An intricate plot, dark magic, and dynamic ensemble of characters make for an un-put-downable dark urban fantasy…
The curse of carrying the bloodline of the ancient bloodfiends comes to haunt a young woman as she finds herself in the middle of the secret war between the two most influential bloodlines in Lander’s brilliant urban fantasy. Built on the characters, universe, and themes established in Lander’s earlier book All Bleeds Through: Ten Stories of Hemomancy and the World it Shaped, the novel takes the reader on the harrowing journey of the high school graduate and closet hemomancer Coral Savary, whose life changes one day after members of the Orchid Veil track her down and her hemomancy becomes known to the world. Disowned by her human parents and with the Rosarium hungry for her blood, Carol has no option but to accept the Orchid Veil’s help. But things are not as they seem as dark secrets come to surface and Carol is forced to fight for survival while confronting the darkness within her own heart. The notion of the dark world of hemomancy from Lander’s short story collection, is exceeded to gritty and even unsettling effect here in this novel as Lander expertly delivers darkness. Along with the atmospheric setting, Lander also handles his intriguing cast of characters with effortless exuberance. He makes Carol’s frustrations, insecurities, fears, and personal sorrows plausible, while presenting her as a fiery heroine who doesn’t shy away from confronting her own darkness. Carol’s changing relationship with Gavin injects personal interest, who is an absolute darling and a deeply memorable character. Readers will root for him throughout the narrative. Jase, Lena, and others will also stay in readers’ minds long after they finish the book. The antagonists of the book truly shine; Lord Malthus is menacing as ever despite his wilting body; The Black Viscountess as the head of devil-worshipping hyacinth is intimidating and commands readers’ admiration; and Lady Leblanc evokes feelings of hatred in readers’ hearts. Lander crafts a highly intriguing, engaging story and doesn’t shy away from presenting the bleakest aspects of humanity while exploring the depth of the darkness within hearts of hemomancers and other ancient bloodlines. Superior plotting, well-crafted characters, and assured writing make this a memorable work. This is a solid entry in Lander’s list of work that proves his high mettle as a veteran author and will immensely please fans of dark urban fantasy.
A Rose to the Torch
by Bartholomew Lander
Price $3.00 (USD)
Categories: Urban fantasy