Thursday, July 13, 2017
The Holtur Enigma by Cameron Wayne Smith
This is the kind of book that makes one ask just how much can one person go through and survive...in a good way! In a delicate balance between fantasy, adventure and horror this book is a fast-paced journey through what is easily the most hostile and dangerous environment I've read about in a long time.
Vivian Patressi is on a mission to recruit slayers to protect his home of Silverton from an invasion of terrifying serpents. Holtur, a land renowned for its amazing warriors and the Bristrunstium, where monsters are dissected and studied is his best bet. Unfortunately, none of Holtur's slayers are willing to leave as they are constantly under attack from terrible monsters day in and day out. Vivian is no warrior himself but a timid merchant who finds himself woefully unprepared to face the horrors of this strange land. Yet, he's caught up in the whirlwind that is Holtur and must find a way to save his home and family...and survive long enough to get back to them.
Firstly, let me just tell you that there is a great ensemble of characters in this book. Vivian goes through some serious crap in this book and yet his attitude is incredible. He takes everything in stride. When he's told to run, he runs. When he's told to fight, he...tries. That's the beauty about Vivian, he's not perfect. He's out of his element and when there's something he can't do, he really can't do it. He's not just miraculously good at everything on the first try. His struggles are very real and you feel his pain and frustrations, which makes it mean so much more when he gets back up again and just keeps fighting. His development as a character is just wonderful. Also, the slayers are a really fun group. Sonja, the tough female leader, get's no flack for being a woman. She's treated just like another one of the guys and she's actually a really good leader, fearless but also compassionate. Kallum, however, has to be one of my special favorites in this book. Weak-bodied and young looking, he possesses this almost maniac desire to study monsters. He's inventive and cunning and I just loved him!
But the real stars of this show are the monsters. My gosh these things are great! Each chapter is dedicated to fighting some new terror that bursts into this town causes all kinds of death and mayhem. Each one of them is very inventive. The poisonous Grabions, the fog-like Shroud (which brought back some serious Don't Be Afraid of the Dark flashbacks), the ice god, Glacious which takes human sacrifices, the list goes on and on. Each monster, even those who have clear roots in basic monster mythology, are just wonderfully creative and absolutely terrifying. When these things kill, it's not pretty. Lots of victims meet untimely deaths in this book, sadly just as we were getting to know them too. The threat of each one is very real. Each threat is unique and no less horrible.
As with anything that ties into the horror genre, this book is rough at times but in all the appropriate ways. While it never reached the point where I wanted to stop reading, some bits were a little hard to read about and imagine. It gets dark! Every swearword in this thing feels just given what Vivian has to go through and what these slayers go through on a daily basis. That being said, the bold moves of the writing pay off and you go through it with such likable characters you cling onto every word hoping that everyone will be okay. The ending is left open (and ominous) leaving readers longing for that next bit of the story to come.
One wild, dark, crazy ride filled with a fun cast, great character development and wonderfully inventive monsters! I had a lot of fun with this book and can happily say that it is worth your money at your local bookstore!
Have you read the book? What did you think? Comment below and share your thoughts. Have a book you'd like me to read or would like to make a recommendation? Contact me on goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/65448711-michelle-beer
Next time: Origami at its most epic....