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- Publication Date: July 11, 2017
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Sorcerer's Creed Books 1-3 Kindle Edition
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This is Neal's (N.P. Martin) first boxset collection, compiling the current books of Sorcerer's Creed. It includes all four titles to date, which in tangible terms it means that books one to three plus the bonus novella prequel companion story. In actual titles moving chronologically in an ascending order that's: Crimson Crow; Blood Sacrifice: Blood Debt; & Blood Cult. Being as I've reviewed all four titles I have chosen to include the opinion based section from each of the individual reviews to create one big statement covering each of the titles. To see more on each of the titles, though,, please see each of the respective links below.
I've included the link to Amazon's N.P. Martin Page, and ten review links to other titles that he's written that I've read. In order of listing these include: Blood Cult (Sorcerer's Creed #3); Blood Debt (Sorcerer's Creed #2); Blood Sacrifice (Sorcerer's Creed #1); Crimson Crow (Sorcerer's Creed #0); Hell to Pay (The Watchers #4); Hell and Back (The Watchers #3); Hell is Here (The Watchers #2); Hell is Coming (The Watchers #1); Bad Grace (A Watchers Companion and Novel); & Lucas (A Watchers Companion Novel).
N.P. Martin Page - https://www.amazon.com/N.P.-Martin/e/B00JMG7JIO/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1499250140&sr=8-1
Review - https://www.amazon.com.au/review/R26CFJ1A1WJ9VA/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm
Review - https://www.amazon.com.au/review/R1D65BP2M2A26U/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm
Review - https://www.amazon.com.au/review/R2F8UFS5T064OI/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm
Review - https://www.amazon.com.au/review/R2XG4QNQQ5DD24/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm
Review - https://www.amazon.com/review/R2F32DRFKZ5EK2/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B01M61ONQ6
Review - https://www.amazon.com.au/review/RM9B4ELONPWNR/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm
Review - https://www.amazon.com.au/review/RK25YBM11HK4T/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm
Review - https://www.amazon.com/review/R34X2BFGDZ7WE7/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00OVRT35G
Review - https://www.amazon.com.au/review/R2FSR3ASUJAUR2/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm
Review - https://www.amazon.com/review/R5CS4PRXCD2MQ/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B017ELDC02
Book 0: Crimson Crow
Add a dash of history, a dash of context, a dash of purpose, and finally some unanswered questions, and what you end up with is a recipe for a great prequel. The how and the why, in the examination of August and Blackham City, is revealed through his first dealings with fellow supernaturals, after barely arriving in Blackham. The pace of Neal's novels is confirmed once again, and August Creed's story is further revealed. Having read Blood Sacrifice first its not reliably possible that I can comment with great accuracy, but I nonetheless believe the two books in the series thus far could be read in any order without either spoiling the other. Indeed, having knowledge of book one provides the questions further explained in this prequel, of which otherwise might be overlooked. Its good to see the how and why August sees Blackham as the place to halt his worldwide wandering; at least for the foreseeable future. Action, intrigue, and meaning are present again. The unreliability of magickslinging in the presence of sleepwalkers continuing to show humorous flashback problems, and brings a unique dimension to this burgeoning new urban fantasy series.
I've read and reviewed every one of Neal's books thus far. Crimson Crow is no exception to those fitting into the entertaining and enjoyable necessities of an urban fantasy reader's library. Readers of Blood Sacrifice will definitely enjoy and approve of some of the background information that's been answered. Its also good to see where August makes some mistakes, as he gathers experience in engaging with people and using his magick to solve problems other than his own. Daddy dearest stifled his kids' and shaped their ability to perceive their environment and to mix with people. The prequel rightly shows his inexperience and vulnerability, helping to make him more real to readers who've started following the series. Five stars - as might be expected by his fans!
Book 1: Blood Sacrifice
In the tiny window of time that seventy-hours feels like once you've got the equivalent of a state worse than a death sentence hanging over your head, August's soul will detach from its current vessel, leaving nothing more than a ghoul behind. No doubt, said soul will then go toward fueling some sick design his tormentor has on the world. Its with cryptic clues, a soul rendering, and more dead bodies mounting up, that August's left to work out what's really going on, He has his work cut out for him. He's got an enormous job to do and his soul to keep, so there's no time like the present and no rest for the wicked, and yada-yada-yada that he's got to successfully save his own life, those of Blackham's residents, and pretty much the rest of the world's, so he needs to crack the whip, kick some arse, roll some heads, and mountains of magic to sling.
August Creed's experiences work toward proving that you cannot forever outrun the scariest nightmares of your past. That at some point, something is going to catch up with you, leaving you ill-equipped to deal with it. When this combines with the notion that once you eliminate all the probable scenarios in any given situation, then what sometimes remains, however improbable it might be, is still the most likely answer. Sometimes, in order to defeat evil one must do a deal with the devil, or become the definition of the very thing they're trying to beat, in order to achieve said outcomes. In some cases, these factors might likely go a long way toward understanding how the road to Hell can be paved with the best of intentions. Only August can later decide what to make of his commitments promised along the way.
With described action sequences capable of rivaling any big budget blockbusters, the detail is evocative and imagined easily. Characters who draw you in to empathise with their histories and their plights, Blood Sacrifice is a perfect blend of great content and pleasurable storytelling style. In a field made up of a lot of memorable heroines and female authoring styles, its great to find intriguing heroes and the perspectives of male authors. The complexity of the storyline and the desire to solve the mystery creates intrigue and captivates the reader to keep moving forward in order to solve the questions they have, and to confirm or refute the presumptions they've made along the way. Having been a fan and follower of The Watchers Series by Neal its great to see him tackle so successfully the male hero, and a new role model with gusto and the same attention to detail he's shown with his heroine.
With a plot heavily embedded with magic, magical lore, and a reimagined contemporary city landscape, Blood Sacrifice has all the components of what Urban Fantasy readers look for; and where the other types of fantasy genres can be made, given some are mostly the same thing under different banners. Baring this in mind its important that readers not be caught up in the banners, otherwise they'll only end up overlooking great entertainment through enjoyable stories. With a prequel fast on its way I'd be surprised if August Creed doesn't accrue a following all his own after the combined books are read. The dystopian locale of Blackham City is a fertile ground for the inclusion of every type of magical being, and a barrage of situations where the little guy wins and where superheroes are grown.
Book 2: Blood Debt
This addition to Sorcerer's Creed has the complexity of having many balls in the air. If the juggler doesn't keep track of the how and the where, they can all come crashing down, or collide before they reach their zennith, in a spectacular mess of unfinished business and missed connections. With nine paranormal and urban fantasy publications produced from within two simultaneously similar and different worlds, Neal again shows his capacities to keep the story rolling with a pace that doesn't out-sprint the meaning and understanding of the content to get readers from a to z, but which keeps you at times needing to release the breath you didn't know you were holding in. It won't be long before double figures are reached and exceeded, with releases reaching impressive yearly quotas indicative of a writer dedicating hours to the daily grind of never-ending word limits, taking weekly totals into the region of what must be thousands of words. But never seeing in the finished fine tuned products words printed for the sake of words.
With such hefty limits that must be necessary to release at these rates there's obviously the rigid technical minimums that must be obtained and exceeded if the end results are to be comprehensive in mapping out the key elements of creating not just a well founded plot, but also the interesting content and language that carries you through. And it goes without saying that therein are the characters whose lives you want and need to know more of, and the places where the events of the things that go bump in the night carry through to your imaginations in a splendid combination of narrative and spoken words. I've reads hundreds of fantasy novels and each time I finish a Neal P. Martin story I'm surprised yet again that this authors novels are cracking the glass roofs of standards carrying them into the calibre of stories where I would expect bestsellers and top one-hundreds, etcetera, to be listed. Then I see through one means or another that my expectations are not always reached or maintained and I can only fathom that it must be exposure and hitting the right reader attentions, because it certainly isn't the stories, the characters, or the techniques that could explain the missing link. Hence, I recommend you not only get his books but that you also help make his name known on the TBR lists of fellow readers you know.
I have an intimate awareness of the urban environments Neal has constructed in his two series to-date. If you were to read ten books containing demons (among other supes of course) its likely that around nine will speak of the Underworld, viewing it as a dimension that's simply become associated with the connotations of Hell as mundane or religious humans have come to know it as, or as simply an alternate place where crestures of darkness, evil or not, choose to spend their time in a place where they don't have to glamour who they are. But the kicker of this thread, and the reason I mention it, is that few will actually take on the challenge of envisioning the former version of the Underworld as in the context of Hell in the mind's of readers, fire and brimstone being incidental. A dark place that breeds fear with the demons and other sorts of monstrosities that create the feelings of peril and outright fear even in exclusion to the specific demons taking the story there. It seems to be a challenge that is purposely written out of most storylines, whether it be a purposeful decision by the respective authors or not.
I can highlight that this is the norm, where only two to three actual contents of the ten aforementioned standard book numbers will take on the challenge, but only one in ten, at most, will rise to the challenge of constructing the meaning to bring the worse imaginative version of the Underworld or we so often see overlooked. This isn't true of Neal's two sprawls. In both the Watchers Series and now Sorcerer's Creed, Neal has risen to the challenge and nailed it on both occasions. His two key protagonists have ventured where few narratives take readers, in so doing readers are afforded the imaginative flavours found in very few books. It is my opinion that unless you've managed to find a big enough range to delve into all the zones of urban fantasy environments then you're incomplete in one of the experiences we aim to achieve when reading: to venture into places our imaginations help in travelling, and doing all the things we otherwise couldn't. Ergo, you only need to read Neal's two series to find at least two such experiences, missed by so many other books. Another five star read without a doubt, and perhaps the events that'll become one of the greatest shapers of August Creed's life.
Book 3: Blood Cult
Among other things that this book has going for it are its premises and the intentions for the use of magic. The sheer idea that Creed is being given the task of publicly casting magick with the seal of approval from Division is a development with many future pathways, the most salient being the weaponising of Creed for governmental usage. Then to have that recorded by way of the faux passe CV audition for the cult of "mad scientists" would be totally jocular if not for the victims of video auditions other than his own, those involving the multiple victims losing something precious if not their lives. A further example that's easily observed is the enjoyable and defining feature of perhaps the whole series but definitely in this addition, the ingenuity behind the representation and visualisation of the mechanics of magic; and thus, the ways in which Neal uses Creed's narrative to conceptualise it in his own visual manner.
The way some of the magic happening and how it works is described is a commendable approach. In some ways, you could see some irony, or association at the minimum, in the reciprocity in this approach coming to light during this addition to the series. After all, the story deals with Creed's impending conflict with SciCane, which is the currently largest foe of the series to date. At a time when his central villain(s) has become about fiends using the theology of science combined with technology and the arcane, the narrative almost synchronously uses a metaphysical approach to the narration by Creed in relation to the potions and magic he uses and does. This is no more evident than when the bartering made in the last book pushes its way into the Sanctum in this book.
Baal wasn't the only one who bartered with Creed, so too was Big Joe, who now calls Creed to account for the bargain made, that sought to counteract his cousin's hex. The way this whole sequence plays out is a guys nightmare, a woman's or victims wet dream, and wholly justice in the most hilarious of ironical ways. The presence of two outwardly aggresive werewolves raises a certain Garra Wol's heckles, which reveals a rather ingenious a very interesting tidbit I'll leave up to you to nut out for yourself (gotta love segues); something which potentially offers future fertile ground to be monopolised in perhaps a companion story or a 'fan only' reward story which uses the dynamics revealed to fill in some past blanks, or to perhaps expand upon the elemental nature and history of Blaez, especially given the rarity or unique creation of a Garra wolf? This book brings to mind the value in furthering Blaez's identity and nature, you have only to read the words between the lines.
The imaginative flair and conceptual ways such extravagance has been brought to bare in Blood Cult is second to none in Neal's preceding library, and just the ways this book's title can be inferred in the storylines is an intriguing outcome before much of the book is even read; that is, the mystery tenaciously begins from the blurb, and the multiple ways these insinuations can be determined. Some aspects are entirely new and incorporate one of the few science fiction-fantasy (SFF) themes encounters to date, and in beautifully narrated detail and usage. Blood Cult is certainly a book that goes a long way into highlighting and supporting Neal's capacity for urban fantasy flair. I can't say much more in regards to some of the above that has barely been more than touched on, for fears of becomjng the overzealous reader who through their desire to show how much they understood they headed wrongfully into the murky waters that deal in spoilers.
The powerhouses that Creed seems to incessantly face can either be construed as dumb luck or as a destined fate as yet unreached, and which make you think about how well it's to be accepted or explored. Even when outgunned and unmatched Creed has a tendency to deal much better than expected on the sheer basis of power alone; a detail in this book that's merely mentioned makes you wonder if it has in some ways been the principle behind Creed's propensity to stand against the bullies - a further tidbit I'll leave it up to you to find and explore. In retrospect I suspect that much of this has to do with the fact that unlike his many opponents, Creed doesn't only have himself in confrontations or to think about when fighting to win; he has friends and loved ones to help him along and whom think highly of him, both are elements worth fighting for. The trouble for megalomaniacs is that they isolate themselves from the true help found in sharing and that might've been there for them, regardless of whether we want them to win or lose, if only they weren't thinking solely of themselves. Such a concept appears in nearly every story told about the proverbial little red riding hoods that went up against big bad wolves.
Sorcerer's Creed continues to please and Blood Cult is among the more meaningful additions yet. The action is aplenty and the story's tender moments round it off well, providing entertainment and meaning, an ever enjoyable recipe. Blackham continues to show a larger-than-life clime, a hub of supernatural affairs that reflect well the wider universe in which it sits. New sides are seen to characters near and far, where even those who've left do so in an indelible impression. In many ways, the environment makes you think of its similarities to the frequently starring location that appears in many urban fantasies, that played by none other than the french quarter of New Orleans. Blood Cult continues the pull and carries on the franchise well. For Neal it reveals a persistent and well grounded ability to draw readers into his urban fantasy worlds. Both of his series have hit all the spots and ticked all the boxes, be it Sorcerer's Creed or The Watchers, you really can't go wrong. Five stars again and a wicked little hint about where Creed's life is set to go next.
Overall, this is a good series, and I’m eagerly waiting for the next one. I just got really, really frustrated with the typos throughout the three books.
Yes, there are way, way too many typos. While I love the stories, the characters, etc., it really could have used some better editing. There are a lot of spots that it’s clear that the author started a sentence, then decided not to continue it as originally planned, and back tracked, only to leave a word of the original sentence. There were many sentences that seemed to have a random word stuffed in there, or missing a word, or my favorite, letters missing from a word, like the word din’t... what the heck?! And on page 249, a whole sentence was repeated! Also, I believe every single sentence starting with the words “All right,” was written as “all right.” No one caught that?!
On another note, in Book #1, chapter 55 repeated as chapter 56. I don’t know if anyone else has found this, but I did contact Amazon to report it, and I was told they would file an official report with the publisher.
**Spoilers ahead for all three books**
Book #1. Creed has to face some things from his past, and work to defeat the bad memories from his childhood, as well as someone he thought was dead. I really like Blaze, his “pet” saved from another dimension that has become a loyal companion. Creed’s deal with a demon to save his soul and undo the spell put on him adds more to the story.
Book #2. Creed’s deal with the demon Baal from book 1 continues to bite him in the butt in this book. Now Creed has to find a witch from Baal’s past, one that does not want to be found. Of course, things go awry, placing the witch and Creed’s girlfriend Leona in harm’s way. Creed and Leona’s reunion is heartbreaking, as she finally reveals she has always loved him, but decides to leave to join the FBI, as the supernatural stuff has gotten to be too much for her. Then, just as Creed is about to drown himself in whiskey, a strange light pierces the sky, and Creed has another case.
Book #3. Creed finally goes to Brentwood to help with the cult who is leaking spells and other dangerous things on the internet. The plan is for Creed to infiltrate the cult, and bring them down. The chaos that ensues once the leader of the cult enacts his plans is... well, chaos. Now Creed has to not only stop the lunatic trying to change the world, but those who said plan has affected.
I like how the books are a continuation of each other. In some series, each book seems to be its own, and you know it’ll be wrapped up nice and neat by the end. But not this series. Creed is always working on a case, and each book leads into the next.
Despite my frustrations with typos, I would recommend this series to anyone who likes magic, fantasy, and humor mixed together.