Monday, November 13, 2017

The Chronicles of the Afflicted

Yes, this review is going to be one of those "I devoured the book and let me tell you ALL about it" book reviews. Because I did devour the book. And I want to tell you all about it. I purchased this book yesterday and just finished it twenty minutes ago. Whenever I get a book that I truly like, I literally devour it. Afflicted: Book One of the RTX Chronicles by authors Michael B. Hinton and Sherry R. Melancon is one of those books in which you can't put it down and when you do, you'll want to pick it up again to pick up where you left off. The story is thus:

Welcome to America, land of the free and home of the brave. Now, take Revelations from the Bible and make it happen. Welcome to the Event - when the world as we know it ends and begins at the same time. However, with the Event comes a most interesting after effect - people suddenly obtain abilities such as telekinesis, shapeshifting in every format possible, the ability to shoot fire from your fingers, the ability to cloak and become invisible, and so on. Such people are known as Afflicted. These people are hunted down and killed, or hunted down and . . . studied by the government. Yet, all is not lost as those who are Afflicted soon find each other and create towns and cities as refuge from "normal" people.

This novel has three flawed "heroes": Reginald Sebastian Unglesby IV or "Ruddy", Ezekiel Daniels or "Xeke", and Teri. Although they are Afflicted with powers and abilities to wipe out entire cities, they are also human and that makes them even more dangerous to others. They also live with their own inner demons carried from childhood that seem to neither be a blessing nor a curse. Yet, as the trio escapes from White Supremacists, government officials who are Afflicted, normals who think of their kind to be in league with Satan, and the not so simple act of having crushes and falling in love, they find that the truth is NEVER the truth. Lies are more acceptable and quicker to forgive. Oh yes, and a pink blanket. You must have that.

This book is a big pot of adrenaline rush, X-Men without the cool costumes and the protective academy, lessons of trauma and mental illness, and the always enjoyable theme of post apocalyptic "dear god, what now?!" I will warn you that there are many "triggers" in this book - specifically regarding child abuse in its many ugly forms as well as mental illness. If you are not able to read stories that contain such subjects, then unfortunately you may not want to read this book. However, I will give Sherry and Michael credit that they handled those scenes rather well without going overboard. As I read this book last night while waiting on having dinner with My Kid, I messaged several of my bibliophile friends, telling them that they needed to read this book. Like now. In speaking with one of the authors (who is also my World of Warcraft buddy - Glory to the Sin'Dorei!), I learned that they are currently working on the second book. That's the only problem when you find an awesome book to read  - sometimes, you have to wait for the sequel. Yet, I know that the wait will be worth it. I do feel a little sad that I've left Teri, Xeke, and Ruddy, but hopefully I'll see them again soon.

Sherry and Michael - that cliffhanger ending - it was like watching the show Dallas! Well done!


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Vampires, Rednecks, and Morlocks?!

Let me just start this off with this - if you have NOT read the Black Knight Chronicles, here is the link to order the books as well as a bio of author John G. Hartness: CLICK HERE NOW.

Okay, done with that. If you did click on the link to order the books, you are in for a treat!

In the Still of the Knight is Book Five of the Chronicles - our beloved geek vampires Jimmy and Greg must deal with new vampires, a creature that drains humans of their life force, and pissed off rednecks as they discover that the city of Charlotte survives/manipulated on rules older than Time. The rules are never fair and lead to spilled blood and stepped on egos. Yet, with new threats and buried emotions dragged to the surface kicking and screaming, can our Undead Duo survive it? And if they do, will it change them for the better or worse? As much as I love this series, this book grabbed me by the neck and wouldn't let go. And I'm glad it didn't. This book made me laugh out loud, brush away tears, and get just as angry as the characters did when confronted by unwanted choices thrust upon them. The scene between Jimmy, a corpse, and God was intense. Book Five is very much John Hartness and yet much more - at the end of the book, I saw Jimmy in a new light. It seemed as though he "leveled up" and I remembered thinking "it's about damn time". 

I refrained from immediately diving into the sixth book, as I needed to allow my brain to settle down after Book Five's constant adrenaline rush. However, I know that time period won't be long, as Book Five left me on an "oh damn, NOW what?!" feeling.

Kudos to John for being an amazing Renaissance man and one hell of an author. Hope to see you soon, dude!