ARC Review | Faith and Moonlight: Part 2 by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

29906968Faith and Moonlight: Part 2 by Mark Gelineau and Joe King
Release date: May 15th, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

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Roan wants to escape a brutal past. Kay, a dark future.

They are Razors now, with the power to break the very laws of the universe. The power to become everything they ever wanted.

Or exactly what they fear.

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Mark Gelineau and Joe King have done it again! Why am I even surprised, really?! Faith and Moonlight is not my favourite from the series, but the second part has definitely changed my mind. It’s not as overtly dark or gritty as say Rend the Dark or Best Left in the Shadows, but it offers a glimpse into human behaviour and how the need to belong can destroy you from within.

In the first novella I didn’t identify with Kay at all. I thought that she was slightly annoying and very needy. However, in this story we see a completely different side of her. I felt really bad and honestly just wanted to give her a hug. While the story deals with magic and warriors battling it out, it parallels many situation and feelings that teenagers today go through such as bullying, dishonesty, peer pressure and the struggle to fit in. Kay made a devastating choice at the end of Part 1 and now has to deal with the consequences all on her own.

Roan has changed so much! He’s now running with “The Royals” or the popular group. They will do anything to stay at the top, but Roan quickly becomes concerned about their tactics. Should he stand up and speak out or should he remain silent? It’s these types of situations that make this story so relatable.

Gelineau and King are truly masterful writers. The way they can switch between genres and tell a fulfilling story in less than 100 pages continues to astound me. And the ending? I can’t wait for the next edition!

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ARC Review | Civil Blood by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

cover85793-mediumCivil Blood by Mark Gelineau and Joe King
Release date: April 15th, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

Goodreads | Amazon

One city. Two worlds.

The King of Aedaron reigns in splendor, while far below, in the streets and alleys of the underworld, a different kind of king emerges.

Alys and Dax have always been caught in the middle. Once they fought for love, and their worlds tore them apart. But now as they are forced back together, they must choose whether to fight once again.

But for what? And against whom?

In the world of Lowside, nothing is as it seems.

Even each other.

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Oh wow! I’m totally flailing and speechless. This. Book. It’s no secret that I am totally addicted to the Echoes of the Ascended series by Mark Gelineau and Joe King! I simply cannot get enough of their novellas. Why? Because they are just so good. Every novella is different, but they each fit together, kind of like a piece of a puzzle. As you read things fall into place and the bigger picture is revealed.

Civil Blood is set in the dangerous slums of Resa, known as Lowside. It is part gritty crime story and part tragic romance. In its predecessor Alys, a street-wise thief and assassin, is reunited with her former lover Dax Ellis, a Magistrate Inspector, to find out who murdered a noble born woman. In this story, their relationship and the factors that tore them apart is further examined. Alys has been accused of committing a crime that she didn’t commit and teams up with Dax to help clear her name.

While the first story focused on introducing Lowside and societal issues, this novella is all about the characters. Alys and Dax used to be romantically involved and they were torn apart because of where they were from, but it was actually much more than that. Delving into their pasts offers a better understanding of each character. You learn why Alys is so loyal to Pious Black, the criminal kingpin of Lowside, and it’s all quite tragic. I don’t know what will happen between her and Dax but it mostly likely won’t be good.

So, again I am blown away by how the authors can transmit so much in less than 100 pages. The world and characters are so vivid! Not a single word is wasted and the writing, which is fast paced and witty, keeps you completely engaged from start to finish. If you haven’t read the Echoes of the Ascended series I seriously suggest that you start!

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ARC Review | Skinshaper by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00071]Skinshaper by Mark Gelineau and Joe King
Release date: March 15th, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

Barricades broken.

A mining town empty.

One survivor swings in a cage, waiting to die.

Ferran’s tattoos burn as horrors near. They should run. They should seek help. But to save a few, they must journey deeper into the heart of the nightmare to face an ancient foe.

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Seriously, how do Mark Gelineau and Joe King do it? I have LOVED everything I have read in the Echoes of the Ascended series. Skinshaper, the creepy followup to Rend the Dark, continues the tale of Ferran, Mireia and Riffolk as they travel across the kingdom of Aedaron to seek and destroy the Ruins (ancient monsters with the ability to possess humans). In this story, the three stumble upon an abandoned mining town that has been infested with darkness.

What has consistently amazed me about these novellas was how much detail and character development can be found within 80 to 100 pages. Skinshaper is no different and offers much more insight into the three main characters. Riffolk has been greatly affected by the loss of his friend in the first novella and is consumed by self-doubt. He doesn’t think he is strong enough to fight the monsters like Ferran and Mireia. I really like Riffolk because like the reader, he hasn’t been taught to not feel fear. The way he’s written allows you to truly understand the terror the monsters cause. And in this story, the monsters are so much more evil and gruesome. The descriptions of modified human bodies, bloody limbs, claws and teeth freaked me out! The close relationship between Ferran and Mireia was further explored and opened the possibility for an exciting third part to this series.

There is still so much to learn about these characters and it makes waiting another four months for the next instalment super difficult. All the novellas in the Echoes of the Ascended series have been extremely well written. I highly recommend Skinshaper, and its predecessor Rend the Dark, to those who enjoy fantasy and horror.

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Review | Faith and Moonlight by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

27856632Faith and Moonlight by Mark Gelineau and Joe King
Release date: December 15th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley

Roan and Kay are orphans.

A fire destroys their old life, but they have one chance to enter the School of Faith.

They are given one month to pass the entry trials, but as Roan excels and Kay fails, their devotion to each other is put to the test.

They swore they would face everything together, but when the stakes are losing the life they’ve always dreamed of, what will they do to stay together?

What won’t they do?

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What can I say? I have loved every book so far in the Echoes of the Ascended series by Mark Gelineau and Joe King. I cannot stop gushing about how fantastic each story is. Faith and Moonlight is less than 100 pages but the authors have done a wonderful job at continuing to build the world of Aedaron and provide the reader with further information about people or places mentioned in the other stories.

This book tells the story of Roan and Kay, two orphans who have been given an opportunity to join the Razor school of Faith in the capital. In the previous books, Razors (magical warriors) were always portrayed as being evil, but here the reader gets another perceptive. Razors receive their power from a connection to the ancient warriors of Aedaron and must make this connection or “pierce the veil” to be trained at the school. The two protagonists must do this in one month or lose out at the chance to change their lives.

As with their other short stories, Faith and Moonlight explores complex human relationships and emotions: loyalty, rejection, jealously, etc. I really felt for both of the characters, which is quite a feat as the author’s have only a limited amount of pages to connect the reader to the characters. I can totally identify with Kay’s wanting to succeed and belong somewhere without hurting those around you.

If you haven’t already, please pick up one of the books from the Echoes of the Ascended series. I thoroughly enjoyed Faith and Moonlight and look forward to reading more about Roan and Kay.

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Review | Rend the Dark by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

27212100Rend the Dark by Mark Gelineau and Joe King
Release date: October 15th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley

The great Ruins are gone. The titans. The behemoths. All banished to the Dark and nearly forgotten. But the cunning ones, the patient ones remain. They hide not in the cracks of the earth or in the shadows of the world. But inside us. Wearing our skin. Waiting. Watching.

Once haunted by visions of the world beyond, Ferran now wields that power to hunt the very monsters that he once feared. He is not alone. Others bear the same terrible burden. But Hunter or hunted, it makes no difference. Eventually, everything returns to the Dark.

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This is the fourth short story that I have read from the Echoes of the Ascended series by Mark Gelineau and Joe King. The more I read of the series, the more I love it! Slowly but surely all the connections between the characters are becoming clear and the world of Aedaron is developing into a very complete and complex realm. The novella is a much darker affair than the others and mixes the fantasy and horror genres really well.

The novella follows Ferran and Mireia who are witch hunters from the Order of Talan. This means that they have the ability to see the monsters in the dark that hide amongst the human population. Ferran and Mireia are sent to a small village where they team up with Warden Aker and two magistrates, Hil and Riffolk, to solve the mysterious disappears of people in the area.

I was automatically hooked from the beginning. As with the other short stories in the series, it featured a prologue that introduced Ferran as a young child in an orphanage who was haunted by the fact that he could see the monsters. I immediately wanted to know more! Later, he’s a highly trained warrior who has embraced the fact that he can see the hidden evil in the world. You don’t learn much about him but I think that works in favour of the story because him being so mysterious makes you want to read more. While Ferran is quite closed off, his partner Mireia (again another strong female character) brings a very emotional and human element to the story. Her interactions with Hil, who represented the “ordinary” person, really added depth to the story.

Again, another wonderful addition to the Echoes of the Ascended series. I am very looking forward to reading the sequel, Skinshaper, which will be released in March.

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Review | Best Left in the Shadows by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

27411212Best Left in the Shadows by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Release date: November 15th, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley

A Highside girl. Beaten. Murdered. Her body found on a Lowside dock. A magistrate comes looking for answers. For justice.

Alys trades and sells secrets among the gangs and factions of Lowside. She is a daughter of the underworld. Bold. Cunning. Free. When an old lover asks for help, she agrees. For a price.

Together, they travel into the dark heart of the underworld in search of a killer.

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As you may have noticed, I really like the Echoes of the Ascended series Mark Gelineau and Joe King! The more of the novellas I read, the more complete the world of Aedaron is. While A Reaper of Stone focused on the marches, this novella examines class, poverty and the criminal underworld of the capital city, Resa. It reads like a gritty Victorian murder mystery with enough twists and turns to keep you excited to the very end, which is why I cannot wait for the second part.

I am really enjoying the strong and intelligent female leads crafted Gelineau and King. This novella follows Alys, a street wise thief and assassin who has been employed by Dax Ellis, a Magistrate Inspector, to find out who murdered a noble born woman. Alys and Dax have a history and throughout the story you get bits and pieces of what tore them apart and I really liked how they interacted with each other. The secondary characters were also quite interesting and well written. The authors do not waste words and their description of each character allowed me to fully visual each scene and further connected with the protagonists.

I highly recommend this novella and the series. I cannot wait for another adventure with Alys and to find out how exactly, or if at all, these stories are related.

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ARC Review | Broken Banners by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

cover81751-mediumBroken Banners by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Release date: February 15th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

Slaughtered and left for crows, soldiers of the King’s Army lay dead in a field. A grim reminder: the king’s law ends at the gates of the capital.

Elinor fought for what she believed and now she is an outcast. No soldier will follow her. No officer will stand with her. Yet when she finds her brothers and sisters slaughtered, she cannot turn her back on them.

Long ago, they swore an oath. Not to the king, but to each other.

And woe to those who break that bond.

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Broken Banners is the second novella in a series by Mark Gelineau and Joe King. I really liked the first book, A Reaper of Stone, which I reviewed earlier and Broken Banners did not disappoint. The story takes place a few months after the events in A Reaper of Stone. Elinor and Conbert are sent to Height’s Ward Keep to transfer engineers and supplies to the Ninety-Fifth Pioneers, but something has gone wrong.

This time around the story is told in third person narration by the three main characters: Aldis, Elinor and Con. Aldis is an excellent addition to the series. He’s an old academy friend of Elinor, but now not at all like what she remembered. The theme of the novella is loyalty, pain and sacrifice. Elinor again is willing to give up her life to live up to the ideals of the “old ways” and is constantly fighting against those who go against the law (even people she believed to be friends) to stop the corruption and murder consuming the outer reaches of the kingdom.

Again, I think Gelineau and King did an excellent job in developing characters and further building the world of Aedaron. The novella ended on a mysterious note and I believe that with a third part the characters and plot will come full circle. I highly recommend Broken Banners and the rest of the novellas in the Echoes of the Ascended series.

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