- File Size: 2483 KB
- Print Length: 799 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: November 30, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00QFEYVCI
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,312 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
SPECTR: The Complete First Series Kindle Edition
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|Length: 799 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
I caught sight of this fantastic Jordan Hawk series when it was marketed as a bundle—the first six volumes, weighing in at 600 pages. Goodreads friends told me to read it. I resisted committing to such a large undertaking (what if I hate volume 1?); but once I started in, I tore through these six novellas in less than a week: Hunter of Demons, Master of Ghouls, Reaper of Souls, Destroyer of Worlds, Eater of Lives, Summoner of Storms.
Jordan Hawk’s work has long appealed to me. Her ability to create a plausible world populated with characters who make you care is exemplified in her “period” paranormal series, “Widdershins.” I note that not everybody likes this sort of thing (my husband, for one), but if paranormal action gay romance holds any appeal, then the tiny epic saga of John Starkweather and Caleb Jansen will ring all your bells.
I say tiny, because the action over the course of these six books happens in about a month and a half. Each book takes place over a few days, but the impact on the main characters’ lives is, well, epic. What makes the entire series so excellent is Hawk’s attention to detail; she keeps all the threads of the plot carefully in control, weaving the story together until its harrowing, cataclysmic finale.
The entire series is, of course, a metaphor. In a contemporary America where gay people seem to be accepted, it is those with any sort of paranormal abilities who are marginalized, discriminated against, and registered by the government. Thus John Starkweather, turned over to the state as an adolescent by his fearful family, has grown up believing in the mission of SPECTR, a government agency that hires paranormals to control the demons summoned by folks who think they can handle it. On the other side of the equation is Caleb Jansen, an aspiring artist who has hidden his minor paranormal skill all his life to avoid the social stigma. Having been raised with total mistrust of authority in general and SPECTR in particular, Caleb gets drawn into a splinter group’s amateur exorcism that turns his world inside out.
But it is the third major character, Gray, who is the real catalyst for the story. A 5000-year-old drakul, or vampire spirit, he has drifted through countless lives, hunting demons and seeing the world in black and white, through the fragmented, meaningless memories of the dead bodies he inhabits. When he wakes up in Caleb’s body, staring into the intensely blue eyes of John Starkweather, it is the first color he has ever seen. The first pain he has ever felt. The first living human emotion he has ever encountered.
For all three characters, John, Caleb and Gray, the journey is earth-shaking. This is a violent, bloody, exciting action story in the contemporary millennial vein; but it is also a love story of grand proportions. It is a tale of heart over mind, of doing what is right over doing what is legal. There is a profound moral foundation to this story, rooted in the intertwined souls of its three protagonists. There is a certain “X-Men” or James Bond cartoonishness that is only to be expected in the genre, but Hawk gives her characters—almost all of them—a palpable humanity that keeps the reader locked into the narrative.
How I wish that all my millennial gay geek friends would stop trying to find a reflection of themselves in Hollywood nonsense like “Batman v. Superman,” where the only winner is the straight movie-going audience. Jordan Hawk gives us gay superheroes. I may be an aging baby-boomer, but I’ll never have enough of this. Can’t wait to start on the second SPECTR series.
Philosophy/literary merit 3-5 stars depending on your mileage
English: competent. Go read the Griffin and Whybourne series by the same author for lyrically beautiful language that is the cherry on the cake of world-building.
This is a great genre story in a sea of bad ones, and is on my re-read rotation. It started life as a series of novellas and that shows because it hasn't been re-edited. So you'll very occasionally get reminded about what just happened or who someone is when you don't need it.
This is almost not a vampire urban fantasy because Hawke creates a new parallel universe and new ecology on the streets of Earth. We have a policing force of the supernatural. A dedicated supernatural policeman. And a hapless anti-authoritarian civilian who accidentally collides with a major, ancient, vampiric power.
I'm sorry to write this at a distance with memory problems, so I'm not remembering names. Our policeman and civilian are very different men, but they have warm hearts and deep ethics in common. As a couple the charisma, attraction, and sparks fly. I too am drawn like a moth to my sexy, sexy lust interests. Given the previous novella formats, sex is gratifyingly regular. However there is a lot of adventure plot too, so the sex doesn't get too much.
With the plot the new approach on a vampire shines. Hawke gives us a character's mind that is not human; really very alien. It adds interesting push and pull motivations during chases, fights, police procedure and interaction with other humans. The vampire often has a wildly different point of view to the civilian or the cop.
One of the things I love is that, by necessity, there is often a mentor and mentee relationship between two characters. Over the course of the book that nurturing/power relationship swaps, as the different and maturing minds of the characters start to understand one another better.
If you haven't done a certain type of contemporary therapy/psychology/esoteric religious study you're not even going to notice the philosophy in this urban fantasy. The author has heavily drawn on a rigid and stripped down 'Mindfulness' point of view to give the vampire his alien brain. He starts out by living utterly entirely in the present moment ALL THE TIME. He never thinks about either the future or the past, and he has never owned several of the human senses or emotions.
The forced closeness between characters alien to each other starts a very interesting bleed-over in personalities. It adds complexity to the mayhem and gore of fighting with supernatural monsters. And the interesting bleed-over provides a lot of depth progression to the sexual relationship between civilian and cop.
Our nervy civilian learns some Zen. Our alien vampire discovers what beauty and pain are. Together our characters approach some balance and happiness.
And kick butt. Oh boy do they kick butt. While I am loving having further SPECTRE novellas, I actually think the author should have stopped here at this one anthology for purely artistic reasons. This book culminates in a huge, wild crescendo of magic action. It was a massive battle in my mind's eye, and I think it makes a great and satisfying finish.
This book is complete.
Great story. Great writing. I had some eh moments about one of the characters.
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