I’m going to preface this review with a complaint I have about YA fantasy fiction in general and about its authors specifically. Why do you have to announce a book as the “first of a series” before you even know if it’s going to be a success? Can you not tell a complete, tightly-woven story with well-developed characters without hedging your bet with promises of more explanation and details to come in the future? Can you not simply follow a logical story arc to its conclusion and then add further material if readers (and publishers) show an interest and demand it? Am I the only reader who resents being told up front (on the cover of the book, actually) that I’m not going to get the whole story by reading the first 364 pages of the series? Sheesh.
This “first book in the Venators series” tells the story of two twins (Rune and Ryker) and an acquaintance (Grey) who discover that they are not your normal college freshmen. In fact they have extraordinary powers that qualify them to enter an alternative dimension that runs parallel to their own, one in which they are forcefully recruited to join a governing council seeking to restore order and control over the resident goblins, werewolves, vampires, dragons, succubi and incubi. As they become aware of who they really are and what is expected of them, they must make life-and-death decisions on whom to trust, how to safely navigate a strange, politically and physically dangerous world, how to master their passions to ensure safety for themselves and those around them, and, ultimately, how to stand for values that are congruent with their true selves.
The writer tells an interesting story that should easily appeal to YA fantasy fans. Language issues are generally of the hell-damn-asshat sort. Sexual references involve family abuse, demons that prey sexually on both men and women, and rape of a kidnapped woman by a pack of werewolves. Violence abounds, as might be expected.
I wouldn’t particularly recommend this one for purchase.