3 out of 4 stars
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It is always curious how authors mix multiple genres and come out with something unique. In Malice of the Cross by Jeremy Croston, the author brings faith, fantasy, and horror/thriller to create quite an exciting tale following a daemon fighter, a vampyre, and a blind seer.
Determined and strong Maximus Brinza has always fought off daemons attacking his hometown of Stefania. One day, he meets the vicious vampyre Radu Dracul and an odd bond joins the two. Not only did Radu know Max’s father and grandfather, but he is determined to kill his evil vampyre brother, Vlad Dracul, to finally put a halt in the numerous murders throughout the years caused by his sibling. As the strange pair join forces, they meet the talented and strong-willed Abigail. Though unable to see, her presence fulfills an old prophecy and her talent in taking action when recognizing danger cannot be measured. Will the trio be able to get rid of, once and for all, The Impaler, Vlad, and his minions of witches, vampyres, and werewolves?
Told in the first-person point-of-view, I would say this story is more plot-driven than character-driven. The reader does get to know a bit of each character's background, but only just enough to somewhat understand each characters’ motives to go against Vlad. This, in turn, makes it challenging to feel much emotion toward the characters. There were times when the perspective changed, still being first-person, but another character’s voice. It didn’t happen very often, but when it did, I had to read a bit to figure out who was speaking, which caused me to backtrack a few times.
The plot is filled with much action sequence and was easy to follow, but did include several gory scenes. There always seemed to have been someone that the protagonists were killing or fighting off. It was personally a bit much for me, but I can see others not being fazed by the amount of murders and blood that fill the book’s pages. I do feel compelled to mention that several years pass in various European locations to show the progression of the story. However, it was simple to follow and was done logically.
Much of the text references God and Bible verses. Due to being a believer, this did not bother me, but I can see how the amount included could be off-putting to some readers. However, it is interesting to point out that those practicing the faith also were the ones who killed a lot of people and/or creatures.
With its themes of history repeats itself, faith, friendship, good versus evil, and revenge, Malice of the Cross, does make for an intriguing read. With no real dull moment, it was easy to read multiple chapters in one sitting without getting bored.
When considering everything, I give this book a 3 out of 4 stars. I could have done with less gory scenes and more character development, but it was still enjoyable. I would recommend Malice of the Cross to those who enjoy Christian Fantasies and don’t mind gore in your text.
Malice of the Cross
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