Thank you to the author Mike Morris for the ecopy of Cry Havoc in exchange for review. I apologize for the lengthy wait.
|Series: Jack Frey #1||Genre: Fantasy|
|Date of Publishing: July 17th 2017||Publisher: Self-Published|
They say when the demons come, you either fight or you die.
The Black Dogs know this all too well. For three hundred years, the warrior priests have sacrificed their lives to keep the island nation of Abios safe from the flesh-eating Nostros, while the rest of the world fell under the demons’ savagery. However, an armada now stands poised to invade mankind’s last bastion.
Child thief Jack Frey is saved from the gallows and joins the mysterious order. Trained with the bullet and the blade, Jack finds himself on the front-line of a centuries-old war.
Across the Angel Sea, Lin is fighting for her life. As a slave of the Nostros, she knows death can strike at any time, either at the hands of her masters or her fellow humans.
Little do they know mankind’s fate lies in both their hands.
Fans of Peter V. Brett and Brent Weeks will love CRY HAVOC.
Dive in to a dark and refreshing fantasy epic you won’t be able to put down.
“I want them to join the Order. Become novices. They will be well fed, given warm beds, taught to read and write, raised in all the ways of God and our Order.”
“To fight monsters?”
“Perhaps. All are trained but not all answer the call. Only the best are ordained as warriors. It is a hard road but one with hope. The alternative…” Aidan gestured at their surroundings.
Jack didn’t understand all of what was said. Aidan wanted Brendan and him to fight monsters? He didn’t want to do that even if he got three meals a day.
Feel invincible by Skillet
For Lin – when they go back and she has friends at her back.
Cry Havoc is like the best kind of popcorn reading! Edge of your seat action, explosions, powder guns, some good, bloody death scenes, and you can’t help but love Jack and Lin.
We meet Jack and Lin as children –
Jack during his time running around with his older brother Brendon, stealing to get by until he gets himself into a bit of trouble and The Black Dogs: Knights of the Order of St Stephen, step in to offer a better life. The Black Dogs fight against the Nostros (basically jacked-up vamps) and do most of their recruiting of young boys that are living on the streets or from families that just getting by). Jack is then taken to learn and train, until he can earn his spot within the order. Jack is an understandably angry young boy but he is a good kid underneath and the opportunities given to him through the Order turn him into a good man.
And Lin, who is our window into the Nostros’s world, where she is one of the human slaves (which is the long straw of the lot when one of your other choices could be a dinner invitation- theirs not yours). She struggles to survive in a place where the odds are pretty low of living through the day, much less to any ripe old age. She’s clever, adaptable, and cares about her little “family” of workers. I loved Lin a lot.
I would say the first third of the book is giving us the background on these two characters while time jumping us up until they’re adults. We learn a lot about their lives, their personalities, and their world during these jumps.
And I think a lot of why Jack and Lin worked for me so well was because of getting to watch them grow up and survive while still keeping that innocence and goodness underneath, as their outer shells harden up over the years.
The story never lags. The world-building leans on things we recognize (crusades/the church/jacked-up vamps etc.) to do some of the heavy lifting, couple that with the on the fly character building it keep things moving along at a steady-paced build until it turns into this train-ride of adrenaline and anxiety.
That sequence in the middle was my favourite part. It was a huge adrenaline rush and slightly terrifying- I could not read fast enough in my worry over the people that I had come to know, hoping for that miracle they desperately needed.
I loved the 80’s movie feeling to the ending – giving us lots of damage but a few things to be surprised about (one that I hoped would happen and was very glad when it did) mixed-in with possibilities for fun follow-ups. In other words, if I didn’t already know there were sequels, I’d have been happy with the outcome.
Cry Havoc was not as dark all-around as He Who Fights by the same author, but Cry Havoc does not shy away from the horror and blood and there are a couple good squicky scenes (some even with children) that might bother some. It is Vampires folks; huge, domineering, remorseless, flesh-eating nasties. You’re going to cheer when these brutes die.
I said yes, to this review request solely on the strength of how much I enjoyed He Who Fights. I don’t think I even looked to see what this book was about.