Book review stop! Today I’m delighted to be the host for Shadebringer, a horror novel written by Grayson W. Hooper.
First thing first, let me thank the author and the publisher, River Groove Books, for providing me with an e-copy of this book. Much obliged *hat tip*
MEET THE BOOK
Clyde Robbins joins the US Army in 1969 to find purpose in life but quickly learns that in war, life is one’s only purpose. But Clyde dies like countless others before him in a rain of fire and lead, and when he thinks it’s all over—and the curtain draws shut on his final act—he awakens in the strange land of Irgendwo. He quickly meets a gruff German Luftwaffe pilot from the Second World War and a pudgy British doughboy from the First. Together, they take Clyde into the heart of an ancient city ruled by a shadowy cult to settle him into his rigorous new existence. But the cult’s sages discover Clyde is a Shadebringer, a prophesied warrior capable of challenging their power, and the ensuing struggles bring Clyde to the realization that his afterlife is just another war . . . one he cannot lose.
In this thrilling first volume of the Shadebringer series, author Grayson W. Hooper introduces a vivid world of Cronenberg monstrosities, magic, soul-eating children, and the reanimated dead. The Land of Irgendwo is a fast-paced adventure flecked with savage humor, emotion, and true purpose: friends worth fighting for
River Groove Books
Publication date: 11/01/22
READ MY REVIEW
Cover: Evocative. I like the contrast between the shadowed silhouette and the background. Not wild about the color palette.
Talk about surprises. Whenever I pick up a book, the bare minimum I expect from it is a trope paired with a fresh twist. Subtle or blatant, it doesn’t matter, as long as I get something new.
With Shadebringer, Hooper must have read my mind because he pulls one hell of a twist—aaand I’m allowed to talk about it since it’s in the blurb 😀
The plot itself seems straightforward enough, at least at the beginning. Our MC is a soldier who enlists to fight in Vietnam; modern times, a war novel, I dig it. The fact that the pages are steeped in realism is a big plus, too. Then, after Hooper lulls us readers into a false sense of security, there comes the twist. Clyde? Dead as a doornail. Ops. Or, well, not really.
Hooper’s prose doesn’t pull any punches. Clyde is crass, unsympathetic, and even a bit of an asshole—I love him. He reads true to the bone, with his crude language and his cussing; he’s the perfect incarnate of a battle-worn, PTSD-ridden soldier, you know? His tone softens a bit after he dies, but if possible, he becomes even more interesting. The purpose Hooper gives him post-mortem allows him to go through a great character growth arc. Well done.
The cast of characters is rather big, a detail I tend not to appreciate. Here it’s a necessity though, and Hooper handles them all with competence since most of them have a unique voice. A good sense of pacing and a spot-on editing complete the package.
The detail I have to pick apart is the POV. Shadebringer is told in first, but there are a few spots where it shifts to third, and that’s a stylistic choice I’ll never understand. I mean, I get the reasoning behind it, but—no? If I’m living in Character A’s mind, then I’m getting to see things from their perspective only. What happens elsewhere is not of my concern until I’m face to face with [insert scenario here]. Same goes with third limited, eh.
Still, Shadebringer is one hell of a debut. Bring on the sequel! 😀
4 stars on GR.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Grayson W. Hooper is an Army officer and physician.
His experiences in medicine, at home and abroad, have inspired his literary exploration of realms celestial, Chthonic, and everything in between.
This is his first novel.
G. W. Hooper
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