Rend the Dark (Echoes of the Ascended: Ferran) (Volume 1) - Mark Gelineau, Joe King

Rend the Dark is the type of genre blender stories which I adore. Specifically this novella takes horror and fantasy themes, mixes them all together and concocts a powerful brew which is insightful, suspenseful, and meaningful. All the while, Mr. Gelineau and Mr. King also find time to give enough nods to world building and characterization to make this far from a one-and-done story, but rather serve as a true launching pad for a brand new series, one which demands to be followed to the end.

In the short prologue, Ferran, an acolyte of the Order of Talan (or “witch hunters” as most call them) is introduced; his life long ability to see the hidden demons who haunt the world bringing both sorrow and determination to his life from a young age. But while Ferran recalls his past, his eyes look to the future, and as he eventually hefts his short spear in one hand and wraps a long silver battle chain around his other, a reader’s pulse begins to pound, as this would be hero sets off to help rid the world of its hidden tormentors.

Once the main story begins, however, a new point of view character is quickly introduces: Hileon the magister. This ordinary government agent is anxiously waiting the arrival of strangers to his territory. His mind is a whirl, his fears are great; even the presence of his friend and fellow magister Riffolk as well as the formidable warder Aker is not sufficing to set his mind at ease. The reason is fairly simple: strange occurrences and disappearances are happening.

Naturally, on cue, two strangers appear. One is Ferran; the other is his fellow witch hunter Mireia. The two having been summoned by Warder Aker, who fears that worse than bandits are loose in the march. And when demons are mentioned as the possible culprits, poor Hileon’s legs grow weak from even contemplating something so awful, and he and Riffolk attempt to shout down even the remote possibility of such beings even existing. But soon circumstances bring the matter into focus, taking Hileon, Ferran and all the rest down into the depths of darkness and despair, as the true nightmares of the world arise around them!

To my eyes, the beauty of Rend is two fold: it is short in length but filled with depth. Or, in other words, Mr. Gelineau and Mr. King gift readers with a quick, horror-infused adventure story in a fantasy world, which is amazingly well developed. How they accomplish this is truly mesmerizing. A statement here, a flashback there, a short comment, and this fantasy world and its denizens quickly begin to materialize before your eyes. All the while, you hardly notice it occurring because you are so focused on the terrifying situations which our main characters are attempting to navigate their way through. And while I could complain about the story not being long enough, I won’t, because I’m completely sold on the authors’ vision and fully intend to ride this amazing novella series until it ends!

I received this book from the authors and Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank both of them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.