The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Steven Montano

July 31, 2012 at 2:35 am (dark fantasy, Reviews, writing) (, , )

Tales of a Blood Earth – by Steven Montano

I haven’t had as much opportunity to read lately because of narration commitments, looming short story deadlines and day-job overtime, but I’m still trying to squeeze a bit in here and there. This short sampling of the Blood Skies backdrop gave me something I could manage with what little time I had. Steve has an interesting way of setting a stark, grim scene. The choppy sentences in the opening chapters capture the drudgery and single-mindedness of Rooke’s situation quite well, bold and to the point. As a prisoner slave, her thoughts are focussed on doing as she is told and trying to minimize her suffering. Then we discover that her task is to unearth a vampire, which they do, many of them in fact, and the story leads us down a darker path from there, one complicated by warlocks, Revengers, and a very special throne. Eventually, Rooke goes through a change that I hadn’t predicted.

I liked the story quite a bit but I prefer storylines that are grim and brooding, so it fit well with my tastes. I also don’t care how much passive voice is used, although I think the flow would have been a bit better with a few more transitional phrases and conjunctions, at least once past the introduction of the tale and description of Rooke’s predicament. For those who are more particular about writing style (style-Nazis would cringe at the number of sentences beginning with “It was…”) or don’t draw as much pleasure from the bleak plot, they might not see as much appeal in this. If you fit those descriptions, this story’s not for you.

I, however, felt that this was an intriguing sample of Montano’s work and I definitely want to read the second story offering as well as the Blood Skies novel. The characters are well-defined, the imagery is striking without being overbearing, and the tone is deliciously primal. If you enjoy these elements and a real sense of danger and magic, you’ll enjoy this tale.

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