Oblivion Storm by R.A. Smith
Over a century past, a wily young pauper wins the hearts of a childless couple of ancient nobility, and a place in one of the most prestigious families in London. The sole heir to the Grenshall family legacy, Iris ‘Tally’ Grenshall fights to protect her family from the machinations of an evil woman, but discovers her adversary presents a threat much greater than she ever imagined . . .
The victim of a brutal attack, Rose remembers one thing: a long-dead woman giving her an impossible task. She knows only the price of failure as she sets out to retrieve a deadly talisman, with the aid of new friends and powers over the living and the dead. As the body count rises, Rose’s quest grows desperate–with London itself in jeopardy.
Rose and Tally share fates intertwined. Rose must discover how before the secrets of the past destroy her, her friends, and all of London.
Oblivion Storm is the best new urban fantasy series by a new author I have read all year. Action packed, unsentimental, and fresh, Smith takes us on a journey back and forth through time as his heroine Mary(Rose) fights an unknown force bent on decimating London and slaking an unquenchable thirst for souls.
The book’s pace is slower in the first half of the book as much of the world building is established but readily gains traction as the story moves forward. On her way home one night, Mary is brutally attacked on the Underground . She eventually awakens in a hospital with no memory of her life prior to the attack. Armed with new abilities she doesn’t begin to understand, Mary(Rose) is soon befriended by Jennifer, another person with unusual abilities, right before her attacker from the underground arrives at the hospital to finish the job. Soon Mary(Rose) learns that she can control the souls of both the living & the dead and, she can also travel back & forth between the spirit realm and the human world. Aided by her new friends, Jennifer and Kara, and a ghostly spirit, Tally, Mary(Rose) embarks on a quest to stop her assailant, close a series of portals popping up all over London, vanquish a powerful soul stealer, and regain her memory before London is destroyed.
Written in a style that is direct and full of humor, there were times when I would have liked a chance to know what Mary(Rose) was thinking or feeling. But overall, Smith has created a heroine who is very similar in tone to Joss Whedon’s Buffy Summers- irreverent, brave, and determined. I was pleased to see a lack of vampires, werewolves, angels, etc. Our heroine doesn’t swing a sword or practice martial arts nor is she raised or related to supes. Mary was just an average every day girl who suddenly found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time and in the process learned she had a destiny she would never have imagined.
Smith’s writing is full of imagery that makes it easy to feel part of the story. The level of action is high from the start and similar in level with other UF writers like, J. Frost or K. Chance. Unlike many other books in UF, there are no romantic entanglements in this novel. Anglophiles will love the London setting and the genuine British vocabulary.
Oblivion Storm, the first book in the The Grenshall Manor Chronicles will be followed by the second book dropping December 2013. Xchyler Publishing is a new publisher with a focus on UF, PNR, SteamPunk, YA, and Gas Light. Oblivion Storm is their first novel and R. A. Smith is a new author. I suggest following them on Facebook, Twitter or their website as they’ve already told me they will have wonderful giveaways, etc planned starting with March 11, 2013 – when Oblivion Storm will be 99¢ on Amazon.com. Don’t miss the chance to get Oblivion Storm today.
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