I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Wise Ink Creative Publishing on Dec 8, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Light Romance, Magic, Young Adult
Source: the author
It has been six hundred years since the Alchemists fused together men and beasts to form strong, mindless slaves. Now, their most vicious creations have attacked the mystical Walking Gates, slaughtering their Keepers and isolating their cities. Wounded in the brutal attack, Braxton Prinn’s mother is on the verge of death and he makes a desperate journey to find the reclusive elven master who can save her. But when he discovers an ancient magic, Brax is caught up in an even greater struggle and soon finds himself hunted for his power. Drawn into the chaos of an impending war and pursued by enemies on all sides, Brax must fight to save his mother and her race from slipping into darkness. Though his untamed magic may be the greatest threat of all . . . Amazon • Buy the Book •
The main character, Brax, thinks he is going to live a relatively normal life working in his father’s smithy until creatures attack his city. Then he’s thrown upside down with learning that his wounded mother isn’t entirely human, he’s the heir to his grandfather’s magical sword, and he’s about to go to war.
Ruskin is rough and often grumpy dwarf. He was a close friend of Brax’s family before the story started, and during the story more and more of his past was revealed. He probably became my favorite character out of the book.
Gavin is a friend of Brax’s who, along with his dog Bear, is seeking revenge for what happened in their city. He’s a little hot-headed, but more suited for fighting and traveling than Brax.
Penton is the older brother of the two, and even though they do occasionally cross paths during their journeys, most of the time they have separate quests. It’s a little disappointing that the brothers don’t really get to fight along side each other- it missed out on a great opportunity for epic brotherly love.
Phinlera is Brax’s childhood friend and obvious crush. She’s a real free spirit, and a bit happy-go-lucky at times, but she doesn’t just sit around when a fight is going on either.
The plot is fairly simple for an epic fantasy, but lined with side plots and loads of character development. Brax is not the best fighter or magic wielder to start, and it’s great to see the change in his character along his journey. It does get a bit slow in the beginning and sometimes repeats certain parts, but once the story takes offs you get hooked and can really dig in. There are plenty of colorful characters that only had a small parts to play in this book, and I’m hoping that they make an appearance in the sequels and we learn more of their stories.
Two large, muscular beasts stood behind the flames and slightly to one side, another lying further back and to the left.
They occasionally entered the Spine to hunt, wearing totems for protection that never worked, and his kin always defeated them. There hadn’t been any significant intrusion in almost six hundred years—not since the Breath of the Dragon wiped out their valley.
“So what ya doing in the mountains?” Thrag mumbled to himself, studying their bull-like faces. They had furs and leather jerkins covering their human bodies, and their weaponry was too advanced for a hunting party. Sentries, he concluded. But for what?
He needed to find out and report in, and they were too dangerous to be left alone. Unstrapping his giant battleax from across his back, he loosened the throwing weapon in his belt. Clenching his jaw, he readied to charge, then stopped. He couldn’t see into the trees. Normally, he wouldn’t care, but this time he had to be sure. Someone had to report, and something about this already had his beard on edge.
Turning around, he put his back against the boulder where he hid and called. A long, peaceful sound echoed among the rocks. He knew the Mins would hear it, even though he was downwind, but he wasn’t worried—he’d been a ranger for more than sixty years and could imitate nature’s calls. His sound was strong and true, riding the wind between the mountain pines and craggy valleys before fading away. He repeated it a few more times, then waited. As expected, the Mins ignored it. Minutes passed, and he watched the trees. Then a branch moved. Against the wind. His companion was closer than he’d thought, as usual.
Time to go.
Thrag burst from the rocks, hurling his smaller ax at the Minotaur on the right as he sprinted across the clearing. The weapon hit the beast square in the forehead, felling him. The other Min grabbed its weapon and brayed loudly. Thrag leapt up onto a stump directly opposite the fire, using the smoke to obscure his approach, and launched himself at the beast. He came through the screen with his battleax held high above his head in both hands, yelling as he appeared. The creature raised its halberd to block the strike, but Thrag’s ax smashed into it, splitting the shaft in two. The Min stepped back to steady itself, but the dwarf wasn’t slowing. He landed in front of it, bringing his weapon around and striking diagonally across, hitting the Min below the knee and severing its leg. The creature bellowed a horrific call, falling onto its newly formed stump. The third Min was up now, a spear in hand and coming to the fight. It pulled its arm back preparing to skewer the dwarf, but a dark form hit it from behind, sending the creature hurtling past Thrag. The dwarf ignored it. He thrust the top of his weapon straight up, hitting the crippled Min under the chin and jolting its head back. Raising his battleax again in both hands, Thrag struck down with his formidable strength, burying the blade deep into the Min’s chest, killing it.
He turned to look for the remaining beast. It hung from the massive jaws of a giant, sleek, charcoal-gray leopard standing eye level beside him.
“About time you helped,” Thrag admonished, looking into his companion’s enormous eyes.
The leopard gently lay the dead Min down on the ground without making a sound and stared back at the dwarf.
Thrag rocked his head from side to side. “Well . . . thanks,” he said.
Interview with Jeff J. Peters
Question: How long have you been writing?
Jeff: To be honest, all my life. Well, at least seriously since I was a teenager. I’m constantly creating new ideas for worlds, events and characters, and love writing dialogue. I also think my extensive corporate experience has helped a lot. While not fantasy (although sometimes it feels that way), most corporate positions require a ton of writing. Yes, even in IT. So I’d encourage everyone to keep practicing. It’s a skill you’ll use all your life.
Question: Do you ever have writer’s block and if so, how do you overcome it?
Jeff: While writing Cathadeus, I never really suffered from writer’s block. I did wrestle at times with how to convey a particular concept or event, but never had a lack of ideas of what to write about, or what should come next in the story. Whenever I start for the day, I read the previous few chapters of the book I’m working on. This always gets my creative juices flowing and makes me excited to write.
Question: In today’s tech savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop. Have you ever written parts of your book on paper?
Jeff: I definitely do most of my writing on computer. However, I also keep a notebook nearby, and often hand write story ideas, character names and dialogue. This prevents me from forgetting something specific that I want to include, and I don’t have to wait until I get to my computer to jot it down. I’d encourage every aspiring author to keep a notepad beside their bed, as many great ideas often come to you while not specifically thinking about writing.
Question: What are you currently working on?
Jeff: I’m writing Sotchek, the second book in The Walking Gates series. This picks up a few months after the end of Cathadeus, and I’m focused on the first half of the story, with some later sections to tie in as well. I’m also writing brief sections of the third book, and have large portions of the story arc developed. Once I get the opening chapter of Sotchek polished a bit more, I hope to post it to my web site. I’ve received some terrific responses from my beta readers, so hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much.
Question: Aside from writing, what are your other interests?
Jeff: I love to travel, and have had the good fortune of being able to visit more than two-dozen countries across six continents. I’d highly encourage every person, regardless of age or background, to visit another country. Seeing the way other people live, talking with locals, and experiencing new cultures not only gives you a greater appreciation for what you do have, but also helps you to understand why certain events occur in the world. Like reading, travel is one of those great rewarding experiences that teaches you so much about yourself, while opening your mind to ideas you may never have considered. So take the plunge, go somewhere new, and learn as much as you can about other people – even in your own country.
Win a hardcover copy of Cathadeus by Jeff J. Peters. One winner will also get a $25 Amazon.com gift card and a poster of the map or cover spread (open internationally to wherever Amazon delivers – 3 winners)
Ends Feb 10!