In the time after The Black, human survivors of the Southern Claw Alliance clash with vampire legions of the Ebon Cities in a constant war for survival. Earth as we know it has been forever damaged by an arcane storm that fused our world with distant realms of madness and terror. Things that once existed only in our nightmares stalk the earth.
Now, humanity is threatened by one of its own.
Eric Cross, an enlisted warlock in the Southern Claw military, is part of an elite team of soldiers and mages in pursuit of a woman known as Red -- a witch whose stolen knowledge threatens the future of the human race. The members of Viper Squad will traverse haunted forests and blighted tundra in their search for the traitor, a journey that ultimately leads them to the necropolis of Koth.
There, in that haven of renegade undead, Cross will discover the dark origins of magic, and the true meaning of sacrifice...
Experience a dark and deadly new world in the debut novel of the "Blood Skies" series from author Steven Montano. ~From GoodReads
Every now and then, I like to read something out of my “wheel house”. So, when Steve Montano asked me if I would read and review his book, Blood Skies, I happily accepted. . If you’ve read any on my reviews, you can see that Blood Skies is definitely not the genre of book I typically read. When I finish a book, I almost always write a review immediately. Other times, I like to let the book “stew” and then write a review. Blood Skies is the type of book that I needed to let stew.
Blood Skies is what I’ll call an “apocalyptic fantasy”. The story revolves around Eric Cross, who is a warlock and a soldier in the Southern Claw Military. Warlocks and witches have spirits, a visible being who is literally a part of them. The spirit heals, protects and fights for the person they belong to. Cross and his comrades, who includes his sister, Snow, who is a witch, are literally out to save the world. To fully explain the workings of their world would take a review longer than I want to write and definitely longer than you want to read. But here’s what I do want to tell you:
Steve Montano is a writer with a beautiful, poetic style. Montano is somehow able to paint a vivid picture of a bleak world. His world building is stunningly descriptive. His descriptions of the land, the sky, the sometimes terrible creatures who inhabit this world are so consuming, I sometimes had to step back for a bit. The terror had me literally holding my breath.
Besides world-building, the author also did a brilliant job of conveying Cross’ emotions. He gave an in-depth account of the terror and Cross’ struggles to maintain his sanity. Surprisingly, there is also a tremendous amount of love in Blood Skies. Eric Cross has such deep, sometimes shattering love for his team, but especially his sister, Snow, and his spirit. Sometimes, those passages regarding that love almost brought tears to my eyes. I wanted to share a tiny bit:
(Regarding Snow)“…and seeing her there now, so tall, so beautiful, filled him with worry and nearly brought a tear to his eyes.”
(Regarding Spirit) “His spirit still held him as if impassioned, and she was stuck to his skin like lover’s sweat.”
I’ll be the first to say that Blood Skies is not for everyone. But if you’re like me, and want to step out of your comfort zone, Blood Skies is a good place to start.
Published June 10th 2011 by Darker Sunset Press