Detonation Boulevard by Craig Schaefer

Series: The Wisdom’s Gave Trilogy #2 Rating: 4/5
Date of Publishing: August 14th 2018 Genre: fantasy, urban fantasy, magic, science fiction
Publisher: Demimonde Books Available: Amazon
Number of pages: 386 Author’s website: http://www.craigschaeferbooks.com/

Quote of the Book

“Every woman who fights for what she loves, every woman willing to war, and die, and burn to shape her world is a witch. Some just know more secrets than others.”

Blurb

When NYPD detective Marie Reinhart met Nessa Roth, a Manhattan socialite and dabbler in the occult, sparks flew. Then came the gunfire. Nessa and Marie are the Witch and her Knight, characters from a fairy tale brought to life and trapped in an endless curse: to meet, fall in love, and be torn from each other’s arms by violent death, again and again for all eternity. Now they have one slim chance to escape their doom. It lies in Wisdom’s Grave, the resting-place of the first witch who ever lived, and the wellspring of magic.

To find it, they’ll have to cross over two thousand miles of hostile territory from New York to Las Vegas, pursued by the law, the criminal underworld, and a cult of demonic bounty hunters. Their enemies have political power and an army of ruthless assassins. They have a book of black magic, a Cadillac, and a gun.

The American heartland is about to become a war zone. And as portals to other worlds tear open, showing the way to secrets buried since the dawn of time, Nessa and Marie prepare to make their final stand. 

Personal notes

I’ve got a free copy in exchange of an honest review. After finishing up Sworn to the Night I dived right into book 2. I was supposed to read other books, but, uh, you know how it is… When a book calls to you, you can deny its siren song.

Song of the Book

I didn’t have a song in mind while reading/writing the review, so I started to browse my player. First I was thinking about choosing a Breaking Benjamin song, but then decided to switch to Disturbed. I was looking at lyrics of some songs I already knew but none quite fit, so started to pick random ones based on title. The Brave and the Bold seemed like a perfect choice so I stuck with it.

Review

Detonation Boulevard starts off right where Sworn to the Night dropped the string of events. Nessa and Marie are on the run, some badass assassins on their heels hired by Anton Roth, the father of Nessa’s late husband. Jen and Tony right behind them, trying to help their friend against all odds. Harmony Black and Daniel Faust are also joining in the chase, trying to put the pieces together. Harmony Black and her team are still led to believe Daniel is responsible for some horrible mass attacks and murders, though Harmony knows better. Even so, she plays along just to see who moves the strings. Daniel is ordered by the Mourner to guide Nessa and Marie to her because she has an artifact to give to them.

Nessa and Marie are more or less clueless about who are behind them, they concentrate on staying alive long enough to figure out where exactly the Wisdom’s Grave is, as well as getting some answers about their situation, and how to break the curse they and several of their incarnations were punished with. The first person they turn to get answers from is the famous fantasy writer Carolyn Saunders who is apparently unavailable, but they find some clues in her house nonetheless, which leads them to a pub in Chicago that is only open to the magic wielders. They get a gift here which comes in handy later and also this is where some of the plotlines meets.

I’m not going to reveal any more about the plot, let’s just say we get another major player in the game named Ezra, who is also happens to be in a similar situation as Nessa and Marie. He tries to make them all work together to get to the end of matters, but things aren’t really going the way he expects. Also, none of them expected Savannah to turn up and shake things a bit just to make the game more interesting. At the same time, Ezra reveals some secrets and gives us some clues what is going on, and this is also where some science fiction elements are added to this already diverse world. But as many answers are given, just as many questions open up to us and we end up being none the wiser for it.

“Only a fool devalues the power of hope,” she told him. “When all else is lost, it’s the only thing worth clinging to.”

In Detonation Boulevard Schaefer levels up his game and gives us a wider glimpse of the world he built up for his characters. We have fighting scenes as well as funny or emotional ones, and they all fit well. He gives everyone something just to love in this trilogy. Personally I think the book is a bit unbalanced. While the first half focuses on the chase/running ending in a climatic fighting scene, where some plotlines are also dropped – hopefully to be picked up later. The second half is more about discoveries of unpleasant truths and existences. I would have liked this part to be longer to be able to immerse myself in these happenings rather than the chasing, even though there was no filler scenes or ones I’d rather cut, because they are all essential in one way or another. Maybe probably the hotel part, but I’m really just nitpicking here.

As for the characters, I still can’t find myself liking either Nessa or Marie. They are still the ultimate main POVs despite this story having multiple important characters. They are so different that I can’t see how their relationship could work. Nessa is bossy, rash, confident, clearly the stronger party, while Marie lets herself being led and kind of bossed around, even reshape her principles to better fit in the world Nessa imagines. At least we have Daniel Faust, who lightens the mood up with his sarcastic humor and ability to piss of anyone in about 5 minutes upon meeting them. Kudos for him handling the situation like a champ and not starting to ask question the moment they dump shit on him. But then he has bigger concerns than a few crazies chasing them.

“I love this place.” Daniel waved an idle hand, taking in the empty shelves and the tangles of electrical cord. “It has everything. Dust bunnies, creepy dead people, white dudes running around and carving people up with Japanese swords. Who could ask for anything more?”

Detonation Boulevard ends on a quite emotional note, and a bit of a cliffhanger which immediately makes you want to read the third and last book in the trilogy, Bring the Fire. Personally I can’t wait to find out how all the plotlines will meet/remeet and what conclusions Schaefer will draw to the series. At this point about anything can happen, and knowing the author, they will do happen. Detonation Boulevard is a fast paced, action packed middle book, which shows you just enough to make you want more, but holds off all the best parts to give an even bigger punch in the end. Highly imaginative, excellent world building and a story well worth your time.

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