3 out of 4 stars
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Kane leads a very interesting and dangerous life. He is an agent for the covert Section Seven unit that deals with paranormal entities that try to cause havoc in the human world. This book is the collection of six stories that paint a picture of his experiences with a different bunch of people, in a different environment, fighting a supernatural force they haven’t encountered before. From an occult group that tries to control vicious demons to a group of fanatics who are willing to murder people in the name of offering to their gods, Kane has seen men do unspeakable things to each other. He has seen supernatural forces of the most degraded form, and he has come face to face with the beings who are older than humanity itself.
Written in the third person, Section Seven unfolds from the perspective of Kane. Rob Mancebo has spun some wild tales with a character as intriguing as the stories. The premise of the stories isn’t limited to a single set of religion or mythology. One story involves a Hindu goddess, while the other explores the tales of demons as told in the Bible. The environment, too, changes in every chapter. While in one, Kane is scouring the streets of New York for a mage who brings inanimate objects to life, in the other, he is stranded in the Middle East with an expedition to find a lost treasure.
Section Seven is a very well-written book. It is exciting and makes the reader eager to turn one page after another to find out what’s next in store for Kane. The mix of folklores and mythologies from all over the world adds to its appeal. The author cuts no slack, and the stories keep getting better and better. There is more to it than just the supernatural stuff. There is horror, thrill, and a strong whodunit factor. Your heart beats faster as you feel the danger closing in on Kane and his companions. The cases are like puzzles and Kane is Sherlock Holmes of the supernatural stuff.
Another thing that makes Section Seven a good read is its characters, especially the protagonist. Even though Kane is the hero of these stories, he is not a pure black or white character. He has many shades to him, some of which come as a real surprise to us. Any more details about him pose the risk of spoiling some crucial aspects of the stories. All you need to know is that Kane is not your usual hero. He’ll get the job done, but you might not like the way he gets it done!
The rest of the characters in the book are very diverse. The author has sketched them pretty clearly and, in no time, you feel like you know them well. The descriptions of the surroundings are detailed and easily form a picture in your head. The ambience of the stories is mostly dark as they take place in deserted areas and stormy nights. It works well with the tone of the plot and allows the writer to generate a mystical environment. Some characters act as a comic relief to balance all this heaviness of the stories.
A handful of grammatical errors prevented this book from being perfect. My rating for Section Seven is 3 out of 4 stars. If I could, I would have given it a 3.5. People who like to read supernatural stories or are interested in mythologies and folklores will like this book. Apart from the protagonist and the supernatural entities that appear in it, they will like the endings of the stories. The last story ends at something of a cliffhanger; and if the author decides to write a sequel, I’ll surely read it.
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