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Title: A Ferry of Bones & Gold

Author: Hailey Turner

Series: Soulbound #1

Publisher: self-published

Release date: September 12, 2018

Cover artist: AngstyG

Genre: m/m urban fantasy

Length: approx. 114,700 words

Buy it: Amazon

Blurb:

When the gods come calling, you don’t get to say no.

Patrick Collins is three years into a career as a special agent for the Supernatural Operations Agency when the gods come calling to collect a soul debt he owes them. An immortal has gone missing in New York City and bodies are showing up in the wake of demon-led ritual killings that Patrick recognizes all too easily from his nightmares.

Unable to walk away, Patrick finds himself once again facing off against mercenary magic users belonging to the Dominion Sect. Standing his ground alone has never been a winning option in Patrick’s experience, but it’s been years since he’s had a partner he could trust.

Looking for allies in all the wrong places, Patrick discovers the Dominion Sect’s next target is the same werewolf the Fates themselves have thrown into his path. Patrick has been inexplicably attracted to the man from their first meeting, but desire has no place in war. That doesn’t stop Patrick from wanting what he shouldn’t have. Jonothon de Vere is gorgeous, dangerous, and nothing but trouble—to the case, to the fight against every hell, and ultimately, to Patrick’s heart and soul.

In the end, all debts must be paid, and Patrick can only do what he does best—cheat death.

 Magic, murder, and mayhem! You won’t want to miss the first book in a brand new, pulse-pounding m/m urban fantasy series!

Excerpt:

“Don’t let the Fates take control of your life, Jono. Marek doesn’t have a choice, but you do,” Patrick said quietly.

Jono reached out and trailed his fingers along the edge of Patrick’s jaw, his touch warm, like it always was. “Guess we’re just gonna have to murder the fuck out of the Dominion Sect bastards together then, won’t we?”

Patrick was reminded of a lesson learned the hard way in the field—rules of engagement were for people who were never desperate.

Must be why I’ve always been a rule breaker,Patrick thought, before saying, “You know our chances are shit, right?”

“Can’t be much worse than waking up in hospital after a bad car crash with the werevirus running through your veins.”

“Didn’t take you for an optimist.”

“I can be with the right motivation.”

The filthy look Jono shot him made Patrick wish they were alone in his apartment with nothing to do tonight but fuck. Except there was a plan in the works that involved saving a city and time wasn’t on their side.

My review:

I love a good urban fantasy novel, and while A Ferry of Bones & Gold was good, it's a hard book to review because I liked certain parts of it, and didn't like others.

What I liked:

  • Patrick. He was a complex character, very three-dimensional, and he made a great way into the story. I liked his take-no-shit attitude and his insistence on doing things his way.
  • Magic. Anything with magic and I'm like:
  • The world Hailey Turner created by bringing magic, shifters, vampires, and gods together.
  • The way all of the characters played off each other.

What I didn't like:

Most of what I didn't like had to do with some of the choices the author made, both stylistically and chronologically. Let me explain.

  • We'd often get whole paragraphs of info-dumps. Yes, we need the information in a book like this that isn't a contemporary or historical, and I understand it's the first book in a series so the story needs to be set up...but the info-dump felt like an info-dump. Like "Here, you need all of this info so I'm just going to dump it on you." I much prefer when need-to-know information is weaved in organically so it doesn't feel like I'm being talked at. Info-dump takes me right out of the story.
  • There were some oddly phrased sentences that had me re-reading sometimes once or twice, and, in one case, five or six times to understand the meaning.
  • For most of the story we're told that Patrick owes a soul debt because of something his father did, but we're not told why. Who was his father to the immortals that Patrick now owes them a debt?
    • 73% in to A Ferry of Bones & Gold: this is where we find out the answers to this question, the question of why Patrick owes a soul debt and to who. But, in my opinion, it's much too late in the story for this kind of revelation. It's a huge piece of the story and a huge piece of why Patrick does certain things and acts a certain way, and the fact that I just didn't know this information up-front impacted my enjoyment of the story because up until 73% there was a huge piece missing. It was like going forward with only half the information. It was probably done to keep the tension up and keep the reader reading to find out why, and I'll admit it worked, but not knowing this actually made me frustrated at not knowing, and not in a good way.
  • We're told also that Patrick lost his ability to tap a ley line because of something that happened in his old job, but we don't find out how it happened until 89% into the book. Again, this is information that I thought was given to the reader much too late. There are ways to keep tension up for the reader without withholding critical information.
  • Patrick and Jono. I liked them. Separately. But together I felt like something was missing from their relationship, some spark of chemistry. I just didn't feel their desire for the other.

Overall, I give A Ferry of Bones & Gold 3.5 stars. I did like it and I loved the concept, but it was the execution of it that hindered my enjoyment of the story. That being said, I do look forward to reading the rest of the series!

About the author:

Hailey Turner is big city girl who spoils her cats rotten and has a demanding day job that she loves, but not as much as she loves writing. She’s been writing since she was a young child and enjoys reading almost as much as creating a new story. Hailey loves stories with lots of action, gritty relationships, and an eventual HEA that satisfies the heart.

Newsletter:  You can keep up with Hailey's future projects by joining her newsletter, where you can instantly download the free Metahuman Files short story A Distant Devotionand the Soulbound short story Down A Twisted Pathhttp://eepurl.com/cAEejL

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