(A Reaper of Stone Book 2)
Author: Mark Gelineau & Joe King
Publisher: Gelineau & King (Feb. 2015)
I told you I had more to say about the astonishing An Echo of the Ascended Series by Mark Gelineau and Joe King, so here I am again this week reviewing the second novella in their A Reaper of Stone series. As you may recall I was completely broadsided by how much I enjoyed the first novella, A Reaper of Stone, so much so that I immediately went out and not only downloaded this story, but two more. In my first review (which you can revisit here) I gave the authors praise for creating a wonderful, rich, addicting world filled with strong, captivating characters. Not to rehash much of what I’ve already written, but the Ascended series is centered around 5 characters, each having their own set of novellas that are set in the larger fantasy realm of Aedaron. Gelineau and King have an ambitious plan to release a new novella in the overall Ascended arc every month.
While I received a free copy of A Reaper of Stone in exchange for a fair and honest review, this novella was purchased by yours truly. That’s how much I enjoyed the first story. Hoping that Broken Banners would continue the excellence of the first, I made my way to the nearest wifi hotspot while on vacation and set about getting the next installment.
Broken Banners leaves off where Reaper of Stone ended. We are thrown into the next adventure of Elinor, a Reaper who is assigned the task of coordinating the dismantling and handover of marches and keeps in a kingdom going through a lot of change. While on her current assignment she realizes that the transfer of the most current keep may not be on the up and up and proceeds to investigate. What she finds, like in the first novel, is a disturbing trend of cronyism and evil.
There is an undercurrent of the supernatural that permeates through this series. Unlike other fantasy series that focus a bit much on magical swords, wizards or dragons, The Ascended series is more character driven and expertly dishes out just enough of the backstory and magic to keep the reader wanting to read more.
Gelineau and King weave an intricate story with just the right number of characters so as not to be confusing. The tension is appropriate and is never lost in cumbersome dialogue. The pacing is quick, so much so that I kept looking at the “time left in book” feature on my Kindle to see how much longer I had to enjoy reading. (You can probably finish the story in about 1 – 1/2 hours or a nice trip to the beach)
I’ve quickly become a vocal and textual advocate for this series, telling all of my fantasy-genre-loving-geek friends to read the series. The novellas are $2.99 each and well worth the purchase. I plan on buying physical copies for a young nephew of mine who will very much enjoy them.
At the risk of my blog becoming “The Ascended Blog”, I’m going to hold off a few weeks on further reviews of Gelineau and King’s stories. I’m knee deep in the remaining available novellas and will try to bundle future reviews. Regardless, expect to hear more.
Another 5 stars out of 5, this time for Broken Banners.
Click here to start reading An Echo of the Ascended Series by Gelineau and King.