Anne Reviews: All the World’s An Undead Stage by Angel Martinez

TITLE: All The World’s An Undead Stage

Author: Angel Martinez

Publisher:  Pride Publishing

Pages: 151

Characters: Carrington/Erasmus

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Urban Fantasy, Series

Kisses: 5

Blurb: 

Carrington Loveless III, skim-blood vampire and senior officer of Philly’s paranormal police department, has long suspected that someone’s targeting his squad. The increasingly bizarre and dangerous entities invading their city can’t be a coincidence. So when a walking corpse spouting Oscar Wilde attacks one of his officers, Carrington’s determined to uncover the evil mind behind it all.

As a rare books librarian, Erasmus Graham thought he understood some of the stranger things in life. Sharing a life with Carrington’s shown him he didn’t know the half of it. They’ve survived attack books and deadly dust bunnies together and got through mostly unscathed. Now his world and his vampires appear ready to collide again. Books are missing from the rare books’ collection—old tomes of magic containing dangerous summonings and necromancy. He’s certain whoever’s been stalking the Seventy-Seventh is composing their end game. It’s going to take a consolidated effort from paranormal police, librarians, and some not-quite-authorized civilians to head off the impending catastrophe.

Review: 

This series has been on my radar for some time, and it didn’t disappoint.  Although I started with the latest book—and am planning to go back to the beginning and work my way forward—it didn’t detract.  Given the number of characters, it did take me a while to work out who was who, but I think the author does an excellent job in explaining everything for new readers without it becoming an info dump.

I love the world building in this story, and that the police squad is a mix of different supernaturals all working together to solve crime. I read a lot of urban fantasy and I always enjoy seeing the unique way in which authors approach supernaturals, especially vampires.  These vampires are a little different in that they see their reflection, and can walk in daylight but get sunstroke, and I’m curious as to the hints that Carrington’s relationship with Erasmus is having some interesting side effects.  I also liked the fact that Carrington has family, rather than being very old, which is a common vampire trope.  I’m looking forward to reading the series from the beginning to find out more about his background.

The relationship between Erasmus and Carrington is a real strength in the story. I loved the easy sense of humour between them, and it was obvious that they are comfortable together.  I had to smile when Erasmus referred to Carrington as ‘his vampire’, and Carrington called Erasmus ‘my librarian.’  I always love reading about librarians who kick arse, but still are very much librarians in their love of books and ability to research.  The rest of the squad are an interesting mix, both in personality and abilities, and I love Audacity—she’s adorable!  Nice Poe reference with the raven being called Edgar, and I appreciated the choice of name for the coroner. I haven’t read a story before with animated items of clothing as characters, and I thought the author pulled that off extremely well.

The author is obviously having fun writing this series, and I loved all the literary references in this story especially when someone is horrified that a zombie is mangling Wilde.  After all, that is just not on. Erasmus’s mothers being fans of Supernatural and offering advice was a hoot, and I enjoyed the way people in this world just take things in their stride. Of course, there’s a database of necromancers—I would have been disappointed if there hadn’t been one.   I had a bit of a giggle with the choice of name for one character—Ms Teecosi— and the question “To the Batcave?” which is answered by “To the library!”  This is my kind of story!  The story does get a bit crazy in places, but that added to my enjoyment of it, and I got the impression crazy is a way of life for these guys.

I’d recommend All the World’s An Undead Stage to readers who enjoy urban fantasy with a bit of humour, likeable characters who work together and feel more like family than work friends, and fabulous world building.

More please.

Reviewed By: Anne

Click HERE to purchase All the World’s An Undead Stage by Angel Martinez

 

 

 

Check out Angel Martinez’s latest book, All the World’s An Undead Space!

 

All The World’s An Undead Stage

Author: Angel Martinez

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Release Date: January 2nd, 2018

Format: eBook, paperback

Price: $3.99, $10.49

Story Type: Novel

Word Count: Approx 55K

Cover Artist: Emmy Ellis

Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Humor

Pairing: m/m

Tropes: law enforcement, established couple

Keywords/Categories: paranormal, police, Philadelphia, magic, vampire, zombie, humor

Series Name: Offbeat Crimes

Position in Series: 6

Necessary to Read Previous Books? No, But Doesn’t Hurt

Other Books in Series Available? Inquire if Interested

Blurb:

Carrington Loveless III, skim-blood vampire and senior officer of Philly’s paranormal police department, has long suspected that someone’s targeting his squad. The increasingly bizarre and dangerous entities invading their city can’t be a coincidence. So when a walking corpse spouting Oscar Wilde attacks one of his officers, Carrington’s determined to uncover the evil mind behind it all.

As a rare books librarian, Erasmus Graham thought he understood some of the stranger things in life. Sharing a life with Carrington’s shown him he didn’t know the half of it. They’ve survived attack books and deadly dust bunnies together and got through mostly unscathed. Now his world and his vampire’s appear ready to collide again. Books are missing from the rare books’ collection—old tomes of magic containing dangerous summonings and necromancy. He’s certain whoever’s been stalking the Seventy-Seventh is composing their end game. It’s going to take a consolidated effort from paranormal police, librarians, and some not-quite-authorized civilians to head off the impending catastrophe.

All The World’s An Undead Stage

Series Blurb:

Every region has them, but no police department talks about them—the weird crimes, the encounters with creatures out of nightmares. The 77th Precincts exist in certain cities to handle paranormal crime and containment, usually staffed with experienced officers exhibiting psychic abilities.

In Philadelphia, through an odd mix of budget issues and circumstance, the 77th is manned entirely by officers with bizarre or severely limited psychic talents. The firestarter who can’t get a spark when it’s humid. The vampire who can’t drink whole blood. These are the stories of the misfits, the outcasts from even the strangeness of the paranormal community. Call them freaks, but they’re police officers first, serving and protecting, even if their methods aren’t always normal procedure.

Excerpt:

“Hunter? It’s all right. I promise.” On his knees in the room LJ and Hunter shared, Carrington peered under the bed where Hunter huddled in the far corner. “No one here will hurt you.”

To Carrington’s relief, his mom had taken care of nearly all of the arrangements for this open house luncheon on and left him out of it. He would’ve preferred something with less fuss and fewer caterers but it was only for a few hours. The squad room would survive. His only task now was to try to coax an obviously spooked Hunter out from under the furniture.

“I have a theory,” Jeff said from where he leaned in the doorway.

Carrington smacked his head on the bedframe trying to reach far ther underneath, so his next words were sharper than necessary. “Oh, yes? I don’t suppose you’d care to share this brilliant bit of enlightened thinking.”

Jeff let out a little huff. “Not if you’re going to take my head off.”

“My apologies. I’m not in the best position to be civil at the moment.”

“I can wait until I’m not talking to your butt.”

“Fine.” Carrington eased out from under the bed and sat back on his heels. “What’s your thinking here?”

“When Hunter was living on her own, she was pretty careful and particular, wasn’t she?”

Living on her own translated as when she was homeless, and careful and particular into skilled and cautious thief but Carrington appreciated his colleague’s care with Hunter in the room. “So one is given to understand.”
“I’m thinking maybe someone or several someone’s invited today might have been a target. Maybe Hunter’s afraid of someone recognizing her and making the connection.”

Carrington leaned down far enough to peer under the bed again. “Is that it, Hunter? Are you concerned that someone will recognize you from your previous life?”

Even with Hunter scrunched in the corner, she still managed a collar nod.
“Very well, then.” Carrington patted the mattress. “We’ll close the door, Ms. Hunter. You don’t have to see anyone if you don’t wish to.”

A sleeve poked out from under the mattress to pat Carrington’s hip. He took the hint and got to his feet to give Hunter room to wriggle out. She floated up and settled carefully on the blankets with her sleeves crossed.

“My word of honor.” Carrington held up both hands. “You can lock the door behind us.”

She slumped as if in relief and nodded. Then she twitched up straight, holding up a sleeve to ask them to wait. Jeff peered over Carrington’s shoulder as Hunter pulled a box out from the steamer trunk she shared with LJ. She handed the box to Carrington with a sleeve motion that appeared to mime pulling up a zipper.

“This is for LJ?” He waited for her nod. “I’ll bring it right out to him.”

As he’d promised, he shut the door behind them to give Hunter her privacy and found LJ in the squad room with Audacity under one arm. Their kitten wore a scaled-down version of a black K-9 vest.

“Don’t you look official?” Jeff let her catch one of his fingers to gnaw on.
Carrington gave her an approving nod. “It suits you. Do you like your new uniform?”

Mew. Miii-iiw. Audacity pedaled with all four paws until LJ set her down. She turned in an obvious modeling pose to show Carrington one side of the vest with POLICE stenciled in white block letters, then turned to display the other side with CADET FAMILIAR. If that wasn’t Jason’s idea, Carrington would eat his police hat and Amanda’s.

“Outstanding, Cadet Audacity. Very sharp.” Carrington carefully kept the laughter from his voice since she was taking it all so seriously. But it was difficult in the face of such monumental cuteness. “LJ, Hunter refuses to come out but she sent you this.”

He handed over the box and stayed to watch LJ ease it open by pinching the top with his sleeve. The long slender shape of the box made guessing the contents easy and Carrington wasn’t disappointed when LJ held up a regulation police uniform tie. LJ stared at it a moment, his version of staring at any rate, then gave a sharp nod before he handed tie and box to Carrington to hold.

“You don’t—” Carrington nearly asked if he didn’t want it but LJ’s intentions became obvious when he zipped up his front and straightened his collar. “Ah. Would you like me to do the honors?”

LJ gave another nod as he held himself straight and still. Strange to see him that way. He almost never zipped himself closed and never floated completely still. Carrington stood behind him to get the tie on just right, easier than trying to think about tying one backward, and finished it off with the silver tie clip Hunter had provided.

“There, sir.” Carrington clapped him on both shoulders. “Almost as sharp as Audacity.”

LJ had no way to blush, but his front puffed out just enough to be noticeable and who would ever have predicted that? A jacket entity, former street thug and informant proud to wear police issue anything.

Buy Links:

Pride Publishing: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/all-the-worlds-an-undead-stage

Note: The general release date for this title is 1/2/18

Author Bio:

The unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, Angel Martinez has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for almost twenty-four years) gave birth to one amazing son, (now in college) and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.

Published since 2006, Angel’s cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You’ll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don’t expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.

She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.

You can take a look at Angel’s Website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/angelmartinez/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AngelMartinezrr

Website: http://angelmartinezauthor.weebly.com

Pippa Reviews: Uncommonly Tidy Poltergeists by Angel Martinez


Title: Uncommonly Tidy Poltergeists
Author: Angel Martinez
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Pages: 92
Characters: Taro, Jack
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Paranormal
Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

A poltergeist haunts Taro, dogging his international travels. It washes glasses, puts dishes away, and even dusts. At least he hopes it’s a cleaning-obsessed poltergeist and not his own anxieties burbling over into neat freak fits he doesn’t remember. When his property manager suggests he call paranormal expert, Jack Montrose, Taro’s skeptical but desperate enough to try even a ghost hunter.

Jack’s arrival crushes Taro’s hopes of a dashing Van Helsing-style hero. Instead of an invincible hunter, he gets Ichabod Crane. As the paranormal puzzles multiply and Jack begins to suggest the entity might not be a ghostly one, Taro adds a budding friendship with Jack to his pile of anxieties. It’s a race to see whether Taro’s poltergeist or his relationship with the obviously-not-ace Jack will reach maximum strangeness first.

Review:

Have you ever read a book where you want to cuddle the characters and take them home with you? This is the cuddle book for me. Right from the start, as Taro sits at the dining room table and waits for his family to listen to him, I could relate to him so well. I’m the youngest too and it’s a position only the youngest sibling will understand. Then there is Jack. Where you expect Jack to be the alpha male, that isn’t who you get. He’s wonderful, in a bumbling, completely awkward kind of way. He has his own issues too and Taro must deal with them. This is a book about two awkward people fitting together in the most bizarre of circumstances. And it was lovely.

I was bemused by way they mentioned asexuality in the blurb. Not why they mentioned it, but how, as they referenced the non-ace character. I don’t have much experience reading ace characters, but I appreciated the way the explanation was skillfully slotted into the developing relationship between Taro and Jack, rather than info-dumping and preachy speeches.

I won’t spoil the paranormal element, beyond saying I wish the ‘entity’ would visit me. Once a week would be great. Once a month even. This was a lovely tale from Angel Martinez, which made me laugh out loud more than once, and go for the warm and fuzzies in all the right places.

Definitely recommended.

Reviewed By: Pippa Wood

Click HERE to purchase Uncommonly Tidy Poltergeists by Angel Martinez

Rarely Pure and Never Simple by Angel Martinez


Title: Rarely Pure and Never Simple (Variant Configurations 1)
Author: Angel Martinez
Publisher: MLR Press
Characters: Damien Hazelwood and Blaze Emerson
POV: 3rd Person
Sub-Genre: Suspense, Futuristic
Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

A search for missing children throws a misanthropic human GPS and an obnoxious human torch together in a struggle to survive dangerous conspiracies and each other.

Damien just wants to be left alone. Too bad his variant talent as a locator makes him the go-to contractor for the government’s missing person cases. He can refuse, but it’s not so easy when the missing are variant kids. Blaze Emerson is a sparker. People fear him as much for his ability to call fire as his obnoxious, violent temperament. He’s good at what he does, though, and he’s intrigued by the quiet man who can find people with his brain. Conspiracies, treachery, and wild rumors are only the start. First Damien and Blaze have to survive each other.

Review:

One of the reasons I love Ms Martinez’s stories is that, more often than not, they are as much about the characters and human nature as the romance. Her characters are flawed, yet lovable and fully rounded, and the mystery captures your imagination. The world building is amazing, and very believable. Plus, I almost always find myself laughing at some point.

This suspense filled story is set in a very possible future where neurological disorders like Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and cerebral palsy have been stopped through the bonding of a carbon molecule with adenine in specific gene sequences. However, as often happens in science, there was an unexpected side effect. Variants. Children born with super-hero type abilities.

As you would expect of humanity, there are many different reactions to these “Variants”, as they are labeled. Hero worship. Misunderstanding. Anger. Greed. Fear. Bigotry.
Damian, a “locator”, has retreated as far from the world as possible in the hopes that he will be, if not left alone, then at least bothered as little as possible. A quirky character, he is nonetheless very likable and I could relate to him, and his internal struggles to cope, from the start.
Blaze, on the other hand, is a wild card who uses sarcasm and aggression to keep people away. But somehow, as I read the book, I found myself liking him, and cheering them both on.
I honestly couldn’t say what the best bit was, as there were quite a few great bits!

I REALLY recommend this story if you like detective stories, futuristic stories, or possible conspiracy theories.

Well done, Ms Martinez. I wish this book could go mainstream. It’s brilliant and deserves to be available to be read by those who haven’t discovered Indie publishing yet.
Oh, and if you enjoy this one, you’ll also love “Sub Zero” and “Prisoner 374215”. If you want something in a slightly lighter note from her, try “Canines, Crosshairs And Corpses” or “Hell For The Company”.

Reviewed By: Alison

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Canines, Crosshairs and Corpses by Angel Martinez


Title: Canines, Crosshairs and Corpses
Author: Angel Martinez
Publisher: Amber Quill Press, LLC
Pages: 40,000 words
Characters: Hades and Ti (Tiberius)
POV: Hades and Ti
Sub-Genre: Paranormal (mythology)
Kisses: 5 Kisses

Blurb:

What’s a Lord of the Dead to do? Hades’ bride of several thousand years has served him with divorce papers and she doesn’t just want him out of her life, she wants the palace and the dog, too. Hades’ nephews and his faithful ferryman, Charon, are determined to find their uncle something to distract him before he expires of brooding misery.

Tiberius Snyder had a good future, until his mother dies and his employer shuts down. When he finds himself alone with nowhere to live, he turns to panhandling and to drink, depression slowly killing him.

He just wants a place to sleep out of the cold wind, but Death finds him in a dirty alley. Odd. Ti never thought Death would be so hot…

Review:

I should probably say upfront that I have loved or liked all of Ms Martinez’s stories. This one is no exception. I loved it. As usual, the characters are well-written, flawed, and real, with the plot being believable and true to character. This story has an extra bonus: Ms Martinez has taken the myths and tales of the Greek gods and given them a twist, which, combined with the slightly dark edge she wrote into this story, gives you an enthralling read.

To begin the story, Ms. Martinez shows you a confused and lost Hades who’s just been served divorce papers by Persephone. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Hades at first, but like a lot of first impressions, it gave way as I learned more of his character and quirky personality traits. After a bit of help from his family, Hades meets Tiberius (Ti). The glimpse you are given into life on the streets, and how the homeless are seen by society is full of hopelessness and despair.

I recommend this story to anyone who likes a slightly different twist on the paranormal and watching as a couple meet to eventually come together and realize how much they mean to each other. All of the story is well done, but I especially like the explanation of how gods and humans need each other.

Reviewed By: Alison

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Vassily the Beautiful and Mutant Fairytales by Silver Publishing Author: Angel Martinez

That’s not how the story goes!

Any adult who has ever altered a line, by accident or design, in a child’s favorite tale has heard this indignant protest. Silly grownup. I do recall making this protest the first time I heard a different version of Cinderella. My early childhood had been filled with the German versions of fairytales, so when I heard the version with the fairy godmother, my thoughts ran toward “Where’s the hazel tree and the dove? This isn’t right!”

Childhood indignation aside, the revelation started me on a lifelong collecting of fairy and folktales, stories that grandmothers once passed down orally and are, by their nature and intent, changeable. Fairytales have a higher mutation rate than most viruses. While the basic structure of the tale remains the same, the delight is in finding how the story can change in a new setting, through new eyes. Re-imagined fairytales have been cropping up long before Snow White and the Huntsman, and authors of M/M fiction picked up the bug several years ago.

In large part, for the M/M romance writer it’s the challenge. How does one go about turning and reshaping a het princess story into a story of manlove? When I asked readers the first time to challenge me with the stories they thought would be tough to turn into M/M romance, one of the suggestions was the request to retell the Russian fairytale “Vasilissa the Beautiful.” This idea stuck with me since I adore any story with Baba Yaga. It’s a slightly surreal story, a little scary sometimes, weird and wild, where the heroine has to rely on the witch and her own courage to save herself rather than a Prince. How, though? I’d previously set Boots in a contemporary setting, in the mountains of Pennsylvania that are so familiar to me. But Vasilissa would lose so much in a modern setting; its very alien oddness would be watered down.

Ah – and therein lay the key. I needed to translate it into a setting unfamiliar to the modern reader and so chose a setting in the distant future, on a non-Earth world. It must have been done before, the Science Fiction Fairytale, but the world needs more of them, in my not always humble opinion.

At the same time, I wanted to preserve the Russian flavor and the slightly surreal quality of the story. The setting then, the city of New Makorov, also became a bit dystopian and the characters’ names carefully chosen to reflect their origin. Vassily and Baba Yaga already had their names, of course, but the stepfather and stepbrothers needed names, so I turned to the roll call of Soviet leaders. Originally, they were Boris, Yuri, and Alexei (but I liked Anton better so changed the last one.) Names for Baba Yaga’s sons took some brain bludgeoning, but I eventually took the literal route. In the original story, the three men on horseback, one golden, one red, and one black, represented morning, day and night. So the boys received Russian words for names: Rassvet = dawn, Poldien = noon, Sumerki = dusk.

Since I was having way too much fun with Russian, their family name became Silka, which means “exile.” Read the story. You’ll get it. 🙂

Fairytale? Yes. It’s that. Like most fairytales, Vassily the Beautiful is about courage and facing the darkness head on, about finding that core of self that allows us to rise out of the worst circumstances. I won’t lie to you. There are some tough subjects tackled here. But stay with me. The nice thing about fairytales is that we all know the rules.

Vassily the Beautiful by Angel Martinez

Title: Vassily the Beautiful
Author: Angel Martinez
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Pages: 346
Characters: Vassily Nikolayevich Belikov, Sumereki Silka
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Kisses: 5



Blurb:

Vassily Belikov, composer and pampered son of privilege, suffered neurological damage in the accident that killed his father. Resentful of people treating him as an invalid, he lives as a recluse, dependent on his mother. All that changes the day she brings home a new husband with two sons of his own.

When deep-space pirates capture Vassily’s mother, he’s left to the mercy of his cruel, amoral stepfather. Fighting addiction, fear, and his own physical shortcomings, he’s forced to seek out the criminal mastermind Baba Yaga for a crucial piece of equipment. While she agrees to deal with him if he beats his Exoticus addiction, paranoia and mysterious intentions infuse her household. Drawn to her fierce, suspicious youngest son, certain his actions are all carefully measured, Vassily must find the courage to face both his fears and his desires if he expects to survive.

Review:

Whew! After reading this book I feel like I’ve just gotten off a rollercoaster of angst, adventure and a beautiful romance. I admit the cover art is what really appealed to me at first. I think it’s stunning and it captures the main hero, Vassily perfectly. But there are times when I get drawn into reading a book because of its gorgeous cover and in the end I’m disappointed. I’m very happy to say, that in this case, it’s not true. The content within this book is just as beautiful as the artwork, so in my book, that’s almost perfection.

For the first hundred pages of or so, I was a ball of nerves. Vassily is a smart, talented sweet man who is recovering from an accident that killed his father. Even though Vassily survived, he suffers from physical damages and mental ones as well. Because of his injuries, his mother is determined that he stay in her care and her control. Since she travels a lot she surprises Vassily one day with a new husband and two adult step-brothers. Vassily is not happy with this new arrangement, but since he’s determined to not disappoint his mother, he tries to do what he can to accept them. As soon as she has to leave on business, Vassily is quickly shown how cruel and awful his stepfather really is. He brutally forces Vassily to take a very addictive drug, knowing that his stepson will always crave it for the rest of his life. Vassily is basically used as a lab rat, while his stepfather tweaks the drug every time he forces him to use.

When his stepfather needs some vital equipment to make his formula perfect, he send Vassily out to find Baba Yaga with a note and a warning to Vassily that he must not return home until he gets what he wants. Alone and sick from withdrawals from the drug, Vassily is soon found by Baba and her three sons, and she insists that they clean Vassily up and get the drug out of his system before she’ll do any business with him. As he is going through withdrawals, he becomes close with two of Baba’s sons, and becomes fascinated with the biggest and most surly one, Sumereki.

You’ll have to read the book to find out the rest of the story. I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to like this book at first. Poor Vassily goes through so much in the beginning that I began to wonder how much more he could take. He’s such a likable man, but a little bitter and resentful of having to be babysat all the time because of his physical limitations. Still I really empathized with him and instantly found him to be a fascinating character. I also appreciated how strong Vassily really was, and I’m not really talking about physical strength but in mental strength. As the book progresses, and under the careful guidance of Sumereki and his two brothers, Vassily really grows into his own man. He learns to stand his ground and to fight for what he wants and believes in. I really loved Vassily and I cheered him on every time he worked through something he once thought he’d never be able to do.

Sumereki is another fascinating character in this book. He’s growly and considers himself unlovable and not worthy of being touched by others. He is strong and unique because of his genetic tampering. He is immediately attracted to Vassily, but there’s also something about the pretty man that brings out Sumereki’s protective streak. I loved watching Vassily tear down the walls Sumereki had put around his heart and see the lovely man he really was on the inside. These two men really were perfectly made for each other and I loved watching their relationship grow into something very special indeed.

I really loved this book! I loved the adventure and the different twists and turns the plot has as the book progressed. There were times I wanted to smack some sense into some of the characters. (I think his mother makes a horrible decision more than once.) But after the nail-biting angst in the beginning of the book I ended loving the romantic and sexy-sweet love story between to very likeable and desirable heroes. I HOPE there will be more written about these characters in the future, *cough* Ras and Pol have their own story *cough* because I would to read more of this interesting world and amazing heroes in the future.
Highly Recommended!!!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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