books

Kaje Harper

Books

Necromancer: Marked by Death (2020), Powered by Ghosts (2020), Bound by Memories (2020)

Romance

A Midnight Clear (2020)


Necromancer

Marked by Death (2020)

Marked by DeathSet in an alternate 1963.

Darien is out of alternatives. Demons or ghosts, whatever keeps invading his mind and body is quickly driving him crazy. So he seeks out the town’s necromancer, in the hope he’ll be able to help.

Silas has power, but he doesn’t have any real friends. When Darien shows up on his doorstep, he can’t refuse him help. But his familiar sees more between Silas and Darien than just a young man struggling with the ghosts possessing him.

This was an interesting story. I’m not sure the early 60s were a time that particularly needed revisited, even with a fantasy overlay, but it’s interesting to have a world without our modern technology, but a familiar history–including sodomy laws.

The weakness of this story is that is covers a tremendous amount of ground for a novella–from the world building to the characters to the mystery of the local demon gathering power. So at times it felt rushed. At the very least I’d have expected Darien to need more time to learn the basic of protective skills.

But it was interesting, and I did like the characters, and I enjoyed the story.

Rating: 7/10

Powered by Ghosts (2020)

Powered by GhostsSet in alternate 1963

Darien is free of his ghosts (literally) and has become Silas’ apprentice. However, he still has work to do, being a necromancer, and so the two end up dealing with a ghost problem, in a town where the local necromancer is too busy caring for his dying wife to do anything about the ghosts.

But there is something wrong with ghosts, and Silas isn’t quite sure this job is going to be as easy as he expected.

Darien is still trying to deal with his unexpected powers–and their new relationship. He’s not quite certain that Silas really wants him around, and it’s 1963, so being open about the relationship isn’t an option.

This story was fine. The mystery of what was wrong with the ghosts–and why–was an interesting one, but the story itself didn’t pull me in as tightly as the first story. And I wasn’t that fond of Pip and that story arc.

And there was a lot of boinking.

So, it was fine. But I did like the first story much better.

Rating: 6/10

Bound by Memories (2020)

Bound by MemoriesThis is a holiday short story.

Silas and Darien are sent to deal with a ghost at a Christmas tree farm. And Ferngold (head of the local guild) is not pleased about Pip and is blaming both Darien and Silas for Pip’s existence.

I quite liked the story arc about the ghost they had to exorcise and how Silas and Darien are learning to merge their powers together in unexpected days.

It was a cute Christmas story, and I liked it better than the previous story, but I’m not sure I’m that interested in continuing this series.

Rating: 6.5/10



 



Romance

A Midnight Clear (2020)

A Midnight ClearThis was another pleasant surprise.

This was another book from the Winter Wonderland giveaway of holiday stories, and after the first story I read, I didn’t have the highest expectations for the rest of the books. But this one was also quite good.

Adric and Royce are roommates studying for their EMT certifications–Adric wants to eventually become a paramedic, but this is his first step. Adric also has a huge crush in Royce, but doesn’t have a clue if Royce even likes guys.

My first surprise with this story was that it wasn’t a short story. At 204 pages it’s a novel–albeit a short one. So I kept expecting the story to end–and it didn’t.

My second surprise was how much I enjoyed it. Both Adric and Royce and young–18 and 19 at the start of the story. And both of them make a lot of mistakes–mostly because they are so young. And normally I don’t much care for stories with really young characters (especially romances) but both were studying for a professional certification and that does make a difference. Even if they did occasionally reader older than their ages.

The other surprise were the complex lives the two had outside of their relationship. Adric’s extended family is T.E.R.R.I.B.L.E and Royce’s immediate family has their own issues. So (like normal humans) those issues were part of Adric and Royce’s stories, which made it a much richer book that I was expecting. Of course, those complicated family members also helped drive some of the terrible choices made, but, again, the two are young.

This wasn’t 100% the kind of story I normally go for, but I will definitely look for other stories by the author going forward.
Rating: 7.5/10