What a fantastic story. The action never stops and there isn’t a dull moment. The good guy – or good woman in this case – is completely likeable without the author portraying her as perfect. As for the villains, I couldn’t help but think, “Will this guy ever die?!”, making for an engrossing read.
Sonja Bluwahlt is a captain in the slayer corp that protects the town of Holtur from the nasty things that live and hunt in the area. Rock golems are the first monster introduced and, as the name states, are living stacks of rocks shaped like men. They are not unknown to Sonja, as she goes to battle and is very successful. Suddenly, they are attacked by rolling rocks, which are actually rolling Slater-beasts, who happen to have an unbelievable stench. They prove to be more of a challenge, but that is the life of a Slayer. If it’s not one strange monster, it’s two.
When their commander falls ill, he places Sonja in charge, which is the last thing she wants. She prefers fighting and having everyone do their part. Plotting and planning battles, knowing all the ins and outs of being in command, are not what she wants to be doing. Winter is a time of boredom for Slayers, as hibernation is usual for most creatures, except for humans. During the summer months, the Slayers are kept very busy, since everything seems to enjoy the warm weather and share the desire to destroy humans. Sonja’s Slayers are strong, versatile men who respect her reluctant leadership. Still, she’ll be glad when the commander is well enough to resume his position. In the meantime, they have not done too badly on their own. For some reason, the town of Holtur attracts monsters, keeping them occupied, and they have never battled another human and don’t expect to. Just the pesky monsters and oddities.
Word of an unbelievably large army heading for Holtur arrives. Along their way, the army kills everyone and burns everything to the ground. No Slayer or citizen can quite believe that it can be so massive and cannot imagine what they would want with Holtur. It’s not too many days before they realize they are in tremendous trouble. The mystery army is even bigger than the first reports and seem to cover every bit of land the Slayers can see from atop Holtur’s walls. Sonja wishes that all of her Slayers were accounted for, but more than one have gone missing on scouting patrols, never to be seen again. One such individual is Rigst, an accomplish Slayer who has his sights set on Sonja. She has a rule to never mix work and romance, but Rigst is someone she couldn’t resist. Unfortunately, his disappearance nearly breaks her heart, but she refuses to dwell on that. She must appear as strong as ever to the others, especially when facing their potential downfall.
This story has a timeline that moves back and forth – three months ago to the present to two months ago, etc. I’m not sure why authors like to write in this fashion when there is a chance for confusion. This book handles it better than many, though, and the author controls the story very well. I was only occasionally forced to contemplate where I was in the timeline. There is a surprising amount of intelligence displayed by the Slayers when they encounter their enemy, and that is not meant as an insult. The plot is absorbing and no shortcuts are taken. In fact, some of the action didn’t end when it could have, but there is no boredom, as there is always a twist right around the corner.
- Genre and general reading age – Action-packed fantasy for older teens and adults.
- Level of sexuality – Low. There isn’t much opportunity to fit it into their busy days.
- Is there graphic language? No.
- Did I cry? No.
- Did I laugh? No.
- Is this part of a series? This is book two of The Holtur Trilogy.
- Level of character development – They are finely honed. The author’s talent is clearly visible in this one.
I highly enjoyed this book and it is great entertainment. I give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 stars.