Manic Sonata Movement I by Justin Bohardt

Summary

Gaius Julius Mahler is a thirty year old bipolar pianist who exists in three states: Mania- when he is possessed of enough energy to stay awake for five straight days, playing piano, getting high, and finding unprotected sex in any location he can get it; Depression- where he wallows in his old familiar friend pathos and allows himself to be weighed down by his parents’ suicides, the miseries of his own failings, and the iniquities done unto him; and the Middle- that purgatory known as Des Moines where he is capable enough of function, but is buried under enough phobias and anxieties to leave him socially crippled. His roommate is the ghost of Ludwig van Beethoven, and he is quite aware that it is a hallucination, but he finds Ludwig’s presence rather comforting even though the composer is often quite annoying.

Gaius is currently in the middle, waiting to see which direction the conductor will send him next: an accellerando to mania or a diminuendo to depression, when his few friends give him an odd impetus to head out and socialize. Certain that any societal contact will send him spiraling into a depression (and seeing nothing wrong with that- the middle can be awfully tiresome), he instead meets a girl named Lenore and goes on a manic trip through a night of zombie waiters, sentient hamburgers, stormtroopers in ambulances, shifts in planetary gravity, Papageno from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and the moon, which he stole from the night sky.

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Overall

I’d like to start by saying the story surprised me. Mostly because going into I wasn’t sure how all of the pieces were going to fit into the overall puzzle. After a bit of a rocky start, the story picks up pace and goes into overdrive. Gauis is a sort of sad character but he endears himself to you somehow. Especially after he meets Lenore. It is an odd but interesting story. Melding music with mental illness. Not to mention if breaks the fourth wall. It made me laugh out loud a few times. As the first installment of this dark comedy, it finishes with a bit of a non-ending, but I’d be interesting in reading the next one. An intellectual read with a trippy feel.

Rating

4 stars

A dark comedy that after a confusing start evens out and takes you on one wild ride!

Where did I get a copy?

From the author. This is a voluntary review.

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No Songs are Sung (A Mercenary of Palladia #1) by Justin Bohardt

Summary

What Profit is There in Saving the World?

A professional hired soldier who bears the scars and cynicism of his trade, Geraghty Milliner has love for few things in the world: a bottle to numb the pain, a lady to make him feel alive, and the gold that can buy both.

After his most recent business venture lands him in prison, Geragthy sees potential profit in helping a lord’s wayward mistress named Chiara escape from her cell. Once sprung from jail by his partner-in-crime Vrodath, they escort Chiara to the sprawling city of Aethene to collect a reward large enough to keep them in riches for a lifetime.

However, when beasts from a forgotten realm, demonic creations of overthrown gods, are sent pouring forth from a tear in the fabric of reality, the length of a lifetime threatens to grow perilously short, and Geraghty plans to do the only sensible thing available: get the hell out of there. Not immune to making some gold even amidst an apocalypse, he agrees to escort Chiara, her noble lover, and Princess Emilia, seventh in line to the throne of Palladia and a powerful wielder of magic, out of the city even as they are hounded by every beast freed from perdition.

What Geraghty does not know is that an ancient enemy of the free peoples of Geoserra, one thought defeated millennia ago, has reawakened, and it is Princess Emilia alone who can assure its destruction. Geraghty will need to make the choice between saving himself and saving the world, and the right choice seems obvious. What profit is there in saving the world?

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Characters

Geraghty is nothing if not consistent. He has a noble…kinda noble…somewhat noble streak. He is in a word—bad*ss. A mercenary who loves money, loose but fiery women, and strong alcohol. He is a mans…man? Lots of races in the book—most of which reminded me more of animals. With supporting characters like Vrodoath his equally interesting partner and Chiara a kept woman that is more then meets the eye. Rounding out the secondary support is Emilia, a very strong princess and mage. A great cast of characters—it is one of the biggest strengths of the book. The biggest issues I have, besides the ‘strong’ women being objectified, is the constant head hopping. There is no rhyme or reason, it just jumps around from person to person, even in the middle of chapters, which causes a lot of confusion at time. Thankfully most of the book follows Geraghty, but when it does switch points of view, it is often jarring and confusing, so be warned.

Plot

The world is ending. A big baddie thought long dead has returned. A hero…mercenary…on a quest to stop it. Nothing new about this kind of story, but the author weaves together an interesting tale that causes the characters to sling shot around. The real piece that sets it apart is Geraghty. Mini missions and mischief abound. This has an excellent, vivid kingdom based world with a medieval/feudal feel to it. Downside, you have to survive the first few chapters of info dumping, while the author buries you under an avalanche of information. Yes, it gets better but it continues. Also yes, it is worth getting through to enjoy the rest of the story. There were a lot of interesting themes throughout as well that feed into a bigger plot.

Overall

Lots of action—almost non-stop—this book is gritty. There is also some humor, most of which hit its mark. It doesn’t play safe so don’t get too attached to any characters…you’ll never know which one will just up and die unexpectedly. Halfway through was a real turning point for me in the novel because after then it started to flow and I got into a groove. The second half of the book was much more of a page turner, so trust me the rocky start is worth sticking around for.

I don’t want to give anything away but the reason this book went from a 3 star review to a 4 star review was purely because of the ending. Instead of everything just wrapping up, Geraghty had to deal with the fallout. Emotional, physical, of what he’d survived. It brought another dimension to the book and character, which sealed by desire to pick up book two and see where Geraghty’s next adventure took him.

Rating

4 stars

A cast of interesting characters, in a rich fantasy world, with almost non-stop action and an ending that left me wanting to read the next book. It is a mans-man book for sure, so keep that in mind. If you like DnD or fantasy video games, this will be worth a try.

Where did I get a copy?

I was gifted a copy. This is a voluntary review.