In this debut novel and series starter, the last member of a murdered House searches for a missing nobleman, and uncovers clues about his own tortured past.
Rune Saint John, last child of the fallen Sun Court, is hired to search for Lady Judgment’s missing son, Addam, on New Atlantis, the island city where the Atlanteans moved after ordinary humans destroyed their original home.
With his companion and bodyguard, Brand, he questions Addam’s relatives and business contacts through the highest ranks of the nobles of New Atlantis. But as they investigate, they uncover more than a missing man: a legendary creature connected to the secret of the massacre of Rune’s Court. In looking for Addam, can Rune find the truth behind his family’s death and the torments of his past.
Ah well, that was fun!
I was expecting this to be pure Fantasy (I totally ignored the gun on the cover!), but it’s actually taking place in our world. There are cars, computers, guns etc. The setting is the rebuilt city of Atlantis, it is hidden from human eyes and houses all kinds of magical creatures and beings. The most powerful Atlanteans are divided into different houses, that reference a deck of tarot cards. They can wield magic and have special ‘Aspects’, that differ from person to person. Those are kind of their hidden powers. They use magical artifacts to store spells and protection and from shooting fire, to putting up invisible defenses, there’s a LOT they can do.
It’s really imaginative – I totally loved the city of ‘New Atlantis’, which is built from bits and pieces all over the world. Mostly ruins the humans wouldn’t miss. The Atlanteans SEEM human at first, but once they show their aspect, they can appear in any kind of shape or form. They can grow wings, shoot fire from their eyes etc. There’s goblins, golems, snow fairies – anything you can think of. I liked the attention to detail, which made New Atlantis very lively.
Your first impression is, that this is a crime & detective story and it definitely is that. But it also is so much more. The characters accomplish their goals and get rid of the threat, so there’s no open ending. But it opens up a whole new world and new questions so the stage for the next novels is set!
I immediately fell in love with the characters. It’s written from the pov perspective of Rune Saint John, the last survivor of the Sun Court who takes on odd jobs here and there. He’s a pretty good magic wielder, who appears confident, but also slightly awkward and has a pretty awful past that he still can’t deal with. He’s living and working together with his companion Brand, who also works as Rune’s bodyguard. He’s a real life killing machine, super skilled, protective and an absolute badass. He is really sarcastic and has a dry sense of humour and let me tell you – the banter was excellent! There is also a lot of swearing. Every second sentence includes the f-word I feel. But it didn’t bother me. It kinda fit.
A normal job went like this: I went somewhere I shouldn’t, I tried not to get caught, and if I did, Brand shot someone in the head.
Brand was probably my favourite character. In his role as companion he is connected to Rune since birth. I don’t know exactly how it works, but he can feel Rune’s emotions and knows where he is. Whether he is in danger or hurt or sad etc. I don’t think he can really hear his thoughts though.. That would be awkward.
Their relationship was soo special! It’s not romantic at all (at least not yet..), but it’s a bond that goes way deeper than that and is something more. And really, I think this is the slowest of slow-burns. Rune is always thinking about Brand first, even when there’s another love interest involved. He is always his priority.
All of the side characters were pretty awesome as well. Whether it was Max, the awkward teenager Rune is stuck with or Quinn, the talented seer, who also gets slightly confused and can’t manage his talents – they all add to the story and make it so much more fun. I also liked the mysterious Lord Tower, Rune’s employer and Ciaran who helps the team out here and then.
We come across a lot of action scenes. They weren’t bad, but sometimes it was a bit too much. We basically stumble from one fight into another and for me it was the quiet scenes, the conversations between the characters and how they dealt with one another that made the book. It has a lot of funny scenes and dialogues, but don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty dark and there’s descriptions of rape, so if you don’t like it, here’s a warning. It also includes male on male sex scenes. The sex scenes don’t take up a lot of time though and are not awkward at all. I was really happy with it even though I wasn’t a fan of the love interest^^
You don’t find a lot of female characters in the book, certainly not main players. But it didn’t bother me. At no point did I feel like it was missing something. The cast of characters was so interesting, it made up for having no cool women.
It was a wild ride, a colourful spectacle, with lots of action and magic, very imaginative but with enough depth and interesting characters. Maybe a couple too may action scenes and the love story did not work for me. I don’t think it was necessary and Addam was the weakest character if you ask me.
Brand thought about it. ‘And at what fucking point did it seem like a good idea to tear your shirt off? Were you actually standing on a mound of bodies when you did it?’
‘ It burned off.’
‘I’m cancelling Cinemax.’
‘I was on fire. It burned.’
I give it 4/5 Stars and will look forward to part 2.