When the Alyon military wrongly sentences Jason for committing an impossible crime, he and two allies must escape before they’re killed. As Jason, Josh and Jacqui explore the world outside the military, they discover powerful abilities their commanders kept secret from them. They also find other allies with secrets of their own. Together the team vows to stop Shadow Leader, the sinister man who seems to be at the center of everyone’s problems. The only problem is finding a way to overcome him.
I loved that this story is written in present tense. I’ve only read a couple of stories written that way before, but I really like that it keeps the action feeling really urgent and immediate. The characters were interesting. Vend’s backstory really captivated me, and I liked the old man who helps the team along the way. None of the characters were as complete as Jason himself though, and I found a couple of the girls to be a bit uneven. Sometimes they were really together and smart and other times they sort of flaked out. It’s not that someone couldn’t be both, I just felt like a little more integration of those two roles would have made them more believable.
From reading the author’s note in the back of the book, it seems like this idea might possibly have started as a video game concept? Or maybe the author had wanted to write a video game at some point? Not sure. But the story definitely has the feel of a FPS video game with strong military themes and magic. Some elements of the story world were really cool. The haunted house was super creepy.
I think this book would appeal most to gamers who like Diablo or Call of Duty style games or books with a more plot-oriented, military-focused telling.
A couple references to Hell. A commander refers to “damning evidence.”
Brief reference to a girl having been enslaved by a man. She doesn’t specify what he’s made her do.
Scarletta has an ability to summon a powerful spirit being who protects her and her allies. It’s mentioned that others have similar abilities or can learn to summon spirits. Some characters command Shadow element, which is like a physical darkness. Other elements can be controlled/used too, like fire, wind, light, etc.
Several battle scenes. Brief references to torture or characters having been enslaved. The detail isn’t overly graphic, but there are enough scenes that it’s perhaps a better fit for older readers.