Post-Apocalyptic Dark Fantasy

Every once in a while I have to try something new. This time, it was Faith Hunter‘s Rogue Mage trilogy: Bloodring, Seraphs, and Host. I was blown away by this series – and have found another author I love!

The wordbuilding is cool, something I haven’t run into before and the main character, Thorn St. Croix, is a tiny kick-ass whirlwind without being an over-the-top indestructible machine. Believe me, she has some very, very bad days.

The story begins a little over 100 years following the apocalypse foretold in the Bible (which, amazingly, wasn’t the end of the world). Most of the earth’s population is decimated: through plagues brought by heavenly seraphim to punish humans and through war between seraphs and demons, between humans and demons, and between man and man.

Most great cities were destroyed and people survive in small pockets of civilization with communication and commerce slowly returning. Resources are scarce. Old technologies are being reused and/or repurposed. Oh, and there’s an ice age.  Apparently, Hell – on Earth – froze over.  (I know, I know. But I couldn’t resist!) 

There are several “unforeseen” races which have evolved, one of which are neomages.  The first neomages were born soon after the apocalypse, seemingly perfect humans until they reached puberty and then their abilities to manipulate leftover energies from the time of creation manifested. Needless to say, people freaked out and tragedy occurred. Now, most mages live in Enclaves which protect them from the humans who still fear them but will hire them for their abilities. Enclaves are basically cushy prisons and unlicensed mages running around free are hunted down and killed. Can you guess what the main character is?

Thorn St. Croix is a stone mage able to manipulate the leftover creation energies in all forms of stone. When she first came into her powers, she also developed an  extra ability to read/be open to other mages’ minds. In such a closed community with a large population, she nearly went insane. She was smuggled out of the Enclave before she could be licensed. As an adult, she now makes a home for herself in Mineral City, Carolina, in the Appalachian Mountains, where she fashions jewelry and owns Thorn’s Gems with her two close friends and nobody knows what she really is. Except the Darkness that lives deep under the mountains. It has plans for her, those she loves, the whole town, and even for the High Host.

Although there’s a great deal of traditional Christian iconography as the foundation for these novels, some of the referenced biblical passages are pretty obscure and therefore open to interpretation. Faith Hunter’s creative imagining is impressive and I thoroughly enjoyed her unique ideas and strong voice.

The books are quick, exciting reads – I burned through the first book in two days and the other two not much longer than that! I haven’t read a whole lot of dark fantasy and I’m not sure I could survive on a steady diet of it. But, as a change of pace, I found Thorn and her world very interesting.

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9 comments on “Post-Apocalyptic Dark Fantasy

  1. Sounds interesting, just may have to check ’em out. I’m always on the hunt for new series to devour. Great review!

    P.S. Found notification of the new post in my spam folder (grrrr!) I’d wondered why I hadn’t been receiving automatic updates of your new posts.

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  2. ekcarmel says:

    Hi, Leah! Knowing what a horror fan you are: the descriptions of all the different types of creatures that Thorn has to fight are pretty gruesome. Combinations of insects, etc. grown really big (the ick factor is huge at times). And of course, she has to get in real close with swords and knives to kill them. Though the people she works with get to use some ingenious fire-power. There’s some of it in the first book, but it doesn’t really get into the big bad uglies until the 2nd book. Try it, you may like it.

    After wrangling with the spam issue myself a while back (and losing ALL my email at one point) I just decided to let it all come through and I get rid of anything I don’t recognize. Of course, I guess I’m lucky enough not to HAVE much spam in the first place. Happy hunting for the solution!

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  3. I just met Faith Hunter at Stellarcon over the weekend. She signed one of her books for me. She was on a lot of the panels I attended. Very knowledgeable and very nice. The book is ‘How to Write Magical Words A Writer’s Companion’. She and other writers got together and wrote essays about writing and the business of writing. I can’t wait to start reading the book. In fact you’ve got their link on your blog, lol.

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    • ekcarmel says:

      OMG! I’ve been following the Magical Words website for over a year and I HAVE the book (it’s great by the way, you’ll love it) which is based on what they’ve written on the website! I’ve been wanting to get down there for one of the cons that she and the others from MW are at. Just far enough away from me, though. You are so lucky!

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  4. Five of them were there. Faith Hunter, David Coe, Stuart Jaffe, and Misty Massey all signed the book for me. They were very nice and so knowledgeable. Honestly, I was so tongue tied nothing coherent came out of my mouth the entire weekend. I loved the panels though and learned a lot. I’m looking forward to reading the book.

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  5. P.S. I went to the book launch party they are talking about on the website. It was standing room only! Still tongue tied though. I went long enough to see what it was all about then left.

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    • ekcarmel says:

      I would have loved to have gone! I can understand being tongue-tied though. After seeing these people in print and following their website, I probably will be too, if I ever get to meet them. Was this your first con?

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  6. Oh, yes. It definitely was. I knew they were going to be there but I guess I didn’t expect them to be so accessible. It was nothing to walk down the hall and pass David Coe or Faith Hunter or whoever. When I did I basically swallowed my tongue. I’m sitting here laughing at myself now but it really wasn’t funny then. I was so overwhelmed but I will do it again. The experience was too invaluable not to. Maybe next time I can actually look people in the eye. I don’t think I should try for the coherent word just yet. Lol. Oh, I forgot to mention the editor of Magical Words, Edmund Schubert, was there and signed the book. I liked a lot of what he had to say. I took lots of notes and plan to share.

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  7. ekcarmel says:

    “I took lots of notes and plan to share.” Oh, cool – I will be there for that!

    You know, I’m sure you aren’t the first person to get flustered at a con, nor will you be the last. The important thing is you learned from the whole experience. Now, each time after this it will get easier.

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