|Series: The Manhunters #1||Rating: 3.5/5|
|Date of Publishing: October 5th 2017||Genre: dark fantasy, grimdark|
|Format: Kindle||Available: Amazon|
|Number of pages: 321||Author’s website: https://jesseteller.com/|
“Sleep came to him tenderly and lovingly. It cradled him in its arms and brought him the scent of her.”
Some of the darkest minds in Perilisc attacked Mending Keep, releasing all its prisoners. Despite his strained relationship with the crown, Rayph Ivoryfist calls old friends to his aid in a subversive attempt to protect King Nardoc and thwart terrorist plots to ruin the Festival of Blossoms. But someone else is targeting Rayph, and even his fellow Manhunters might not be enough to save him.
I received a copy in exchange of a honest review. Thanks for the opportunity to Jesse and Rebekah Teller!
One thing’s for sure: Jesse Teller doesn’t waste readers’ time with easing into the story with some basic word building or character introduction. We are dropped right into the middle with absolutely no idea what is going on. The plot itself is pretty simple. A group of villains broke out of the Mending Keep, a well guarded jail for the like of them. Monsters, murderers, those who try their hands in the dark arts all end up here under the watching eyes of Rayph Ivoryfist, 10.000 years old ex-courtwizard of Lorinth. When he learns the fate of the place he was supposed to ward, he decides to visit some old friends, ask for some favors and so the Manhunters are set up and ready to shove back all the horror where they belong. Rayph’s situation is not exactly easy since he not only has to save his king from himself, but from an assassin, Julius Kriss too. Neither of them is an easy task.
Besides Rayph and his Manhunters we also follow a pair of brothers Konnon and Glyss on their way to earn money by whatever it takes so they could save the only thing that gives Konnon a will to live: his daughter, Bree. Out of all of the characters (and there are a lot) Konnon is the most fleshed out, the one who can really bring out the readers’ emotions be it symphaty, rage, helplessness, sorrow. The one who you can root for and smack him on the head when he is too proud and headstrong to accept help. If it weren’t for him, I would have never finished reading this book probably.
While the story itself is interesting enough and have a lot of potential – the feud between the king and Rayph, his relationship with the other Manhunters, the young prince and Shalimarie, the Spawned Council, Rayph and Kriss’ history – Song fails to deliver what it promised. It feels like things just happen and we get from one scene to the next following Rayph but something is missing. Maybe an extra 100 pages or so to give more backstory to the supporting characters, to give space for them to develop their personalities, bring out their motivations better – Rayph and Julius Kriss included – and just make the reader more engaged in the story emotionally. Filling the book with blood and gore and some monsters is hardly enough these days. And while Rayph’s struggle with his guilt, loyalty, sense of justice and with his king is understandable and feels real, you just can’t make yourself care that much. And what’s with the characters either be scared of something or crying like a baby? I swear more teardrops fell in this book than what I’ve shed in the last 10 years or so (okay, to be fair, I’m not the crying type, so you really have to make me distressed to bring it out of me).
Song is an action driven dark fantasy with a medieval like setting, mages fighting for revenge, for the nation, for everything worth figthing for. It has nasty villains who force Rayph to make morally questionable decisions along the way, some interesting side characters who bring life to the story (Konnon, Shalimarie), more than a handful of dead bodies, vivid pictures (especially about the Gardens) and some unexpected twists toward the end. This book might not appeal to everyone, but despite its faults, you probably won’t be able to put it down – after you got used to the writing and the shock of being thrown in the middle of the story that is.
Will I read the next book? Yeah, probably I will, I want to see if where Jesse Teller takes the story and if it improves or not. Also would like to find out if his style and me really don’t get along or this just wasn’t the right time for me to read Song.
The second book of the Manhunters series, Hemlock is already out now, so when you’ve finished with Song you can go ahead and try that too:
The busiest pirate bay in Perilisc is newly infested with vampires. These monsters will soon overrun the world, but the Manhunters must try to stop them in secret. Agents of the king are hunting Rayph’s vigilante crew. With one false step, they could all end up at a royal execution.
About the Author
Jesse Teller fell in love with fantasy when he was five years old and played his first game of Dungeons & Dragons. The game gave him the ability to create stories and characters from a young age. He started consuming fantasy in every form and, by nine, was obsessed with the genre. As a young adult, he knew he wanted to make his life about fantasy. From exploring the relationship between man and woman, to studying the qualities of a leader or a tyrant, Jesse Teller uses his stories and settings to study real-world themes and issues.
He lives with his supportive wife, Rebekah, and his two inspiring children, Rayph and Tobin.