Marius Winter doesn’t walk the road of the shaman-warrior alone. He has powerful allies in the Other Realms and in ordinary reality. His spirit guides are a Lakota war-chief and medicine man, First In Front; Tigre, a powerful feminine spirit who appears as a white tiger; and Burt, a spirit raven who channels an old Jewish bookie from the Bronx.
Now Marius is targeted by a powerful sorcerer. In the battle for the souls of his friends and lover, he must storm the gates of the underworld and fight through the Seven Demi-Demons of Hell to the deepest dungeons to confront Belial himself.
I found myself skimming and skipping most of this book. The first two-thirds seemed your standard urban fantasy with a supernatural flare, demons and angels, the old Holy War, tied into or growing out of the Fall of Atlantis. The dialogue was forced and re-used one-liner clichés poorly. After about the sixth time I’d read a ‘one-liner’ I just about gave up. I forged on, but the ‘pay off’ didn’t pay as much as just felt off.
Too many shamanic info dumps repeated throughout the book. Once was enough. Don’t beat me over the head with your medicine man totem pole. At least one or two entire chapters could have been cut for this reason alone. Another over-used plot device was the nerdy pop culture references to science fiction and fantasy novels, movies and television shows, blatantly stealing those references to ill effect.
Starting in Chapter 25, the story devolves into the standard video game leveling up to the big boss showdown. Again, I about called it quits. But when I agree to review a book for NetGalley, I’m in for the long haul, even if I choke on it. Even a laughing congenially Jesus couldn’t save this ending.
My thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read this eARC, released last week from Baen.