Monday, August 28, 2017

Enter into The World of Magic...If You Dare... The Spirit Mage by Layton Green!

Come, turn Merlin's Magic low as background sounds coming from another universe...

A typical 19th Century depiction of Merlin by his cave at Tintagel

New York City. Valjean Blackwood checked his watch once again. A twitch of the wrist that had become an obsession over the last few days, ever since his younger brothers had traveled through a one-way portal to the citadel of a feared necromancer named Zedock. Will and Caleb were trapped in a dark fantasy version of Earth— and Val had no idea how to help them. 
According to Salomon, an old man with silver eyes who might be a crackpot and who might be a two-thousand year old wizard of immense power, time passed at a different rate in Zedock’s world. Presently, a ratio of sixty days in the other world for every one on Earth. Which meant, if the time differential held, that his brothers had been trapped on Urfe for months. At best, they had found a way to escape but were stranded. And at worst . . . 
Val, too, had visited the other world. When he and his brothers had found Zedock’s fortress at the end of their journey, they were forced to pole through a swamp full of undead creatures reaching mindlessly out of the water, horrific creations of the necromancer. So Val didn’t want to think about the worst. Reeling from lack of sleep, shaking with rage and impotence, he stared at the sprawl of Manhattan outside the fiftieth-floor window of his law office and thought about how impossible it seemed that there was another dimension, or world, or universe out there from which Val had narrowly escaped. A world of manticores and cave fiends, magic swords and potions, spirit mages and necromancers. Wizard-monks who could shatter walls with their fists, a city of colored spires so beautiful it had taken his breath away. 
His eyes slipped to the staff hidden behind his desk. Five feet of fortified oak topped by a crescent moon of azantite, a milky-white stone so thin and strong a professional jeweler said it shouldn’t exist. A staff Val’s father had left for him before he died. A wizard’s staff. 
Someone knocked on the door. Val blinked away his exhaustion. “Come in.” With hooded eyes, Val watched Mari Winslow step through the door in red-rimmed glasses and a grey pantsuit that clung to her svelte figure. A half-American, half-Swedish brunette, Mari was only five years older than Val’s thirty-one but already head of the powerful Compensation Committee. She was also Val’s mentor, and was probably checking in to see why he hadn’t left his office for two days straight. Just what I need, he thought...
“What is it, Mari?” he said wearily. 
“How’s the Myrddinus research coming?” Val stilled. The Myrddinus was a secret society dedicated to the exploration of magical phenomena, and his only hope of reaching his brothers. 
Val’s godfather, Charlie Zalinski— the man who had told Val and his brothers about Urfe, before he was turned into a zombie by Zedock— had claimed to be a member of the Myrddinus, along with Val’s father. Despite his best efforts, neither Val nor his junior associate had turned up anything about the Myrddinus other than what Val already knew, which was that Myrddin might refer to a Welsh historical figure who may or may not have inspired the Arthurian legend of Merlin. 
“Fine,” Val said, wondering how Mari knew what he was researching. Her mouth curled into a smirk. 
“Myrddinus. A strange name for a research project...”
Val willed his thoughts away when he reached his building. He took the elevator to the fifty-fifth floor and strode down the deserted hallway to Mari’s office. She was sitting behind a pile of documents stacked neatly on her desk, looking fresh and alert. When Val walked in, her eyes latched on to his staff like a cobra mesmerized by a snake charmer. “Nice walking stick,” she said. “Bad knees?”
Val sat across from her, deciding not to mince words. He rarely did. “If you knew who I was, why’d you wait so long to approach me?”
 “Your father’s instructions. He asked us to hold off until you exhibited an interest in finding us.” 
Val balled his fists to control his anger, reminding himself she wasn’t aware of his brothers’ plight. Or was she? 
“Obviously, your father didn’t tell you very much. You don’t know anything about us, do you?”
“How many of you are there?” She shrugged. “In North America? A few handfuls.” She rose to throw a red leather jacket over slacks and a form-fitting black sweater. “Let’s take a walk.” 
“To the home of the Myrddinus in New York City, of course. I think you’d be an asset to the organization, and we have something you might be interested in.” 
Val folded his arms. “Stop being coy, Mari. 
What is it?” 
“Your father left something for you.”

My review of the first book was meant to establish the basic storyline and an overview of the first trip to an alternative universe where, specifically, they were still located in New Orleans on earth, but in an entirely different universe. A universe which was inhabited by all things magic! I'll be sharing about those this time!

The three brothers had made it home but were too late to save their godfather and when they confronted the necromancer, a major exodus--dead man rising--from cemeteries occurred! Zedoc had called up his entry into his own world and only two brothers, plus a friend, had been able to follow him... Now Van was back in New Work, trying to find out how to get to his brothers... His godfather had mentioned the Myrddinus society and he'd been trying to find information on the group... Only to have his boss come right out and ask him about his research! Soon Van was entering into the domain of that very society!

In the meantime, the two brothers, plus Yasmina, a close friend of Caleb, had been successful in killing Zedoc, but the portal had been destroyed! They were now in search of New Victoria (New Orleans) with no way back home...and the magical guardians of Zedoc's castle were now coming for them... First a knight in full shining armor...but was there anything inside?! 

Escaping, they made it to a boat and moved forward into a swamp... All the bugs, sounds, and terror of the swamp was bad enough but soon they were surrounded by a being much like a goblin... One picked up Will and held him on the side like a football, taking his sword, and moving on to find the camp and the others...Interestingly, somehow Will had picked up some bit of his wizardry and was able to understand their language... This certainly was going to help, especially later on!

Back in New York, Van had accepted that his boss was going to be able to help him get to his brothers and traveled to a strange place where those who followed Merlin met... There was a portal there and, though Van tried to go alone, Mari ran and followed land in a place nobody would willingly go... the slums in New Victoria, where the Wizards placed everybody who did not have sufficient magic to become one of the Congregation... Van grabbed Mari and, apologizing, quickly moved to leave behind what were thieves, murderers, and other types of beings who had no other place... 

Mari never made it out...

Captured as slaves to be sold, the goblins moved on to reach the far mines where anybody they discovered would be put to work in the deep mines far below the surface...but even on that trip, dangerous beings tried to take their lives, like giant spiders who came silently, wrapped their prize and scurried back to the central web where those captured would serve as meals whenever a spider got hungry, eating them alive as needed...

There are lots more magical monsters to see, but I thought I'd share one of our heroines...she was also a slave in the mines, and Will was able to understand her words...she was crying for help and indicated she would help save whoever helped her... I loved the introduction of this character who had also been stolen from her home, which was a very hot location even deeper than the mines! So maybe the place there is called...Hell... and we now know the back story...?

Van, Will and Caleb have some form of magical abilities and each had weapons left by their father...but none of them had ever learned about their full capabilities... Van and Will are learning to use their weapons...Caleb is a man of peace that tries to follow his moral compass, but still participates to save those in danger.

Most of the time I prefer reading books rather than movies to get the full story; however, these books are made to be seen as well as read! The magical scenes are fantastic, the creatures from the alternative planet are uniquely designed so readers will stop to think through what these alternative planet beings might look like... and we even find that some who we thought had been killed in the first book, have fought their way back home! Would love to see these books in movie form!

The adventures of the Three Brothers, together with those friendlies who team up with them as they fight for freedom and escape are edge-of-your-seat excitement as trial after trial is brought forth and won...

Only problem...this book is not available until September 15th~
My advice, if you haven't already read the first, hold onto it and get the second book...I guarantee you will want to begin and continue through both books together if at all possible... But wouldn't you know it, Green gives us another cliff-hanger as the second book ends! I have only one comment: Layton Green, Write Faster!

Fantasy, SciFi, and horror Thriller fans should all check this series out... Both books have been fantastic and I'm already looking forward to the next in series. Highly recommended. In the meantime, I'll be reading Written in Blood, coming in November! You really need to check out Author Layton Green if you have not read any of his books yet! He's on my favorite author list now!


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