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The Way of the Black Beast - A Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy (The Malja Chronicles Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Length: 314 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Other books you're sure to enjoy:
The Malja Chronicles
The Way of the Black Beast (Book 1)
The Way of the Sword and Gun (Book 2) 
The Way of the Brother Gods (Book 3)
The Way of the Blade (Book 4)
The Way of the Power (Book 5)
The Way of the Soul (Book 6, coming in 2015)

Product Details

  • File Size: 1081 KB
  • Print Length: 314 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Stuart Jaffe; 2 edition (September 16, 2011)
  • Publication Date: September 16, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005NRXT6W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,799 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Stuart Jaffe is the author of The Max Porter Paranormal-Mysteries, The Malja Chronicles, a post-apocalyptic fantasy series, The Bluesman pulp series, the Gillian Boone series, and much more. His short stories have been collected in 10 Bits of My Brain and 10 More Bits of My Brain. Numerous other short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies.

He is the co-host of The Eclectic Review -- a podcast about science, art, and well, everything.

Stuart lives in rural North Carolina, and for those who keep count, the latest animal listing is as follows: one dog, two cats, one albino corn snake, three aquatic turtles, assorted fish, seven chickens, and a horse. Thankfully, the chickens and the horse do not live inside the house.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I'm not at all sure what to make of this book. On the one hand, it has a lot of elements that I normally find appealing: a post-apocalyptic setting, a kickass female protagonist, characters with a lot of history, an unpredictable world. But somehow, it didn't grab me, and I've been puzzling over why. There's nothing terrible about it, nothing that jumps out at me - it's well plotted, the characters have depth, the world is full of surprises (and I love to be surprised!), but for some odd reason it didn't resonate with me. Just a mood thing, I suppose.

One problem is that I often found it difficult to visualise the settings. Sometimes I would have to reread a section because I'd misunderstood where things were or what was going on. I'm still not very clear whether the setting is meant to be some real-world place, or if it's a created world. I kept seeing it in my mind as the southwestern US, but I could be completely wrong about that. Either way, the book failed to provide me with as much detail about the backdrop as I wanted, but another reader likely wouldn't find it a problem.

However, the world is filled with a whole heap of weirdness. The author has a stunning imagination to create so many odd beasties and devices and situations. There was almost too much creativity (and that's not a criticism that's often levelled at a fantasy work, let's be honest). But perhaps less of the bizarre and a bit more of the familiar would have helped me get into it. In some ways, the deluge of originality reminded me of my one attempt at a China Mièville book. It's not that I dislike weirdness, but I'm not too keen on the absolutely anything goes end of the spectrum.

The plot - well, what plot?
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Format: Kindle Edition
Raised by two evil, heartless magicians who think themselves gods, then cast out to fend for herself or succumb to the elements, Malja is a girl just trying to survive in a dangerous world that has been decimated by magic, and where violence is a necessary evil. Throughout her journey she keeps two things close to her: Viper, a straight edge, deadly extension of herself used to destroy anything that might bring harm, and Tommy, the adolescent youth/ magician who attached himself to her side after she saved him from his abusers.

Following the death of the man who saved her, took her in, and acted as a caring and devoted father, Malja is driven by the Black Beast within, seeking revenge. While facing off with a guitar case toting Bluesman, a trained and hired assassin who has managed to stay one step ahead of her, taking out her contacts before she can gain any information from them, Malja finds out that the very men she has been searching for, her "fathers" Jerik and Callib, may just be looking for her too. Following a lead gleaned from the assassin, she finds herself at the home of Nolan, a simple woman with a lot of knowledge. This is where her true journey begins. From there Malja is taken across the desolate and ravaged lands encountering people, creatures, and beings of all shapes, sizes, and colors (yes, I said colors). She is forced to take on others along the way, each contributing in their own way.

Being the warrior that she is, Malja spends a lot of her time denying her need for others, even her enjoyment of their company. She'd much rather go it alone, lessen the complications that come with watching out for the safety of others. Her denial even extends to Tommy who shows his desire to be loved by her, but also recognizes her limitations.
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Format: Kindle Edition
[Disclaimer: This was read and reviewed at the request of the author, who provided me with a free digital copy of the book in order for me to do so.]

Stuart Jaffe’s THE WAY OF THE BLACK BEAST is a post-apocalyptic fantasy novel featuring a strong female lead who is skilled with weapons and fighting. Abused and abandoned as a child, Malja is out for revenge. In her quest to find the responsible parties and exact her revenge, Malja is accompanied by a small, diverse (perhaps mismatched?) band. Most of them are human. One is mute. Membership in this band is rather fluid. While these companions generally help her in her quest but they occasionally cause diversions. Sometimes they get in her way; sometimes they draw her away.

Malja's personality comes across well. She’s a no-nonsense, abrupt woman who knows what drives her but who feels conflicted about killing. Jaffe skillfully lets Tommy express strong feelings, even though he can’t talk. Fawbry is a complex character, not very likable but not completely despicable, and certainly not predictable. Tumus is a human-like being who seems to spend much of every waking moment in sorrow and despair.

The basic storyline is a classic one. The protagonist sets out to achieve her revenge but endures pangs of conscience along the journey. The guilty parties meet their demise in the end, but not because the protagonist is successful. Instead, fate has judged them and found them wanting, and the protagonist has a role in that judgment being meted out. The protagonist has come to a deeper knowledge of themselves and has made a change for the better. Along the path to self-knowledge, the protagonist encounters various obstacles, both physical and psychological, that stand in the way of reaching their goal.
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