to eventually.

Since I don’t have an official blurb in hand yet, can I give your readers a sneak peek of the cover?

Nice looking cover! Thanks for your time, and thanks for The Wizard’s Heir.

The Wizard’s Heir by Devri Walls

The Wizard's HeirThe Wizard’s Heir

by Devri Walls

Kindle Edition, 378 pg.
SuperStorm Productions, 2015

Read: July 4, 2016

Walls does so many things right in this stand-alone fantasy, it’s hard to know where to start.

Tybolt and Auriella are Deviants –which is not as bad as it sounds, it just means that they’re immune to magic. As such, they are part of the King’s force devoted to hunting down Wizards. Thanks to the most powerful Wizard in recent history, Eriroc is in the midst of devastating drought, wholly dependent on trade with other nations for basic food supplies — which are barely enough to keep people fed enough to survive.

There’s something different about Tybolt than the other Hunters (and, come to think of it, most people in the King’s favor) — he uses the money he makes to help out those less fortunate and spends a lot of time with them. Aurielle doesn’t treat everyone as cruelly as the other fortunate souls do, but she certainly pays no heed to anyone she doesn’t have to and doesn’t understand their plight. She’s not a bad person — just oblivious, at least when we meet her. Tybolt has a great sense of humor to go with his heart, he can enjoy the simple things in life — and would do anything to get Aurielle to think of him in any way other than co-worker. If you don’t like Tybolt from the get-go, watching his charitable efforts should win you over. Asher is another Hunter who has little to do with Tybolt initially, but eventually comes to play a pivotal role in the events of the book, but you’ll have to take my word for it — and as unimportant as he seems to be at the beginning, that’ll change. Just pay attention to him.

Walls’ worldbuilding is great — on the one hand, it’s standard Fantasy fare, enough that you instantly have a good idea about the world, the culture, the conditions and politics. But she tweaks it just enough to make it her own, and differentiate it from the rest. Sometimes I wondered why she constructed things the way she did — or why she revealed them in the way she did — but in the end, I saw (well, think I saw) the reasoning behind both and could appreciate her choices.

The plot is pretty conventional, and within a few chapters there are few readers who will not know pretty exactly how the rest of the story will go. But I didn’t mind — Walls hits every beat just right, every reveal is pulled off capably, the voice used is engaging and the fun and humanity of the situation shines through enough that the reader doesn’t demand novelty. Sincerity can be just as winning as innovation, and Walls pulls that off. There were a couple of character deaths you saw coming from miles away and I still was shocked by them when they happened, ditto for “aww” moments.

I, like the book, focused on the heroic hunters above. But there are plenty of other characters running around — the King is despicable, and there are a handful of Hunters that are probably worse (and seem to pull the rest along with them). But none of them are cartoons — there are several characters that aren’t all that heroic or evil — they’re just trying to survive (which can be heroic in a not-that-heroic way), and are well-executed. No matter where they fall on the moral scale, the characters work — developed enough to fulfill their role in the book (and maybe a little more).

This book isn’t going to blow anyone away — but it will entertain, it will keep you turning pages and will engage you in its world and the lives of its characters. It’s a good, fun read. There’s excitement, a dash of romance, some magic and a few good fight scenes — pretty much what you want from a fantasy. Oh, and there’s a good definitive end — no series commitment! It’ll satisfy you and probably make you want to read more of Walls’ material.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for this post.


3.5 Stars