Venators: Magic Unleashed – Devri Walls [WriteReads Ultimate Blog Tour]

venatorsBlurb

From Goodreads:

Six years ago, Grey Malteer was attacked by creatures he thought couldn’t possibly exist. They repeated a word, calling him a name he’d never heard before…Venator. Since then, his life has been a hellhole of secrecy—hiding old pain alongside strange new abilities.

Rune Jenkins has an itch, as she calls it, but it’s more than that. It’s an anger that builds up like the inside of a boiler whenever she’s around anything remotely supernatural. The pressure is growing steadily worse and she can’t understand why. All she knows is—her control is slipping.

By order of an unknown council Grey and Rune are pulled through a portal in the St. Louis arch, landing them in an alternate dimension where creatures of myth and legend exist. A realm that calls them, Venators.

Made up of centuries old fae, vampires, werewolves, elves and succubi the council’s corrupt nature becomes obvious as they seek to wield the newly returned Venators as weapons. Wedged in an impossible position, Grey and Rune must decide their fate—do they go against the council’s wishes and help the innocents of this unforgiving land, or face the possibility of execution by the council.

Review

I was absolutely delighted with this book. I have to admit, I am a complete sucker for fantasies which use a variety of different creatures, and that is something Magic Unleashed does really well, introducing us to a world where vampires, werewolves, succubi and others live side by side, and where Venators were once revered, Venators being humans powerful enough to withstand most the effects from the other types of beings.

The opening introduces us to the two main characters. Rune, desperately trying to take care of her twin brother, putting him first and herself second, and Grey, who brushed against the supernatural years before, and has been training himself and studying up on it ever since.

Through the eyes of these two characters, taken from their world into the world of the supernatural, we get introduced to the various other inhabitants, and witness the dangers threatening the Venators. They work their way through a fae forest and a pack of werewolves to reach the Council. All Grey wants is to be a hero, to save the innocent and protect those around him, while Rune just wants to be reunited with her brother.

I really liked the main characters. There’s an instant connection between them and the reader, giving us plenty of reasons to cheer them on and want to see them succeed. The idea of Venators is explained really well, without the story slowing down or stopping completely to convey exactly what it means to us. Instead it feels natural, just as the world Walls has created does.

And they don’t feel overpowered, despite their abilities. When they do come up against the supernatural creatures, they feel all too human and vulnerable, unsure and with no idea how to actually fight in the various situations they’re put in.

The novel is fast-paced and tightly packed, especially once the set-up is over and Grey and Rune leave our world. From there, we’re taken on a rollercoaster ride, leaving us to wonder what exactly will happen next to our two heroes.

The only thing I didn’t really like was the way it ended. It felt too unresolved. Of course, if a book is part of a series there has to be questions left unanswered, but for the first book in a series it felt like there was too much missing. The ending felt a little abrupt.

Despite this, Magic Unleashed is a really good introduction to this world and characters, and feels unique in the setting and the way various supernatural creatures are used. It’s definitely a series I can really see myself really getting into.

Devri Walls

devriDevri Walls is an international best selling author. She lives in Meridian, Idaho with her husband, two children and one adorable little mutt. Writing in all things fantasy, she would do just about anything for a working magic wand.

Mostly because she’s a walking disaster and a wand would be of enormous help…although she’d probably trip and break it. So, there’s that.

She graduated with a degree in theater and has studied vocal performance most of her life. She now teaches voice lessons when she’s not writing novels, cooking dinner, playing taxi, spending time with her amazingly supportive husband or trying to read.”

My question for Devri Walls: What’s your favourite part of the writing process?

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Blogtober Day 19: Paranormal Romance

Blogtober Day 19

Day One: Spooky TBR    /   Day Two: October Releases    /   Day Three: Bookish Autumn Bucket List    /   Day Four: Perfect Cosy Reading Nook    /   Day Five: Top 5 Disney Villains    /   Day Six: Strong Woman Horror Trope    /   Day Seven: Reading Snacks    /   Day Eight: 5 Autumn Reads    /   Day Nine: Vampires and Werewolves    /   Day Ten: Spooky TBR Update    /   Day Eleven: Witches    /   Day Twelve: Books I Should Have Read    /   Day Thirteen: Review – Under My Hat Anthology    /   Day Sixteen: This Time Last Year    /   Day Seventeen: Reading Drinks

Challenge List – Anniek’s Library 

Paranormal Romance is one of those genres I really don’t read enough of. Whenever I do read it, I tend to really enjoy it. I just need to pick up more, really.

And I fully believe paranormal romance = written by women. Urban fantasy = written by men, judging by what I used to find shelved under each in bookshops, even if they have the same tropes and type of characters.

Anyway, before this becomes a rant…

Paranormal Romance comes in many different types. For every paranormal creature out there, there’s probably a romance book featuring them and a human protagonist. The ones I’m most failiar with tend to be vampires and werewolves, but the list is endlist. The main reason I know these two is because many years ago, I read two series which featured vampires and werewolves quite heavily.

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter – Laurell K Hamilton

Something about Guilty Pleasures, the first book in the series, must have really intrigued guilty pleasuresme, because even though I only gave it 3 stars on Goodreads, I still continued with the series, reading 22 books before stopping. I didn’t even stop intentionally, I just picked up other books instead. But, honestly, this series started strong – I remember loving the first few books, really enjoying this world, and the blend of romance and crime Hamilton weaved into the story. The love interests were sexy and dangerous, and the horror elements were handled brilliantly.

But at some point, the books kind of tipped into just being about sex. Anita gains a power, and it turns out to be the power of sex, meaning she has to sleep with some characters pretty much instantly to save the day. And it was repeated. A lot. To the point where the sex scenes weren’t even very enjoyable any more, but repetitive. And every male character has a huge cock? I have heard it picks up again later, so I do intend to continue reading to see where the rest actually goes.

Sookie Stackhouse – Charlaine Harris

I think I read the first of these books way back in high school, and picked it up again when I was at university. The Sookie Stackhouse books are the basis for the TV dead until darkshow True Blood, but after the first book they diverge a lot, retaining some elements while making others much better suited to long-running TV series.

I managed to complete this series, at the insistence of a friend, and enjoyed it. The writing in the first few is pretty simplistic, but it matches Sookie’s character, and as the novels progress, the writing improves. And like Anita Blake, there are plenty of paranormal creatures to keep the reader invested.

Although both the Sookie Stackhouse and Anita Blake’s books have vampires and werewolves as their primary love interests, there are many others to be found within their pages, and both draw on various folklore for their monsters.

I’d suggest both these series, for anyone interested, but I really do need to read more paranormal, both with and without vampires involved, so if you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them.

Blogtober Day 9: Vampires and Werewolves

Blogtober Day 9

Day One: Spooky TBR    /   Day Two: October Releases    /   Day Three: Bookish Autumn Bucket List    /   Day Four: Perfect Cosy Reading Nook    /   Day Five: Top 5 Disney Villains    /   Day Six: Strong Woman Horror Trope    /   Day Seven: Reading Snacks    /   Day Eight: 5 Autumn Reads

Challenge List – Anniek’s Library 

I could not do a post about my favourite vampires and werewolves without mentioning someone very special to me, someone who looks after and takes care of me and yes, is ensuring I actually get to spend my 30th birthday at Disneyland Paris. For those of you unaware, my lovely boyfriend is Jedi Werewolf, and yes he can be found on Twitter under that name so maybe go check out his twitter and follow, if you’re so inclined.

Okay! Favourite FICTIONAL vampires & werewolves! Though I must admit, most of these are from TV, rather than books – a lot from TV adapted from books – so this is less of a bookish post and more just an…excuse to include lots of pics. Enjoy!

The Hybrids

Yeah, I kind of love this messed up family. Klaus is a vampire/werewolf hybrid, who starts off as somewhat of a monster but like so many vampires out there, turns slowly klausinto an almost good guy, mainly because of the birth of his daughter, Hope. He tries so hard to do right by her, and to protect her, and it never works out well for him. By the end of The Originals, I was really sad to say goodbye to him most of all, despite loving the vast majority of the cast, including the other hybrid, Hayley, mother of Hope. I never got the whole Klaus/Caroline love, probably because I watched Originals then went back and watched Vampire Diaries, so maybe I did in the wrong order. THEN I read the books. And, after that, Legacies came out, and honestly, I freaking love that show. The continuation of hopeHope’s story is handled really well, and I love the exploration of the other characters around her, as well as the inclusion of others from both Vampire Diaries and Originals. Hope is a fantastic character, and though she’s technically a tribrid – vampire/werewolf/witch, I’m including her here along with her father. There is one vampire, however, I am so upset we don’t get to see more of in the show…

Vampires

Damon freaking Salvatore. Look, I don’t like the direction his character arc ended up damongoing, but he was always fun to watch on screen. He starts off complete bad guy, similar to Klaus, and only through Elena blah blah blah. Early seasons Damon was my favourite, he was like an antidote to his moody, brooding brother (don’t get me wrong – I love him too)  and I’ve loved Ian Somerhalder since I first watched Lost, so of course I was going to love Damon. How can you not? He’s tortured, and angry, and takes that out on the people he loves AND the mortals around him, not to mention he’s a big reason why a lot of events in Vampire Diaries went the way they did.

You could probably guess my next choice, but what’s not to love about a blond vampire viking in a Southern American town? Eric, like Damon, starts off as sort of a bad guy, but his arc makes more sense to ericme – he has a huge soft spot for Sookie, but his actions, no matter what he does, always make sense, and him and Pam are absolutely fantastic to watch on screen. Like Damon, some of his best moments come when he’s at his most vulnerable, and both actors deserve praise, IM-very-HO, for the way the characters are portrayed. Out of all the True Blood vampires, he’s by far my favourite, again adding something extra alongside the whiny, brooding Bill.

He’s not the only one in the family to play a vampire, either. Bill Skarsgård, before becoming the terrifying version romanof Pennywise, played Roman in Hemlock Grove, a series I have only recently actually started watching. And again, deeply tortured vampire, but Roman isn’t evil like some of the others. He’s a rich, entitled prick to start with, but he’s confused and lost and doesn’t know what he’s going half the time. Once more, his most vulnerable moments are his best ones, even if the character goes in some seriously questionable directions. Not my VERY favourite vampire (see previous entries) but definitely one I thoroughly enjoy watching.

More literary versions of vampires I adore are of course, both Lestat and Louis (yeah, there’s a film version, and I love it, but I still prefer the books) and Julian, in GRRM’s Fevre Dream. Another tortured, uncertain vampire, though he – more like Louis and Roman than the others – does his damndest to remain good and refrain from drinking human blood. Julian is convinced he has been sent to help the rest of his kind, and he tries so hard to do that. If you haven’t read the book yet, it’s definitely worth checking out. Hmm, tortured-possible-bad-boy definitely seems to be my type here, doesn’t it? I could mention Spike, but it’s just more of the same really…

Werewolves

Returning to Hemlock Grove and we have the absolutely fantastic wolf, Peter. Peter befriends Roman, and reveals his true nature to him, in what is possibly one of the best, petermost gory, most amazing werewolf transformation I have ever seen on screen. Once more, Peter is just a joy to watch, as he agonises over his nature and tries to prevent others discovering what he really is. If you’ve never seen it but want to check out the transformation, have a look on YouTube. Just make sure you’re not eating at the time.

And staying with TV, and returning to True Blood, I really do have to mention Alcide. The alcideatypical alpha male, he will do anything to protect his loved ones and his pack, and I was actually upset when the romance between him and Sookie didn’t continue in the series. But Alcide is amazing and yes I actually really struggled to find a picture of him with his top on.

From the book world, Richard, in the Anita Blake series. I loved Richard from the moment we met him – in some ways, he is a lot like Alcide, and though I haven’t read the books in years, he’s definitely a character that really sticks with me.

And who can forget, another tortured boy, though like the other wolves on this list he’s firmly in the ‘good guy’ category. My top favourite werewolf of all time, because I just freaking adored the character when reading the books – Remus Lupin. The legend that is, the wonderful, kind hearted DADA teacher who is forced out by the prejudice of the wizarding community, and a character who deserved way more time than we got in either the books or films. Remus, without a doubt, will always have a special place in my heart.

I am always looking for more vampire and werewolf book recs, so if you have any, please do let me know! And who are some of your favourites? Do you agree with these choices, or any of them make you think, “Ah, no, nope, not at all”?