*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Stay away from the mines of Mt. Couture
Advice that the village of Faiwell followed for thousands of years. But when precious metals from the surrounding mountains become scarce and the threat of famine looms, two teams are sent to explore the long abandoned mines. The first team becomes trapped by a tunnel collapse and are hunted by an otherworldly terror that roams the mines at night. Even worse, the workers act peculiar and mumble on about a Dark Savior.
Gold Fever follows Joel, a young mute from the second team of miners who knows more than he lets on. He and his new friends navigate the many dangers of Mt. Couture and attempt to hunt for valuable metals, find the first team, and most importantly… survive.
Gold Fever is a claustrophobic dark fantasy story that edges into horror in places.
Set in a mine, the story follows a team of miners, warriors and mercenaries who have been cobbled together ostensibly to rescue the original mining team, which never returned. It soon becomes clear that there are darker purposes behind the mission, and not everyone in the team is who, or what, they claim to be.
Within the mine, the team face various beasties and trials, but the worst is the battle they face to keep their own minds intact as the monsters hunt them, the nightmares haunt them, and all they can think about is finding more of that beautiful black gold.
This novel has a really good plot and the characters are interesting and engaging, but it felt like the story could benefit from more editing. The pacing of the plot is slightly uneven, with a very slow-building start and middle, then most of the action packed tightly towards the end. There is also quite a lot of repetition and a number of occasions where the characters continually talk about taking action, thus delaying actually doing it.
The ending of the story balances leaving some important plot threads open to lead into further instalments, whilst neatly tying off some individual character arcs. There is also a balance between light-hearted fantasy adventure (running jokes, like Lucia’s weapon and Alistair calling everyone ‘RUDE!’) and dark almost-horror, with some grotesque and casual violence, especially towards the climax.
Not for the faint of heart or the susceptible of mind, Gold Fever is a long delve into a dark mine and dark minds.
About 45 minutes into his writing however, he was disturbed by a piercing scream from across the cave. Dalton looked up, but the dim blue light did nothing to show him what had happened. He looked back down at his journal. A horrified expression filled his face. The final entry he had written said:
Give me more. Its shimmering beauty in the darkness of these mines fulfills my greatest desires. I must have more. It is his will… and those who do not follow must die. I will kill the non-believers.
– Jim Clougherty, Gold Fever
Gold Fever is available on Amazon right now.