Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Smoke & Summons by Charlie Holmberg

I had stacked up a rather large Netgalley pile again, so despite having pre-ordered this novel, I felt it was only right to plow through my ARCs first.  The only problem was some of them were harder reading than I anticipated, and I was put off from reading this for quite awhile.  I missed the release day I had so hoped to help promote.  Que sera, sera.

I pre-ordered this because 1) it was written by Charlie Holmberg and 2) it is about humans being vessels to spirits.  (I feel this could be turned into a really awesome anime.)  Sandis lives in an incredibly sheltered life as the favorite vessel to a criminally insane master.  Rone is a 25 year old parkour ninja.  How could I not pre-order?

Sandis's character development as an 18 year old runaway is fantastic.  You can feel her naivety from having been sheltered most of her adolescence, but her street smarts from her childhood lie under the surface.  As she flexes her atrophied skills, the story takes a little bit of a slow start.  Plus, everything is being told from two different perspectives until Sandis and Rone meet up in an epic bar fight.

The slow start was a little surprising, but I just knew if I made it to the meat of the story I'd never put it down.  Once Sandis and Rone meet, the novel just absolutely takes off.  The final 3/4 of the novel are absolutely cram packed with action and drama.

The fight scenes are incredibly vivid, and it wasn't hard to have an imaginary battle going on while I read.  There is excellent character development and plenty of scenes for story growth in between all the action.  My heart was wrenching through multiple parts of the story as I became incredibly invested in reading.

And can we just mention that ending?  I mean, honestly, I knew it was coming and yet I still felt slapped in the face.  I think I had honestly stopped breathing in those last paragraphs.  Best ending I have read in years.

There is a strong dynamic of faith and religion that Holmberg brings to the table that makes her novels some of my all time favorites.  I have also found that because of these moral ponderings I am able to reread all her novels despite knowing the final outcome.  That is a top notch novel in my opinion--one you can read and keep getting something out of even when you know the ending.

I have yet to read a book by Charlie Holmberg that I have not enjoyed.  And I still have not been disappointed.  I am super excited that I received an ARC for Myths & Mortals, book two, which is publishing this April!  The even more exciting news is the final book in the trilogy will be releasing by the end of the year.  That is an entire Charlie Holmberg trilogy in one year.  I am beyond pumped.  I have some serious reading to go do now.

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