Blood Red (The Wonder #1) by James Devo

Summary

Visit The Gramarye, the butt end of the Grand Quillian Empire, and full of the world’s most valuable resource – The Wonder. The Wonder brings the Power of Magic into being, and the Empire wants the most it can get to strengthen its grip on its colonies.

But Professor Mycroft Rickenbacker, fabled archaeologist and lecturer, has stolen the Gargoyle Key, an ancient artefact that promises to unlock the secrets of long dead civilisations. Unfortunately, Rickenbacker must turn to a ragtag gaggle of washed-up mercenaries, a psychopathic Dragoon, an over-the-hill bare-knuckle boxer, a lascivious knight, a caretaker, Butler and barmaid to explore subterranean cities, evade evil Imperial agents and protect The Gramarye’s legacy of Wonder.

Forgotten races, dark warriors aflame and terrifying steam-driven monstrosities rise again, as an Empire is brought to its knees, forced to rely on saviours it would rather forget.

Characters

First off the characters in this book are very unique. It was the first thing that gripped me was the cast of characters. However, there are a lot of them. From primary, to secondary, to supporting characters, they are all unique but they are so many of them. They felt very complicated and very real. The author did an amazing job creating them and their stories, evening going into depth in some places. There are too many to delve into but they are a good cast of characters.

The only drawn back was you weren’t always 100% sure which person you were with, because it was eBook sometimes I’d miss a transition and be wondering what the heck happened – tripped me up a few times. I’d recommend the author add a break in between point of view shifts for ease of reading. There were also a few times that I wondered how someone knew something because we weren’t in their point of view. This became less of a problem as the chapters went on and as the reader it became less jarring to transition because it became the natural flow.

Plot

Interesting premise, the action scenes are very easy to follow. I could picture the sequence of events more than once which spoke to strong writing. This book is not stand alone, there are more questions left at the end then there are answers. That doesn’t distract from the story itself it just felt a little left off, like the author wasn’t sure where to end and the book was long enough so why not there.

It had a very strong steampunk vibe and it was easy to see that the characters were true to form in the world. It is not a friendly world and is this book is for sure for adults. There are some gruesome and bizarrely vulgar scenes that actually fit with the story, so they are what they are.

Overall

Fun steampunk romp packed with adventure. Varied characters that are easy to distinguish and both like and hate depending. Something I loved about this book was there was almost no foreshadowing. The author revealed what was necessary as it became necessary. Some of them were twists; some of them were simply interesting facts. It takes a bit to get going and get to the point of the whole book, but there is constant action and adventure to keep one’s attention. Not to mention the very creative world the story takes place in – which seems to be an alternative reality or alternative timeline for Earth.

Rating

4 stars

This is a fun book that I liked much more at the end of the book than at the beginning. Great characters, decent plot, and good writing makes for an enjoyable read. Fast paced read with a unique world and a steampunk feel.

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