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Black Halo (The Aeons' Gate, Book 2) Paperback – March 22, 2011


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Frequently Bought Together

Black Halo (The Aeons' Gate, Book 2) + The Skybound Sea (The Aeons' Gate, Book 3) + Tome of the Undergates (The Aeons' Gate, Book 1)
Price for all three: $43.82

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 547 pages
  • Publisher: Pyr; First Edition edition (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781616143558
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616143558
  • ASIN: 161614355X
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #280,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lenk and his companions have recovered the Tome of the Undergates; but when they discover their ship has sprung a leak, the adventurers end up stranded on an island with a dark history of its own and pursued by submarine monsters, fanatical non-human warriors, power-mad mages and violently diligent Librarians. Despite such calamity, they all find time to contemplate in some detail their tragic back-stories and crippling personal shortcomings. Should this group of reluctant heroes falter, the very survival of the world is at stake. Sykes's first book was flawed but with hints of untapped potential. This volume, in contrast, preserves and builds on the flaws of its predecessor. Unfortunately, the glimpses of Sykes's potential previously seen are invisible here. A mid-series book is more of a fragment than a complete novel—nothing truly dramatic can happen in it; the important characters cannot really be in danger and none of the important conflicts can actually be resolved. Sykes fails to meet or break-through any of the mid-series conventions, which makes for a slow-paced, predictable and just-plain-disappointing sequel to a mediocre debut. (Mar. 22)

Review

Praise for The Aeons' Gate and Sam Sykes:

"Holy freaking bottle rockets, people! This book ROCKS!"
-Elitist Book Reviews, on Tome of the Undergates

"Sam Sykes does blood and noise in the liveliest tradition of contemporary fantasy, with all the brash vigor of youth, and with a sly, penetrating sensitivity all his own. Not many writers can give you fireworks and subtlety at the same time like he can."
-Scott Lynch, author of The Lies of Locke Lamora

"If you like your fantasy dark and twisted . . . The Aeons' Gate is a series tailor-made for you."
-Civilian Reader

"Recommend[ed] for people who enjoy fantasy with some dark humor, violence, and chaos."
-Night Owl Reviews (four stars)

"I do not wish Sam Sykes dead."
-John Scalzi, author of Redshirts

"Epic, crude, dark, silly, scary, violent, and surprisingly tender."
-Rob Will Review

More About the Author

Sam Sykes is the author of the acclaimed Tome of the Undergates, a vast and sprawling story of adventure, demons, madness and carnage. He lives with two hounds in a small, drab apartment and has eaten at least one of every animal on earth. You can visit his website at www.samsykes.com

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 20 customer reviews
Overall as I closed the final page in this book, I felt that it had advanced nowhere from book one.
Giles Krandrannon
The characters in the story are more amazing and more believable because of the time taken in this book for there development and growth.
Jack
What makes this series great is it keeps you guessing about what will happen next and what kind of monsters are still around the corner.
The Mad Hatter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Shurin VINE VOICE on July 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
Sam Sykes' first book, Tome of the Undergates (2010), introduced the adventuring party of Lenk, Denaos, Asper, Katarina, Dreadaleon and Gariath. Although the group mirrors the traditional, dungeon-crawling group of heores, they're thickly shellacked in grubby super-realism.

The characters are compellingly flawed and realistically executed. This also extends to the world- and plot-building: everything has a price, generally a disproportionate one. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Mr. Sykes has created an internally consistent deconstruction of the typical high fantasy paradigm that also makes for a very good story.

Our "heroes", such as they are, make the story. Oddly, Lenk is perhaps the least likable of the five. He's the Sykesian version of the "Chosen One" - controlled by secretive powers beyond Time and History. They're not particularly nice powers, though, a theme that echoes throughout the book. If anyone without a code (e.g. adventurers) is untrustworthy, anyone who wholly commits to a code is terrifying. Lenk as Lenk just wants to get by. Possibly have a farm. Maybe even make sweet, sweaty love to his pointy-eared party member. But his Voices have other plans for him. Imagine the "dry-voiced" Prophecy from the Eddings books, but prone to saying things like "kill them all." Lenk is a nice guy in a cruel world, his own Prophecy helps him get through it, but only by sinking to - and through - its level.

Dreadaleon, Denaos and Asper were initially one-dimensional characters, but in Black Halo, they begin to expand a bit more. Dread whines that his tremendous intellect is unappreciated and, to some degree, he's right - no one realizes that his work on behalf of the party is actually killing him.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brandon Zarzyczny on May 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book, but overall I was left a little disappointed after the first book. By the end of Black Halo, the story is essentially right where it started off, in fact they actually went backwards a bit. Some of the characters relationships have changed, but none of them really evolved. However, the author has created a wonderful world with this series, and I look forward to the next installment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William D. Colburn VINE VOICE on June 18, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked this book a lot more than the first one, though I gave it the same 4 stars as the first.

There didn't seem to be nearly as much confusing dialogue, so either I've gotten used to it or he did a better job of keeping it clear. There did seem to be less of it as well.

Lots more plot develops in this book than in the first one. It's still long winded. How many hundreds of pages did I read where the lack of pants was the most pressing thing in the book? It seems like the whole book really. How happy I was when they finally managed to regain their pants, because it meant they would stop complaining about it.

They didn't let up with peeing, either. Lots of peeing.

There was more humor in this book. It was quite a bit funnier than the first. Funnier in a direct way. The first was a subdued humor, very dry. This book is more overt about it.

The survival of the party members is now completely over the top. Every unsurvivable encounter ends with each thinking the other is dead, and then they all get back together again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jack on April 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has and makes up for what Tome of the Undergates purposely did not, character development and albeit small amount of world building. The pacing in comparison to Tome of the Undergates is slower but do not let that deter you as the pacing is much better balanced between the gritty action and mayhem as well as true character growth. The characters in the story are more amazing and more believable because of the time taken in this book for there development and growth. I had some serious reservations going into this book for as much as I enjoyed the not stop mayhem of Tome of the Undergates it was lacking a few things such as true character development, world building etc... The same tropes that people have always mentioned of the first book and as fun as it was it would not make for a good continuation of the story if it had. Black Halo does NOT share those same pitfalls.

To sum it up I was happy to start reading and when finished, I was more thoughtful of the various plot lines in the story and more than ready for the next book. If you enjoyed Tome of the Undergates or you liked it but were looking for more world building, character development/growth then read Black Halo as a lot of that takes place here in The Aeons' Gate Book 2, Black Halo.
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Format: Paperback
Lenk the Swordsman and his dysfunctional band of mercenaries (Kataria, Dreadaleon, Denaos, Asper and Gariath) succeeded in retrieving the Tome of the Undergates. They now sail for home to insure the Kraken Queen Ulbecetonth cannot obtain the dangerous relic by giving it to their current employer Miron for safekeeping. As the sea voyage takes forever, tension between the former six allies goes stratospheric. Thus, when disaster strikes as an Akaneed attacks their ship, each reaches land on their own.

On a seemingly deserted island, the six are separated and apparently stranded. Each is unsure they want to team up again with the others though logically they know that is the only way to go home. Even when they see the eerie remains of war dead and encounter a philosophy spouting monkey, the obstinate teammates fail to unite.

The second Aeons' Gate quest fantasy is an enjoyable tale due to the split up of the gang of six, which is not shocking, as they despised each other even before they set off on their previous adventure (see Tome of the Undergates); close quarters at sea enhanced this loathing. Thus readers get to know watch of the sextet that much more as for a while they have solo escapades. Although the overarching theme feels as if it has been detoured, Black Halo is an entertaining thriller in which sub-genre readers will relish taking the roundabout way home with this argumentative six.

Harriet Klausner
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