Kept From Cages – Phil Williams

*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

Blurb: No one returns from Ikiri.

Reece’s gang of criminal jazz musicians have taken shelter in the wrong house. There’s a girl with red eyes bound to a chair. The locals call her a devil – but Reece sees a kid that needs protecting. He’s more right than he knows.

Chased by a shadowy swordsman and an unnatural beast, the gang flee across the Deep South with the kid in tow. She won’t say where she’s from or who exactly her scary father is, but she’s got powers they can’t understand. How much will Reece risk to save her?

On the other side of the world, Agent Sean Tasker’s asking similar questions. With an entire village massacred and no trace of the killers, he’s convinced Duvcorp’s esoteric experiments are responsible. His only ally is an unstable female assassin, and their only lead is Ikiri – a black-site in the Congo, which no one leaves alive. How far is Tasker prepared to go for answers?

Kept From Cages is the first part in an action-packed supernatural thriller duology, filled with eccentric characters and intricately woven mysteries.

Kept From Cages reunites some familiar Ordshaw faces from Phil Williams’ urban fantasy / city monsters series with a new cast and setting, as we relocate from the urban jungle to the real jungle in search of strange energy and new monsters to fight.

The story does stand alone, but personally I found that references to things like novisan and the MEE were definitely enriched by having read the Ordshaw series first, so that is what I would recommend.

Of the new faces, I really enjoyed meeting the Cutjaw Kids – comprising Reece and his band of jazz musician criminals – and the young, but powerful, Zip. And Katryzna – and Rurik – brought back the kind of chaotic unpredictability that I loved in Ordshaw’s ‘violent fae’. Despite the fun of this new mix of characters, with their fresh energy and perspectives, I did find myself giving a little cheer when Sam Ward reappeared to represent the good old (bad old?) MEE. It’s nice to have an authority that everyone can safely ignore!

The misfit heroes in this story are tracking unusual energy surges and running from rival gangs/monsters respectively and their paths converge as they attempt to prevent dark forces wreaking mind-zombie violent havoc across the whole of civilization.

There isn’t much of the procedural investigation aspect to this book as there was in the previous series; these are basically rogue agents, rogue musicians and a wayward child, who is trying to find her devil-you-know father while fighting herself.

Action-packed from start to finish, this story has everything: engaging characters, an interesting plot hook, and nightmarish monsters in both human and non-human forms. And what might be either an invisible fae, or a vivid and quite obnoxious hallucination.

Fans of Phil Williams’ writing already will know what to expect here, but for newcomers, if you’re looking for a chaotic thrill-ride of the fantastic, grotesque and often also funny, then this just what you need.

Katryzna’s expression darkened. “I could’ve found a way. I live a charmed life, Eyes told me. Not the only person to say so.” Hadn’t Smail used a similar word? “I’m everything that shouldn’t work in this world, an anomaly like those men Lopaz hired.” She sung an arm. “Violent, horrible people, who somehow survived Ikiri the same as me. People that the world throws up to disrupt things – just as it threw us together. Look at you, partnering with someone crazy enough to get you out of there. They spoke about Ikiri like some terrible force of nature – well, so am I. My kind, we live to do damage. Systems glitch and set us free – ultra-powerful men decide we’re too useful to let die. We’re kept alive and we’re kept from cages, and I could’ve used that to save him.”

– Phil Williams, Kept From Cages

Find more from Phil Williams at his website here, or follow him on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads.

Kept From Cages is available on Amazon  right now!

For my reviews of Under Ordshaw , Blue Angel and The Violent Fae, check herehere and here, or to check out the Ordshaw Vignette blog tour, head here.

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