Published by Brown Books Publishing Group on April 10th 2018
Six years ago, Grey Malteer was attacked by creatures he thought couldn’t possibly exist. They repeated a word, calling him a name he’d never heard before…Venator. Since then, his life has been a hellhole of secrecy—hiding old pain alongside strange new abilities.
Rune Jenkins has an itch, as she calls it, but it’s more than that. It's an anger that builds up like the inside of a boiler whenever she’s around anything remotely supernatural. The pressure is growing steadily worse and she can’t understand why. All she knows is—her control is slipping.
By order of an unknown council Grey and Rune are pulled through a portal in the St. Louis arch, landing them in an alternate dimension where creatures of myth and legend exist. A realm that calls them, Venators.
Made up of centuries old fae, vampires, werewolves, elves and succubi the council’s corrupt nature becomes obvious as they seek to wield the newly returned Venators as weapons. Wedged in an impossible position, Grey and Rune must decide their fate—do they go against the council’s wishes and help the innocents of this unforgiving land, or face the possibility of execution by the council.
Thank you to Dave from The Write Reads for hosting this ultimate blog tour of Magic Unleashed by Devri Walls and providing me with a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
When Dave asked if I wanted to be part of the tour, I said yes pretty quickly, but I forgot what the book was about when I started reading it. I don’t mind going in blind, maybe I even prefer it. I won’t have any expectations that could ruin the experience for me. Sometimes it works out, other times it doesn’t. This time it did.
I was pleasantly surprised by the story. Portal fantasy is probably one of my favourite subgenres of fantasy in general, and this is a good one. While the first chapters of the main characters, Grey and Rune (I honestly don’t like the names), arriving in the new world and pretty filled with exposition, the pace never slows down. This is good and bad. You can’t take a breather and with the speed at which information is thrown at you, you need it. The concepts of the paranormal creatures are familiar, Walls doesn’t deviate from the familiar tropes, but all of them thrown into a highly dynamic world together, it’s a bit much. Insert an evil sorceress with a pet dragon, goblin minions, and a kidnapped brother, and stakes run high.
There’s so much going on in only a few hundred pages. Note that most of the action takes place in a few days and the characters go on a nightly quest right after spending a full day running away from a murderous mob. Not really convincing, in my opinion. I get why they can’t wait with the quest, but then tell me why they aren’t tired. Is that also part of their Venator powers? I already told my husband what I think the ending will be like and I’m curious to see if I’m right.
One thing that confused me was the point of view switching halfway through the chapters and a handful of chapters with a minor point of view. These PoVs are only seen a few times throughout the book, and while they’re nice, it’s confusing. Like they’re only thrown in there to fix plotholes, but the characters aren’t worthy of any progress in this book. Maybe it’ll change in the next books. I hope so. For now, it’s only causing me to scratch my head and wonder what they’re doing there.
I give Magic Unleashed 3,5 stars. I honestly wanted to give four stars, but the more I thought about it (and wrote the review) I found more flaws. They’re not obvious and I can see people reading over it (it really is a page turner), but I do have to be honest with myself. It’s not as good as other four star books I’ve read lately.
If you liked Magic Unleashed you’ll probably like the Grimoire Saga series by S.M. Boyce as well. Check out my review for the first book, Lichgates, here.