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Steve McHugh took on an epic task of pulling together every mythology that is popular today. Fae, Vampires and Werewolves? Check. Wizards? Check. Gargoyles and Nightmares? Check. Greek mythology? Check. All of this tied together with King Arthur and the Knights of the Rounds Table. Was he able to make it all work? Here is what I thought…
This story follows Nate, a powerful sorcerer, who lost his memory. At the same time you get part of his (immense) back story as Merlin’s assassin. Presently Nate is working as a thief for a vampire though his human assistant- Holly. After a seemingly random touch, he starts to regain his memory as his past rears its ugly head. Before he lost his memory he was trying to stop a group from experimenting on kids to create the perfect fighting machines (gargoyles and nightmares). Mordred, Nates archenemy- who is behind the experiments- finds out Nate is alive and tracks him down (thanks to Holly’s evil brother Lee) and holds Hollys family hostage in exchange for the research Nate took when he killed Dr. . Nate regains enough memory (with the help of a psychic teenage neighbor- Dani) to find the missing research. He then finds the Fates who help him regain all his memory (in a jumbled order), but gives him enough to fight and kill the Gargoyle Achilles. He ends up killing Mordred via assassination in the epilogue.
Plot Score: 3/5
Location, Location, Location
The most amazing thing about the world that Steve McHugh has created is how he tied together several mythologies. At times, it is hard to keep everything straight, but overall he takes standard mythologies to make a unique world. It was an interesting concept to pull everything together.
Location Score: 3/5
Characters and Relationships
Let me categorize by mythology:
Human- Holly, Nate’s human ‘assistant’. SHe loves Nate and I hope in future installments that relationship is explored (at the end of this book he tells her he can’t be with her.)
Vampire- Francis and Laurel- vampires that help Nate out.
Werewolves- Tommy, a werewolf from Nate’s past- he doesn’t play a big part of this story because Nate hasn’t reconnected with him in the present, but I expect him to show up in the next story.
Greek Mythology- The Fates are the characters that give Nate back his memory.
Arthurian Mythology- Nate is actually cool with King Arthur and is Merlin’s Assassin. These characters don’t really show up in this book, I would hope to see a future book with Nate in Avalon.
Sorcerer/Gargoyle/Nightmare- A gargoyle and nightmare is what happened when sorcerers use too much magic and let it overcome them (which is why I have grouped them together) Our main character- Nate, is a Sorcerer, who at the end struggles to make sure magic does not take him over. I thought he was a fantastic character, tough, but caring. When people wronged him (or innocents), he was ready to kill, torture and destroy. And he had pretty kick-butt powers of controlling air and fire (maybe its is also a little bit Avatar the Last airbender)
Characters Score: 3/5
Life Lessons (fka Bigger Meaning)
Bigger Meaning Score: 0/5
Opening Quote: “Rumors of how the French had murdered their own people reached me long before I’d arrived at Soissons.”
I liked the way the book switched between the present day (with Nate’s memory loss) and the past. The past and future integrated well, and gave us clues about Nate.
I have a terrible memory, so it’s hard for me to remember all the mythology surrounding the Greeks and the Arthurian phase. I liked the attempt, but I feel like it may be better to not have introduced everything in the first book.
Style Score: 3/5
-The middle/end of the book dragged a little for me (I employed those handy skim reading techniques), but I would definitely invest in the next book.
-Steve McHugh has great ideas, and as he develops in his craft of writing, I think he could be an author to watch. There was a lot to this character that can be developed.