Tag Archives: Kopis: sword: demon-hunter

Reine, S.M.: Dire Blood (The Descent V) (2012)

Dire Blood
Cover art S.M. Reine
I’ve had some strange and terrible things happen in my life. Most people have. I grew up in a home with parents who had managed to stray from the original paths their lives might have taken. Instead they changed what they had grown up with into a new type of family life. But the consequences of the lives they had grown up with were there. And let me tell you, their growing up years were extremely difficult. But they changed the script of their lives.

Maybe this is why I prefer Elise over James. Elise continually tries to change what life throws at her into something that will keep the balance between different types of people. James, on the other hand, is driven by his ambition. Both grew up with challenges, although Elise’s seem much more extreme than James’ challenges.

When James was a kid it became apparent that his talent for magic was extreme. At nine years old he taught three girls who were older than he. He thirsted for more knowledge of magic. Conquering magic became his goal in life, no matter what he might end up sacrificing to get there. Sadly, he was good at everything he tried his hand at. I say sadly because in James’ case all of his success turned out to give him a skewed sense of morality (at least it seems that way to me). That affects his relationship with Elise and just about every other person he meets. To him demons are dirty, filthy, evil creatures who deserve only death. Humans are the important breed to him, the ones he needs to protect.

James’ coven has been under the rulership of the angel Metaraon for years and years and years.

Metatron: (Metatetron, Merraton, Metaraon) A great angel honored as the angel of presence, chief of ministering angels, chancellor of heaven, and whom maintained the world.

<

p>The coven has provided Metaraon with girls who are taken to a garden to be with Adam (or Him / God). While James was young Metaraon came to the coven to take away a young girl (Ariane). Metaraon’s ultimate goal was to create “The Godslayer” (yes, you are catching on now, huh? ;= ). Ariane was matched with Isaac Kavenagh in order to create a baby. Ariane became Isaac’s apsis so the two of them would be bound to each other. When Ariane was 16 and Isaac 20 years old Elise was born. And who is Elise supposed to be????

One of Ariane’s co-students was Hannah Pritchard. Hannah later became involved with James and she and James had a son – Nathaniel. If you remember, James found out about Nathaniel in Damnation Marked. James now discovers that Hannah has kept the knowledge of their son from James because of the kind of person James is. That’s got to hurt. James is the god of rationalisation and so manages to keep on finding justification for his actions and ways. Some of the choices he makes bring him and Hannah into great danger. Danger from which Elise is going to have to save them.

As you discovered at the end of Damnation Marked, Elise survived her death. She was changed into a demon of the kind that Yatam and Yatai were. For a kopis that had to suck. All of a sudden she has become what she has fought against her whole life (ever since she was able to hold a falchion). Part of that change has brought confusing urges and a look into other people that she isn’t understanding. So, she is confused, angry and worried.

When Nathaniel turns up, what does she do? Well, in true Elise style she drops everything and goes off to help James. Anthony has stuck with her through thick and thin, but this time he says no thanks and leaves Elise and Nathaniel to the job. And what a job this is turning out to be. Throughout Dire Blood I am reminded of why I like Elise so much (and now Nathaniel as well). Sure, she is a mess, her life has turned up-side-down and she has no idea what is happening to her. So what. Life has to go on and a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do. If that means saving James with his magically talented son coming along, then that is what she will do.

Action. Is there action in Dire Blood. Oh, yes. Plenty of that. I had fun with both the action and the background information on our main characters. As usual I loved S.M. Reine’s writing. She does an excellent job with this kind of fantasy.


Review:


  • File Size: 482 KB
  • Print Length: 428 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Red Iris Books (December 23, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ASDEHLM

Source: Angelology


My review of:

  1. Death’s Hand
  2. The Darkest Gate
  3. Dark Union
  4. Damnation Marked

Reine, S.M.: Damnation Marked (The Descent IV) (2012)

Damnation Marked
Cover art by S.M. Reine

S.M. Reine does not go easy on her characters. Not really on any of them. James is not as present in Damnation Marked as he has been previously. The bond that arose between him and Elise in Dark Union is causing both of them problems, and Elise feels betrayed by the way he has handled the whole Stephanie thing. I understand why Elise would feel attracted to James. As we have seen, James was the first person in Elise’s live that showed her that some adults were worthy of trust. That he later betrays that trust in various ways is another matter altogether. Betty was the person that showed Elise that it was possible to enjoy life. Now that Betty is dead, that part of Elise’s life seems to have died along with her.

With the Night-Hag’s death Reno has been left wide open to attempts from other demons to take over. Anthony seems to have stepped in as Elise’s unofficial apsis without all of the advantages that a real apsis has. Elise seems to feel driven to keep the gate in her hands – and out of the Union’s. At the same time I also get the feeling that she has adopted Reno as HER town and along with that a feeling of responsibility for all that happens to her sphere of it. That pretty much means everything that has to do with keeping balance between demons, angels and humans. When it comes right down to it, being a balance keeper is what being a kopis is all about; and Elise has been trained to be the best kopis ever since she was extremely young.

One of Elise and James’ differences of opinion are about just that. James wants Elise to do kopis things only when he deems it appropriate while Elise realises that it is an all or nothing kind of life. This difference of opinion, one they have had for a while, is one of our first glimpses of the way James justifies his driven and self-absorbed choices.

All three of them are messes, complete messes. Despite her awful childhood and less than ideal career Elise seems to be the most grounded of the three. Perhaps it is because of her childhood that Elise is able to stay true to herself and at the same time be of use to those around her. She is going to need that sense of groundedness in her struggles with the “Shadow” and the Union.

The Union is like a cult. These people are crazy. They are so able to convince themselves that they are right, that anything goes as long as it serves their goals. James and they would be a good fit.

I understand why Anthony is a mess. Who wouldn’t be? This is a fairly regular guy who has had to kill others (granted they are demons) and had his cousin killed while he and she were trying to help a friend. In addition Elise is autistic in the way she handles her relationships. That alone is difficult enough for regular people. Poor kid for being drawn into this mess by his attraction to Elise. Some guys just seem to be ruled by their nether parts (see, trying to keep this g-rated).

I personally think that young adults (not the youngest) will be fine reading The Descent series. You need to be prepared for violence, darkness and really messed up people/creatures.


Reviews:


  • File Size: 491 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1937733130
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Red Iris Books; 1 edition (November 10, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009GDLZ42

My review of:

  1. Death’s Hand
  2. The Darkest Gate
  3. Dark Union

Reine, S.M.: Dark Union (The Descent III) (2012)

Dark Union1
Cover art by S.M. Reine

Dark Union sure is a fitting title, because the Union of kopis and apsis sure is dark and its motives are suspect. You don’t just round up kopis and apsis and witches by force unless you are a bit iffy. Where do they get their money from? There cannot be all that many Mr. Black type kopis – at least not if they are doing their jobs the way they are supposed to. But messing with friends of Elise might not be the smartest thing these guys have ever done. Especially not an Elise that is bursting with anger from all that happened in Darkest Gate.

Elise and Anthony are angry with each other, angry with the world and angry with the sense of helplessness that they feel. We are like that sometimes. Helplessness, grief and confusion are bummer feelings to have so anger can be a tempting feeling to replace them with. We get a lot of anger in Dark Union. A lot of it.

On top of that Elise has to struggle with this new strange bond that she and James have managed to impose on themselves. They actually know what the other person is feeling and can see what they are doing if they think too much about the other person. No wonder James is in San Fransisco with Stephanie. What an awful thing to experience for humans. Especially for some one as private as Elise is. They are both trying to control the bond, but when her pain is too great it becomes a bit difficult for Elise to control how much she shares.

Anthony is finally beginning to realise that he wants more out of their relationship than Elise is willing and able to give. Another thing to add to the simmering pot of feelings.

I’m trying to figure out if anything happy happens in Dark Union. Let’s see. There is one thing. At one point Elise is challenged about her “greatest kopis” status. That is a fight that is both satisfying and without deadly intent. Getting one over on the Union is also a satisfying (but worrying) episode for Elise. Those Union people – especially the leaders – are great big rear ends (don’t want to offend all the asses out there).

So, if you want cheer, Dark Union is not for you. But if you are like me and enjoy the darker side of humanity, jump right in.


Review:


  • File Size: 273 KB
  • Print Length: 115 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Red Iris Books; 1 edition (July 21, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

My review of:

  1. Death’s Hand
  2. The Darkest Gate

Reine, S.M.: The Darkest Gate (The Descent II) (2012)

The Darkest Gate1
Cover by S.M. Reine

I think my favorite part of The Darkest Gate is the way S.M. Reine writes Elise’s pain. Her emotional baggage is at least ten sizes larger than her and the manner she deals with other creatures (human or not) reflects that. Emotional pain eats you up and makes itself so much at home that you forget that it is there. But your interactions will reflect the depth of your pain and the extent to which you work to keep a lid on it. For once the lid comes off, man. Well, it’s an experience.

Elise’s awkwardness is not only due to her emotional pain. As we get snippets of her past we see that the main focus of her parents has been to train her to fight and to repress her feelings. At 14 James found her (see Death’s Hand) and her career as a kopis began. No wonder Elise has no time for the niceties.

Another factor influences Elise’s interactions with others. In 1999 (as you will discover in this novel) Elise went to a gynecologist to figure out what her problem was. Her discovery shocked her and created another wound to place in her casket of pain.

How much influence this next factor has had on Elise’s way of dealing with the world, I do not know, but I imagine quite a deal. The life of kopis and aspis is not an easy one. It requires a great deal of dedication and sacrifice. There is no glory and no wealth in the life of keeping humanity safer from other creatures. At one point James tells us that:

“hope for was dying in the service of mankind. The idea of being able to settle down was equally tempting and disappointing, since he knew it was something he couldn’t have. He couldn’t afford to eat on many days.”

We get several realistic descriptions of their situations. My parents grew up with poverty, my dad with hunger. When they speak of the harsher parts of their childhoods I find myself amazed to see the people they have become and the lives they have been able to provide us. I see some of their pain reflected in the writing of S.M. Reine.

When you are placed in such a position, some of us find ourselves willing to do things we might not otherwise do. Our practical sense of survival takes over. In 1999 Elise, not James, was the practical one of the two and decided she had to do the job Mr. Black offered to pay for. Doing that job and the consequences that derived from it led to the situation the retired kopis and aspis find themselves in when 2009 comes around. One might say that James and Elise’s lovely rear ends are being royally bitten by the past catching up with them.

I think I am going to leave you with that. Well, that and (as you have probably guess) I LOVED The Darkest Gate.


Review:


  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1937733076
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Red Iris Books; 1 edition (May 4, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0080RED3U

My review of Death’s Hand

Reine, S.M.: Death’s Hand (The Descent I) (2011)

death's hand

What is it that makes a great author? I feel certain all wanna-be authors have wanted to know the answer to that. To me a great author is one who manages to reach her audience in a manner that lets the reader remember her. S.M. Reine is one such author.

Another important quality that Reine handles well is keeping the flow going. Death’s Hand shows Reine’s skill at drawing the reader into the world of Elise Kavanagh and James Faulkner almost immediately. Remaining in the world of Elise, the kopis, and James, the aspis, was no effort at all. I am always gratified when an author manages to do that to me.

Our introduction to Elise and James is when James finds Elise surrounded by 12 female corpses on a plain in Russia. She is barely alive and even unconscious. We then jump briefly to a time ten years before that when Elise is handed her first kill by her father. Yes, I agree – perhaps you ought to be more than seven years old before you kill your first demon. After that we jump to the present (11 years after James found Elise) and meet an Elise and James who are both in retirement from the killing business.

Business is the wrong word to use for what the pair did. Elise is a kopis or sword while James is an aspis or shield. Their job used to be to make certain angels and demons kept humans from knowing about the supernatural world. Sometimes they had to kill to make that happen and the pair were always on the run just to keep alive. So, retirement makes sense and Elise has to use a pseudonym so she will not tip her clients off as to her identity.

Throughout Death’s Hand we go back and forth in time and we get glimpses of how Elise and James have ended up where they have and why Elise feels such a need for a semi-normal life. But the past has a tendency of catching up with us one way or another. Elise and James are no exception to that rule.

Elise is the kind of heroine that I enjoy reading about. Her strength is amazing and based on the scars of her past. Her past has left her highly vulnerable and one way to deal with that is to skunk the people who come into her life. All except for her room-mate Betty. Betty is the one thing in Elise’s life that Elise loves unconditionally. For some reason Betty has been the armor-piercing bullet that needed to get past Elise’s defences and keep her somewhat grounded. We all need friends like that.

James, on the other hand, seems to dislike and fear Elise at the same time as he feels the need to protect her. Granted, Elise is a force to fear, but then so is James Faulkner, the witch. Indeed, a very powerful witch at that. Hmmm?


Reviews: