Friday, July 13, 2018

#Review - A Flicker of Steel by Steve McHugh #Fantasy

Series: The Avalon Chronicles # 2
Format: E-Galley, 366 pages
Release Date: July 3, 2018
Publisher: 47North
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Fantasy / Urban

Avalon stands revealed, but the war is far from over. For Layla Cassidy, it has only just begun.

Thrust into a new world full of magic and monsters, Layla has finally come to terms with her supernatural powers—and left her old life behind. But her enemies are relentless.

Sixteen months after her life changed forever, Layla and her team are besieged during a rescue attempt gone awry and must fight their way through to freedom. It turns out that Avalon has only grown since their last encounter, adding fresh villains to its horde. Meanwhile, revelations abound as Layla confronts twists and betrayals in her own life, with each new detail adding to the shadow that looms over her.

As Layla fights against the forces of evil, her powers begin to increase—and she discovers more about the darkness that lies in her past. As this same darkness threatens her future, will she be ready to fight for everything she holds dear?

A Flicker of Steel is the second installment in author Steve McHugh's The Avalon Chronicles. I'll will start with the fact that this story does NOT begin where A Glimmer of Hope ended. Nope! Apparently 16 months have passed, or 2 years since Layla Cassidy was dragged into this world with the murder of her friends and co-workers. I honestly thought the author would pick up right from where he left off with Layla understanding her new powers (ability to manipulate metal) and her relationship with the three spirits (Rosa, Servius, Gyda, and Terhal) she now carries, and her new role that she accepted at the end of the previous installment.

Instead we have Layla and her team in Louisiana hunting for people supplying spirit scrolls to Nergal, the villain of the previous installment. Layla, Chloe Range and their allies are no longer a part of Avalon. They are instead enemies of Avalon and are being hunted down brutally and efficiently. Avalon, for those who haven't read the first installment, are a group of mythological characters and others who once controlled the world from the shadows. Now, with King Arthur around, the world has awakened to the fact that magic, monsters, and mythology are real.

Since we last left Layla, hundreds of thousands have died in attacks around the world. Hades territories are under constant attack, and the one safe space is Greenland. We now have Arthur, Nergal, & Abaddon on one side, while Hades, Persephone, Layla, Chloe, Remy, Diana, Kasey, Tommy, Olivia, Skye & Merlin are the other side. Have you noticed the number of characters who flow in, and flow out of this story? This is the first time for those like Nabu, Irkalla, and Zamek. Oh, and let's not forget about Grayson, err, I mean Lucifer who is supposed to be good. I normally take notes when I read so I remember certain facts and key characters, but even I had had enough by the time the story was wrapping up. 

The point I am trying to make is that there is a whole lot of running, a whole lot of fighting, more running and more fighting, while tossing in betrayal, a father who is known as the All American Ripper, and a shock to Leyla's reality with the return of someone who, well, let's not spoil it. Then, to make things more twisted, the author tosses in another character by the name of Kristin Tusk who works for the villains. Kristin is able to create an almost unlimited supply of her own clones that wreak havoc everywhere they go. I kind of wish Kristin had changed sides and joined Layla. Would be a fantastic ride.

The ending is probably one of the best parts of the story, but it also left with a pretty in your face ending which obviously leads to the third installment. Yes, I will continue. Yes, I will hope that the author doesn't flood us with even more characters. Having not read his previous series, I don't know if this is normal for him or not. Let's hope he changes his ways if it is.

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