‘Judd’ by J.D Toombs and Erika Schulze – Review

A ‘high school for heroes’ tale about the power of accepting who you are paired with some unique world building…

Welcome to Aries High, a school for those with unique powers but in this world they are known as Fragments. The only problem is our main character and narrator Samael Judd doesn’t appear to have any powers… That is without mentioning the many pressures he faces for someone his age from stepping out of his older brother’s shadow to even making the basketball team and while he does his best to hide a lack of powers he’s also concealing his sexuality. If both are revealed the repercussions could be disastrous, at least to him anyway. There are only a few he can fully trust and confide in – perhaps the most realistic thing about the social politics of high school, something this story captures well.

There are some unique and interesting concepts in this world of Fragment’s and that world building is something I want to see more of. Terminology and abilities like ‘technomancy’ and ‘magnekenisis’ sound cool and these concepts are only really touched upon as most of the story focuses on Judd’s journey and his high school life which is most probably just the beginning. The symbolism paired with the struggle to accept one’s self is what you’ll find at the centre of this tale and it’s bravely executed. From fighting bullies to borrowing a new girl’s magical dragon to pretend you have powers – as I said cool concepts, there are even some awesome references to video games and music.

On a few occasions there were moments where scenes felt crowded with quite a number of characters present so it was a little difficult to follow and transitions between scenes did occur rather abruptly but overall Judd is a unique story full of drama that captures coming of age, explores social issues and celebrates diversity.

4 Stars – Reviews left on Amazon and Goodreads. Thank you to the Author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review. Judd is released today – grab yourself a copy here!

The Relic Spell By Jimena I. Novaro – Review

A gripping tale of magic and sorcery with an important message…

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From the very start of this story I found myself immersed into an original and intricately crafted world of sorcery that is both full of action and intrigue. Jimena Novaro has written a book that also captures and reflects on modern times with a distinct rich and poor divide in the setting of ‘Port Monica’.

We are introduced to main character and hero ‘Orion Tamura’ who is perhaps the only powerful sorcerer left in town. By day he’s a regular school kid from a not so privileged family that includes two younger siblings and a mother to look out for. By night he is joined by best friend ‘Max’ and together they fight demons – there are a host of creative, fun and chilling creatures they face off throughout the story. On the surface their relationship appears to be of old friends, or even sorcerer and warrior but for Orion he wants more and Max already has someone else, this makes for a conflicting scenario our hero must face as well as the apparent dangers that already lurk in their home town.

There’s a mysterious back story to Orion’s father who like many other sorcerers vanished during the ‘Phyrian War’, we only get snippets of what happened and I imagine more of the ‘war’ will be explored in future stories. Much of the history in this book is what makes everything so well detailed and thought out. I must give credit to the author for bringing to life a world full of depth and even realism for the genre.

A powerful spell is unleashed that threatens to ravage ‘Port Monica’ and Orion begins his journey to face the evil that is behind it. Along the way he is helped by part demon fighters (Elsa comes to mind), fellow sorcerers (Julian) and even his ex girlfriend in what is an enjoyable voyage of revelations into this bold world of magic where ‘natural energy’ and ‘demon energy’ are pitted against one another.

It’s very clear to see Jimena Novaro has spent much time writing a story that feels personal and inviting at the same time. The book contains so much for a reader to enjoy, from a wealth of great characters to a story where something is always happening; if there isn’t action, there’s tension, intrigue or mystery.

Novaro even pays tribute to her own Argentinian routes which is a nice personal touch, while also reflecting on modern society and creating a main character that is bisexual and another character who prefers to be referred as ‘they’ – a first I have known in any book and a huge step in the right direction for not only story telling but the world.

The Relic Spell is a story about so much more than sorcery and magic, from family, friends to politics and even society its highly enjoyable!

5 Stars – This was a great read! I would like to thank the author for providing me with an ARC. Reviews left on both Goodreads and Amazon UK 

The Relic Spell is out now!