*I received a complimentary copy of this book, and I’m leaving a voluntary review*
Plot: Demon hunter Harsk and his riders adopt half-human half-demon Kait, adventures follow.
The longer version: The world’s gone under (I think). Texas managed to stay out of the conflict, the war, or whatver it was that was going on. Magic became a thing somehow, after the war, and other races emerged – elves, dwarves, ogres, trolls. Though these races and humans seem to fight between themselves sometimes – it’s the demons who are the real enemy. The demons from the Pit.
Harsk and his Ride are renowned demon hunters. They stroll from town to town, taking on whatever missions/contracts people have for them – killing demons whereever they find them. Until they happen upon a woman who’s pregnant – with a demon.
Kait is the name of the child, Kait Demonborn – and fast forward a few years and she’s also a part of the Ride. Trying her very best to prove herself, prove that she’s worthy, prove that she isn’t evil, and prove that she belong in this world as much as anyone else. Much of this book is about Kait trying to find herself as much as any other adventure she and the Ride seeks out. And Harsk is trying to help her in whatever way he can.
Review: The first third of the book is an introduction to what happened, to the world, to Texas – explaining where magic came from, and how the world came to be what it is. As you might gauge from the paragraph above, I was a bit confused about parts of it. It might just be me, but I didn’t quite get what the war was, and though the history of the state of Texas – and how all texans are awesome is very detailed and elaborately put forth, I didn’t quite grasp how magic came into existance, or where the other races came from. But don’t take this to mean that I thought it was a bad thing! I really liked the way it was told, half of it explained, half of it told as if I was supposed to know what was going on – it was like someone trying to retell their favourite story to me, one they’d heard over and over ago since they were young.
The other two thirds of the book tell the stories of Kait and Harsk, and the Ride, and the adventures they go on. These stories jump from time to time a lot, there are pretty large chunks missing in between how they got from A to B, and in one sense it felt like it was 5-6 shorter stories I was reading, except for one larger one. A kind of “the best of Kait and Harsk”. But it was amazingly written, and beautifully told. There wasn’t an overcomplicated element of world-building, or long relays of background information. It was just the story then and there that counted.
And most of it is about killing demons. Hunting and killing demons. But in the background, through it all, it’s also about Kait and Harsk. About who Kait is, where she came from, and what role she’s supposed to play in this world. And about Harsk, and why he’d let this one, single, halfblood demon baby live.
It was a magical story, a unique blend of dystopia, fantasy and an element of the Wild West. I really really liked it. And the book was illustrated throughout with beautiful black and grey illustrations of key scenes, which really set the mood and fleshed out the story.
A great book that I’d recommend for any fan of fantasy, albeit a bit short.
Also – I really want a gobhorse.