Author: Steven Montano
Series: Blood Skies #1
Review Copy: Free eBook
Overall Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5
In the time after The Black, human survivors of the Southern Claw Alliance clash with vampire legions of the Ebon Cities in a constant war for survival. Earth as we know it has been forever damaged by an arcane storm that fused our world with distant realms of madness and terror. Things that once existed only in our nightmares stalk the earth.
Now, humanity is threatened by one of its own.
Eric Cross, an enlisted warlock in the Southern Claw military, is part of an elite team of soldiers and mages in pursuit of a woman known as Red — a witch whose stolen knowledge threatens the future of the human race. The members of Viper Squad will traverse haunted forests and blighted tundra in their search for the traitor, a journey that ultimately leads them to the necropolis of Koth.
There, in that haven of renegade undead, Cross will discover the dark origins of magic, and the true meaning of sacrifice…
Experience a dark and deadly new world in the debut novel of the “Blood Skies” series from author Steven Montano.
Blood Skies, the first novel in the Blood Skies series by Steven Montano, is an interesting take on the vampire genre, combining it with witches and warlocks, zombies, and a post-apocalyptic world. At first, I was thinking this was going to be a typical vampire story, but it surprised me. I wasn’t expecting it to be a quest style dark fantasy story.
Cross is a relatively inexperienced warlock in the Viper Squad, but he’s with his friend and fellow soldier Graves. Graves is quite laid back, and it seems he’s the only one who acts like that. Cross, and later, his sister Snow, are powerful magic users with different types of magic. They are both a bit uptight, though. Cristena comes along, and as she is another witch, she has her own set of impressive magic. I found her to be a bit of a mystery at first, but later on, her character showed through very strongly. But I didn’t like her at all. I liked Cross, Graves, and Snow, though. On the other side of the war are the vampires, though we only really get to know one of them. And we also have Red, the main antagonist. Even through the entire book, I still wonder about her motivations. I feel that not everything was revealed in this book.
The plot is a rather straightforward quest to stop Red, basically. It involved a lot of magic, guns, and lots of death. Incredible amounts of death. And I mean you shouldn’t get too attached to the characters because there’s a good chance he or she will die. I enjoy the quest type of story, so this was a nice trip for me. We get to see different lands, different combatants, and different dangers, but the constants are Cross and Graves. However I found some of the deaths were a bit unnecessary. There’s one battle in particular that seems completely unnecessary for the story at first, but I could see why it was important for the advancement of the story. The story does come to a conclusion, but there are still some open threads that are most likely continued on in the following books.
The setting itself is richly described. It had a dark atmosphere, and I felt like it must be cold and dreary there. The world is a post-apocalyptic Earth somewhere in North America (an American city is mentioned, actually), but it’s been merged with another world filled with vampires, zombies, and other horrors. Montano does a great job at describing the world, but I wanted to know more. What about outside the Southern Claw? What’s the rest of the world like? Maybe we’ll find out later.
The magic system is very interesting. Men and women are different, and their magic is also controlled differently. Each mage has his or her own spirit that they are in constant contact with, and it’s as if they are an extension of themselves. You’d have to read it to understand.
Overall, I found this to be a very interesting idea. I wasn’t expecting much, as I’m not a fan of vampire stories, but I enjoyed it. It was a dark fantasy with elements of vampires, zombies, and steampunk. With an overall rating of 3 1/2 out of 5 stars, it’s a solid recommendation from me. It’s fun to read.