*I beta read this novel and received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. This review is unbiased and represents my own personal opinions.*
Blurb: Some heroes are born, some are made, and some are willing to fake it if the pay is good.
Gabe abandoned life as a conman after the disasters in Lincoln, and he managed to carve out a bit of peace with the scraps he had left. Unfortunately, bad guys suck at respecting personal boundaries. So together with Heather and a group of weird new companions, he finds himself shackled to a horrifying cosmic game with sky-high stakes, inscrutable goals, and rules that seem to change every five minutes. And when old gods and monsters resurface to make things so much worse, he’s finally forced to admit that he might not be talking his way past any of it.
Fate itself rises to force-feed Gabe a cliché quest, and all he can do is find the artifact, get paid the fortune, and try to make it out alive.
…And, if there’s enough time, maybe save the whole stupid world.
Fate Lashed is the second book in the Ethereal Earth series, an ongoing tale about the familiar nightmares we create for ourselves, the new nightmares they create for us, and a few people who refuse to take any of it too seriously.
I’d recommend reading the first book first, because a) I have literary OCD and cannot understand why you wouldn’t read a series in order and b) you would miss out on the fantastic character development and worldbuilding that the author is layering book-on-book.
Gabe and Heather return for a new adventure that is way over Gabe’s competence level (zero) and above Heather’s pay grade (also zero), as usual. And they muddle through it with the now-familiar blend of quick-thinking, unexpected action and witty banter that has become their trademark style (like a certain Chicago-based wizard, or Sunnydale-based slayer).
The stakes are, naturally, higher and instead of defying a mad, evil god they have to embark on an epic quest to find a mythical artefact that might help to stave off the end of the world as we know it. Whilst still also dealing with a mad, evil god. Well, someone’s gotta do it!
If you like your urban fantasy to be fast-paced, action-packed, surprisingly touching at times, and rife with sarcastic humour, then look no further… this is the author you’re looking for.
“Aww, did the little lady hurt the great big man?” She asked as she reached out and gently touched his chest.
Gabe scoffed. “You’re no more a ‘lady’ than I am ‘great’ or ‘big’. Let’s focus on the imminent danger, huh?”
“I just feel like we spent an awful lot of effort working on your fighting skills for such a poor showing the first time out,” she replied.
“If you can’t handle this guy, how are you going to face anything scarier?”
“A month is not that long,” he said. “And you taught me a little Tai chi and sword stuff, so don’t act like you uploaded kungfu directly into my brain. If the guy had pulled out a katana maybe it would have gone better. But you of all people should know that I’m still pretty well useless for anything we’ll realistically run into. Why do you think I keep hanging around you?”
– Josh Erikson, Fate Lashed