3 out of 4 stars
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Daniel didn’t even know he had a daughter until recently, but now that she’s in his custody following the death of her mother, he’s determined to forge a relationship with her. When he ends up in the town of Shellingdon Heights, hunted by dog-monsters, other human/animal crossbreeds, and agents of a shadowy corporation, that seems like it’s going to be even more difficult than he thought. Especially as he learns more about the mysteries of the town, and just exactly how his daughter fits into it all.
I really enjoyed the fact that The Last Rite by Chad Morgan created its own mythology, rather than relying on existing tropes. Even the dog-monsters, which could have been similar to werewolves, were distinctly different. All the creatures were terrifying, and the author was not afraid to delve into gory detail in the numerous fight scenes. The one thing I felt the story suffered from was a lack of world-building aside from what Daniel encounters. It frequently felt like elements of the world appeared only when they were relevant to Daniel’s story, and it would have been nice if the universe of the story felt a little more cohesive.
The version of the book that I received to review was the audiobook version. I enjoyed the fact that it was narrated by the author, as I feel he was able to give a better interpretation as regards things like pace and tone. I didn’t particularly love the fact that each of the characters had their own voice actor, however. While it did sometimes help bring out their personalities, at other times it felt a bit jarring to switch voices for only a few words of dialogue.
The main criticism I have is how the female characters were written. They were all very sexualised, even in situations where it really didn’t make sense. For example, in one scene one of the characters is pregnant, and all she can think about is what effect that’s going to have on her ‘sexy butt.’ There was also not a huge amount of character development from anyone during the course of the book, although to be fair there isn’t really much time for most of them to do anything other than survive.
Overall, I would rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. While there were elements I didn’t particularly love, in general, the plot was fast-paced and interesting, with plenty of space for a good sequel. I would recommend this for people who like gripping fantasy novels, although be warned that it can be a bit graphically violent at times.
The Last Rite
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