In the sequel to The Last Raven, Lucas Rurik confronts a cult determined to remake the world—no matter the cost—in this urban fantasy noir from the author of the Hellequin Chronicles.
Lucas Rurik is no stranger to navigating the tricky territory between humans and those touched by the rift. After all, as the last surviving member of the Raven Guild, protecting the peace is his job. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
As much as Lucas would like to be out hunting for Dr. Callie Mitchell—a deranged scientist with a bad habit of experimenting on the rift-fused—his friends at the Rift-Crime Unit require his expertise on a perilous case. It seems a mysterious kingpin known as the Croupier has been making some shady deals, and revenants, riftborn, and humans alike are winding up dead in the process. Now, with the help of chained revenant Nadia and FBI-agent-turned-revenant Emily West, it’s up to Lucas to track down the anonymous crime lord before anyone else is hurt.
But as Lucas gets closer to his target, he discovers this is no ordinary manhunt. The Croupier is leading a dangerous group of zealots who want to destroy both the rift and humanity—and they’ll stop at nothing to make their so-called Blessed plans a reality.
As a fan of the The Last Raven, I came into book two with high expectations. Thankfully, I was not disappointed! Blessed Odds takes the story to a whole new level by pushing Lucas and those around him to new heights of madness as they fight human bear mutants, uncover an ancient cult, and discover what is really going on behind all the crimes that are causing chaos on Earth. McHugh has really taken the noir genre into a new direction with his Riftborn series, akin to the Dresden Files, and I’m here for it!
Other than Sherlock Holmes and a little Dresden Files, I am not one to look for detective noir stories while perusing the shelves of my local bookstore. Yet, I find myself invested and hooked into The Riftborn series in a way I haven’t been for any other series in awhile now. Steve is a wonderful writer who is able to make characters that are fun and entertaining that I just really enjoy reading about. He also is able to write a story that is truly worth investing your time in for its creativity, mystery, great dialogue and action scenes.
Book two picks up not long after the end of book one. The characters are looking to pursue the mystery of Callie Mitchells rift mutants but find themselves suddenly unraveling a new thread to the problem that you won’t see coming. In some aspects, the characters who I expected more growth from were left a little in dark. Their personal journeys were there but certainly not in the forefront as I was lead to believe they would be in book one. So if you love side character growth you won’t find a lot of that here. Instead, you’ll find new characters being pulled in and their stories being revealed. Lucas on the other hand pushes himself further and really shows his expertise in the skills he has honed over the last thousand years. The reasons why he was chosen to be in a guild in the first place.
In terms of world building, this alternate Earth where the Riftborn reside both on Earth and in the Rift, is further explored. McHugh takes us to new cities filled with wealth and a “big brother” kind of feel. As well as to a prison city filled with crooks and the worst of the worst. I really wanted to better understand some of the secrets of the Rift and what it actually is but hopefully that will come in book three since it was lacking in book two.
The plot of book two takes a new direction that I did not expect. I found myself a little confused at first when I realized where it was beginning to go but overall I enjoyed what this story revealed and can see how it is important and relevant to the overall plot of this series. I just wish there had been a little more continuation of the questions being asked in book one and more pursuit of those answers. I expect this will pick back up in the next book!
Another aspect I loved about this book in comparison to book one was the action scenes. Book one certainly had some great moments but I really felt like they were taken to a new level in this book, which is what I want to see in a great sequel! So great job Steve!
Finally, I want to talk about the themes in book two. I felt like one of the overarching themes that spread across much of the book was to always double check the facts. Never judge a book by its’ cover as they say. Also, while power has the potential to do great things, it is the person wielding that power who determines whether it is for the good or the bad. You’ll also find a comparison between right and wrong ways to combat evil. Fighting evil with evil or finding another way in short. The themes outside of this are very similar to book one so I’ll stop here.
I’m really enjoying this world that Steve McHugh has created. It has everything you could possibly want in a good noir fantasy. Unique and interesting characters, a full developed world that has it’s own supernatural magic system, and a great plot that keeps you guessing the entire way. I highly recommend you pick up book two (or book one if you haven’t already!) because it is worth the price of admission!
I just wanted to end on a big thank you to Escapist Book Tours for allowing me to participate in this book tour! As well as thanks to Steve McHugh for sending me an ebook to read and review!
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