'Writing for me is not about speeling, grammar or punctuation – that’s why we have editors.... No, writing for me is the ability to capture a story and put it in words.' - Fantasy Muse

Monday 28 October 2013

The Forest Bull

Next up on Fantasy Muse is The Forest Bull by Terry Maggert.

Front Cover


Three lovers who stalk and kill the immortals that drift through South Florida (tourists are a moveable feast, after all) are living a simple life of leisure- until one of them is nearly killed by woman who is a new kind of lethal. When Ring Hardigan isn't making sandwiches for, and with, his two partners, Waleska and Risa (they're cool like that), he's got a busy schedule doing the dirty work of sending immortals to the ever after. Wally and Risa provide linguistics, logistics, and finding the right place for him and his knife-- together, they're a well-oiled machine, and they've settled into a rhythm that bodes ill for the Undying. Warlocks, vampires, succubae and the odd ghoul have all fallen to their teamwork. Life is tough, but they soldier on killing the undead, liberating their worldly goods for charity, and generally achieving very little. 

-Until Ring wakes up after nearly dying at the hands of a woman who may or may not be the daughter of Satan. Ring's a tough character, for a boat bum (killing immortals sort of rubs off on you that way), but twelve days of comatose healing are enough to bring out the ugly side of his temper. When a letter arrives asking for their help finding a large collection of stolen heirloom jewelry, they form an uneasy friendship with the last Baron of a family hiding in a primal European forest. Cazimir, the Baron, has two skills: Jeweler and preserver of the last herd of forest bulls. It's an odd occupation, but then, Ring, Risa and Wally aren't your everyday career folks, and Cazimir's lodge might be sitting on something that looks a lot like hell, which, according to a 2400 year old succubus hooker named Delphine, is currently on the market to the strongest immortal. The Baron's impassioned plea to find the jewelry comes with some conditions-- he doesn't want the collection back as much as he does the thief, Elizabeth, who happens to be his daughter-- and the woman who nearly sent Ring to his grave. In a tapestry of lies, it's up to Ring, Wally and Risa to find out what is evil, who is human, and who really wants to reign over hell.

My Opinion

The Forest Bull is a contemporary/urban fantasy, and is based on three hunters - Ring, Wally and Risa - who prey on the supernatural or Immortals as they are labelled in the story.
As opening chapters go, I’m scratching my head trying to recall a more interesting one. It got straight to the point and set the scene of what the book was all about - killing monsters.

The book involves succubi, vampires and ghouls, but not in the conventional sense. Nowadays, supernatural beings are portrayed as almost human, with feelings and emotion, but Maggert erodes all that and paints a stark contrast. There is no grey here. They’re evil and need to be put down. It’s as simple as that. And so it was refreshing to read a paranormal book like that.

The blurb describes a relationship between Ring and his two lovers Risa and Wally. One of the main reasons why I was eager to read the book was to see how Terry Maggert portrayed such an incongruous union (I don't know if it's every mans dream or worst nightmare). I’m glad to say it wasn’t tasteless and their relationship was mature.

The pace of the book flowed nicely, moving from one scene to the other without lingering like a bad smell. The chapters were short and crisp, which resulted in the story progressing nicely. There were also some clever twists in the storyline that I enjoyed reading. 

I was really impressed by Maggert writing. He has an almost elegant way of painting words together and some passages of text felt like I was reading poetry, however, sometimes a sentence here or there were just a bit too flowery for me and made it feel a bit disjointed whilst reading it. Also, at the risk of sounding like an idiot, I felt that some words were just a bit too frilly, and more simpler words would have done. I admit that I hit that auto dictionary quite a few times on my kindle.

This is a self published book and does suffer from the occasional typo, like a missing comma, full stop in between sentences, etc. But all-in-all those errors were scarce and most of the book was edited well.

Ok, some of the other bad:

The first part of the book focused too much on description. Every character or setting was, at times, painstakingly described. I understand that the author was trying to set the foundation for the book, but I think he over stepped that fine line into disinterest. I didn’t really need to know about the extensive history of a restaurant.

Another discord I had was that there wasn't enough dialogue. I would have liked, in particular, to have seen more interaction between Ring, Wally and Risa. I wanted to understand their relationship and get a feel of their personality and I only got that halfway in.


This isn't a casual read that you can just pick up and read, and it demanded my concentration more so than most other books I've read recently. Which is a good thing. I think.

Despite my gripes, I did enjoy reading the book and the storyline was compelling. I’d definitely recommend the book to fans of TV shows Supernatural and Haven. 

Out of 10 Stars: 

7 Stars

Buy it here:

Monday 14 October 2013

Poor Man's Flight

Front Cover


"This test completes your compulsory education. Congratulations! You have graduated high school. Your financial obligation is 67,879 credits. Please visit our loan officer as you exit." 
Tanner Malone never bought into military myths of honor and glory. He never wanted to wear a uniform or medals. Yet when family upheaval brings his otherwise stellar performance in school to a disastrous end, Tanner's plans for university lie in ruins. Facing homelessness and a mountain of debt, Tanner enlists in his home planet's tiny navy.  
It’s a hell of a time to sign up. Vicious pirates stalk the space lanes, claiming to fight an oppressive economic system even as they shed innocent blood. Civil war looms beyond the borders of Tanner’s home star system of Archangel. Corporate security fleets are nowhere to be found when trouble arises.  
In response, Archangel begins ambitious military expansion. Basic training becomes six months of daily bareknuckle brawls, demanding cross-training and constant stress. Brutal as it is, Tanner will need the preparation. The pirates grow more audacious with every attack. As if that’s not enough, Tanner is assigned to a small ship whose disgruntled crew has no patience for cerebral new recruits, and they’re on the front lines of all of Archangel’s woes.  
Tanner soon learns there is only one way to deal with his bullying comrades, their ruthless foes and the unforgiving void of space, and that’s to get up close and personal.

My Opinion

This is a military sci-fi book called 'Poor Man’s Flight' written by Elliot Kay

The story follows Tanner, a young academic who had done poorly in his exams. Now instead of following the footsteps of his classmates -who enter university-  he decides to enlist in the navy.

A good portion of the book follows his training from raw recruit to soldier. Thus, as a result there isn’t much of a progressive storyline until the last third of the book, but I enjoyed the characterisation and world building. The main hero Tanner is likeable if a little naive. The villains were a little less defined than I would have liked, and apart from Tanner, the other characters felt a bit threadbare. 

The book was slow going, but when it reached about the 70% stage it shifted quite dramatically in terms of pace and plot. I don't want to give too much away, but Tanner was initially, a naive, slightly gullible, innocent young man, suddenly changed into a combination of Rambo and Terminator. That’s the only way I could describe it as he single-handedly took out all of his enemies. It was unbelievable seeing such a transformation, and I've read reviews from Amazon that have criticised the dramatic change, but personally I found it enjoyable to read. I have to applaud Elliot Kay in writing a tense, action packed ending that had me so absorbed. 


Before I reached the last third of the book, I was of the mind that this was an ok novel, but not one that I would ever revisit again. But then I hit 70%. As much as I enjoy sensible, realistic story-lines, I can’t help but love to read some John McClane action scenes, where the baddies are taken out one-by-one. The ending really did change my perspective on the book, and while I’m not brimming with impatience awaiting the sequel, I will be keeping an eye out for it.

And so, if you’re looking for a somewhat sensible, consistent story then look elsewhere, but if you’re looking for a military sci-fi novel with great action scenes that border on the slightly ridiculous, then give this book a go. 

Out of 10 Stars:

6 Stars

Buy it here:

Tuesday 1 October 2013


I realise that I haven't posted anything these last few weeks as I've been pretty busy, but I want to write a short review about a book that I stumbled upon a while ago that I've been meaning to write about but keep forgeting. The first book is called 'The Awakening,' and just recently the second book in the series was released called The Veil: Corruption. The books are written by an indie author called Stuart Meczes.

The synopsis for the first book is as follows:
Alexander Eden is one unhappy teenager. A geeky, social pariah, he's the victim of constant bullying at school. His home life isn't much better with a stepfather who resents him and a half brother who is better than him at everything.
But that all changes the day the mysterious and beautiful Gabriella De Luca walks into his life. Everyone wants to know her, to be with her. But she is interested in Alex.
Because Alex is different.
Soon afterwards he is thrown into a world he never thought possible. A world where he and others like him are the last line of defence. A world where an ancient unspeakable evil lurks. 
Evil which seeks to consume him.
(Chosen we rise - Allied we prevail)

My Opinion

This is a urban fantasy book based in the 'real' world. The main character is Alex, a recluse who is seventeen and lives in London. As the story progresses, Alex looses that timidity and becomes someone special. To be more specific, he becomes a Guardian. Think of them as the Men in Black, an organisation that protects humans from dangerous supernatural beings. There is a love interest called Gabrielle, who is also a Guardian and helps guide him to this new life.

The book does start of slow and if you can get past the initial gloominess of Alex's life - as well as the frustration of seeing a character so pitiful - and wait until he awakens into a Guardian, then you're in for a good read. 

The book is told in first person from Alex's POV and the author has done a brilliant job in building his characters into defined people. I could easily close my eyes and picture each and every character. 

The story was also hugely enjoyable and the pace of the book was more akin to a Ferrari than a tractor. I was flying through the pages in eager anticipation to find out what happened next. By the time I knew it, I had already reached the ending. 

Stuart Meczes is a british author and it was nice to read an urban fantasy novel set somewhere else other than American. Not that I don't like America, but it was nice reading a change now and again. 
I also have to give huge appreciation towards the author in presenting an indie book that was so professionally done up. From the cover to formatting to editing, the whole book was as crisp and refined as any published book out there.


All in all this is a great book to read that rivals any other YA books out there such as the Hunger Games and Percy Jackson.

I'd definitely recommend this book to fans of those books.


Buy it here: