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Title: The Lore of Prometheus
Author: Graham Austin-King
Published: 30th of November 2018 – Fallen Leaf Press
Format: Digital – 287 pages
Hello Hello! How are you?
Today I am thrilled to be bringing you my review of The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King, the winner of #BBNYA2020 and a book that was well-loved by many of our panellists, including myself.
I received this book to read and review as part of the BBNYA 2020 competition and the BBNYA tours organised by @The_WriteReads tours team. All opinions are my own.
BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors.
If you are an author and wish to learn more about the 2021 BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website here, or our Twitter account, @BBNYA_Official. If you would like to sign-up and enter your book, you can find the BBNYA 2021 author sign up form here. Please make sure to carefully read our terms and conditions before entering.
John Carver has three rules: Don’t drink in the daytime, don’t gamble when the luck has gone, and don’t talk to the dead people who come to visit.
It has been almost five years since the incident in Kabul. Since the magic stirred within him and the stories began. Fleeing the army, running from the whispers, the guilt, and the fear he was losing his mind, Carver fell into addiction, dragging himself through life one day at a time.
Desperation has pulled him back to Afghanistan, back to the heat, the dust, and the truth he worked so hard to avoid. But there are others, obsessed with power and forbidden magics, who will stop at nothing to learn the truth of his gifts. Abducted and chained, Carver must break more than his own rules if he is to harness this power and survive.
Trigger Warnings: PTSD, depression, vivid recollection of death and killings, death, kidnap, torture, amputation, fire/burning alive, murder, military environments, bullet wounds/gun violence, blood, gore, being tied up and kept prisoner, drugging, alcoholism, gambling, hallucinations, medical procedures, and violence.
The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King is a standalone fantasy set in our world in which the main characters John Carver and Mackenzie Cartwright are thrust into a world they never imagined and subjected to untold horrors. Let’s just say that this book is not one to read if you are faint-hearted or if you are sensitive to any of the trigger warnings above.
When it was announced that this book had won the BBNYA 2020 competition, I was really happy but also a little jealous that I hadn’t gotten the chance to read it during the final round, so when the tour came around, I was so excited to start it, and I can definitely see why it came 1st place.
This book is set for the first couple of chapters in present-day London and we don’t get to see much of the place before the main character heads to Afghanistan to get away from his troubles in the UK and find work as personal security detail.
What we see the most of is a place that I can’t even describe or talk about because it would be a really big spoiler, BUT, what I am able to say is that the author has a way with words and I could picture each place and room vividly, and the atmosphere suffused into the setting really came through the writing and kept me turning the pages as fast as I possibly could.
John: I think out of all the characters in this book, my favourite character was definitely John. He suffers from PTSD and survivor’s guilt because he wasn’t able to save some of the men in his squad during an event that named him the “Miracle of Kabul”, and he blames himself constantly for their deaths. I was instantly drawn to his character and felt an immense amount of compassion. I can’t begin to understand what it would feel like to go through what he did, but I really have to applaud the author because while the subjects tackled are very delicate and can be done badly, here I think, there was sensitivity alongside realism that made everything believable and very poignant. I really liked John as a character and I just wanted him to be okay.
Mackenzie: Mackenzie is the other main character in this book and one that I didn’t enjoy as much as John, but I was still intrigued by her. I found her chapters to be really interesting because of what happened – we don’t see the same places, people or events through both characters, so I got to see more through Mackenzie. I don’t know why I didn’t enjoy her character as much as John but she was still enjoyable, realistic and very believable. I was rooting for both of them to “get out” and get safe and I’m really glad of how things ended.
The squad: As I just mentioned above, John sees the men he was unable to save in a raid gone wrong in Kabul years earlier, and throughout The Lore of Prometheus, we get to see these men. I could picture each of them, I found them also believable whereas they are more of a figment of John’s imagination, but it was really emotional at times seeing John deal with them. One scene at the end nearly had me in tears (you’ll know which one I mean, hint, in the desert, hint, helicopter) and I found that even though they weren’t really “in the book” we still got a glimpse into them as characters, which I found really well done.
Janan and Elias: These are some characters that we see later on in the book and I can’t say much about them but wow, I never saw that coming and they kept me guessing right until the end.
PTSD and survivor’s guilt: This is what I would call the main theme of the book because a lot of moments when John is alone concentrates on his feelings, his guilt and the people he sees/voices he hears. This is such a complicated and delicate subject to broach in a book and I can’t even imagine actually being in John’s situation. He comes across as a very human character, and I just want to take all his pain away. I liked the development that was done around this theme and I thought the author went about it in a really sensitive and clever way. It is raw and it does get to you while reading, but it’s done in such a way that it puts you in the character’s shoes, but also standing outside looking in. I don’t know how to explain it, but I really appreciated the glimpse it offered me.
War, violence, blood and gore: This book is nothing if not violent, bloody and gory, as you can see from the trigger warnings above. It’s not for the faint of heart and I would not read it if I were sensitive to those topics. This book also focuses on war. We get a glimpse into the life of a soldier, both while in the forces, during missions and once the character has left the army. John was in the SRR, a small task force in the SAS, and we get to see some flashbacks of what his time was like while he was enrolled in the army. I’ve not read many books with soldiers as characters, so it was intriguing and again, I found it well done as it was both believable and easily understandable, using layman terms for those of us who have no idea what it’s like to be in the forces. A lot of death, torture, blood, needless pain and suffering are seen in this book and I would keep that in mind if you feel like reading it.
A unique take on the fantasy genre: The kind of fantasy that I read jumps straight into imagined worlds with a tonne of magic, political intrigues, a touch of romance, but this is definitely NOT what I got here – which is not bad though! This book was very slow to show you the “fantasy” side, which was new for me, but I actually quite enjoyed it. I would say it’s a lot more urban fantasy than fantasy itself as we only see the fantasy side towards the middle. I liked how everything was built up from the characters’ recollections and feelings concerning their powers and it was very intriguing to see how the author created such a unique take on my favourite genre. If you are hoping for full-on fantasy from page 1, this is not it, but it is something very interesting and worth your time for sure.
A critique on human nature: Finally, I do want to touch on the fact that I found this book to critique human nature quite a bit, which is always an interesting topic and one that is very needed in my opinion. The critique was both subtle and very obvious, but I liked the balance that the author found. I can’t talk about the circumstances around this critique, but it was really well done and had my brain thinking for the entirety of my reading experience.
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
Overall, this was such a unique, interesting and well-executed book that thoroughly deserved the winner spot in the BBNYA competition last year. I had no idea what to expect going in despite having read the blurb and hearing people on the panel rave about it, but I’m so glad I decided to take part in the tour for it.
I found the writing style to be tight, well-executed and very, very good. I was hooked from the minute I opened it on my Kindle and despite having to stop a few times (because I fell asleep) and reading it over a few days, I was quickly sucked back into this world and the characters’ feelings every time. I will be honest and say I was expecting more fantasy and magic, and it was a tad disappointing to only get a little bit of it, but it was so unique that I really can’t fault the way the author pulled it off. Again, Graham tackled some very delicate issues very well and I will certainly be looking into more of his books.
I gave this book 4 stars (full ASPECTS rating below). It was an incredibly well written, thought-out, researched and executed book that I thoroughly enjoyed and that had me thinking and had me in various emotional states throughout. As I mentioned above, please don’t read this book if you have any of those TWs because they are all relatively vivid and graphic.
If you like poignant, raw and touching topics in unique urban fantasy books with very complex characters, a well-thought-out plot, discussions on human nature and ethics as well as a fabulous writing style, then this is the book for you, I highly recommend it.
Once again, thank you so much to @The_WriteReads tours team and the @BBNYA_Official team for all their hard work and dedication throughout the competition and for putting on an exceptional bunch of tours that I enjoyed immensely. It was an honour taking part in both the panel last year and the tours this year and I look forward to new amazing indie reads for #BBNYA2021.
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed reading this review and will pick up this book, see you soon, stay safe,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – GRAHAM AUSTIN-KING
Graham Austin-King was born in the south of England and weaned on broken swords and half-forgotten spells.
A shortage of these forced him to consume fantasy novels at an ever-increasing rate, turning to computers and tabletop gaming between meals.
He experimented with writing at the beginning of an education that meandered through journalism, international relations, and law. To this day he is committed to never allowing those first efforts to reach public eyes.
After spending a decade in Canada learning what ‘cold’ really means, and being horrified by poutine, he settled once again in the UK with a seemingly endless horde of children.
To date he is the author of five novels, drawing on a foundation of literary influences ranging from David Eddings to Clive Barker.
Atmosphere – 5.5
Start – 5.5
Pacing – 5.5
Ending – 8
Characters – 7.5
Theme – 7
Style – 8.5
Total = 47.5
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If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here: Amazon UK – Amazon FR – Amazon US – AbeBooks – The Book Depository – Audible FR – Waterstones – Barnes and Noble – Audible UK – Scrib’d – Blackwell’s – BetterWorldBooks