Friday, March 23, 2018

Reader's Review: "Charon Unguarded" by A. H. Johnstone

Synopsis from Amazon:
Charon was once the Ferryman of the Underworld. Now he’s the doorman of a disused office block. If only the old Gods hadn’t lost that drunken bet all those centuries ago, things would be very different. For a start, Ragnarök probably wouldn’t be on its way.
Ra is looking for a way of escaping the mortal realm, but there’s something about his plans he isn’t telling everyone.
Maybe Charon is the only one who’s noticed. He certainly seems to be the only one who cares. But can he do anything about it? It looks like he’s going to try. But there are others who might profit from the situation, and the last thing he wants is the Fae Courts breathing down his neck.

My Review:

Supernatural/mythological fiction has seen a sharp uptick in popularity, especially with the likes of Rick Riordan and Neil Gaiman taking a stab at the more popular pantheons. Religion in literature is a hairy thing to contend with, especially if you do it wrong and end up either bashing other religions, or shoving a certain religion very un-subtly in your reader's face. Somebody like Brandon Sanderson, for example, and his Mistborn series saw several para-religious themes carried out in a balanced and respectful way, paying homage to many different beliefs. In the realm of independently-published authors, I've enjoyed the finesse of authors like K. M. Vanderbilt and the "dynamic duo" of Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins.

After reading this book, I would willingly add Johnstone to their ranks. Merely the fact that, out of all the Greek pantheon, she selects Charon as her main character, lets you know that this isn't going to be an ordinary adventure. The fact that, essentially, the gods have been forced to live in the mortal realm (under our very noses!) is both hilarious and a great way to place all the characters on even footing, though some would rather see about setting themselves up to receive all the power over others.

The thing I loved most about this book was how relatable the characters were. From Charon trying to get Hermes on board with his schemes, to pompous Ra, "Big Boss-Man" Zeus, and the double-dealing Odin--all of them were quite entertaining with their shenanigans! I felt for Charon in his quest to get to the truth of the matter and stop the ones who would just destroy the mortal world and everyone in it because it suited (or didn't suit) their desires... The pain and betrayal he experiences along the way, as well as the unassuming sense of morality he has--all of it came together nicely in a well-paced adventure!

I would absolutely rate Charon Unguarded a full *****5 STARS***** for all the fun I had reading it! It has everything from humor to heaviness, intriguing mystery, twists of peril, and a great many feelings in between! Be warned: once you start, you'll want to just keep reading more about Charon and his quest to save the world, long after the last page of this book!

Further Reading (Supernatural/Paranormal/Pantheons/Multiverse Adventures)

The Fair Folk Chronicles--Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins
        -Foul is Fair
        -Street Fair
        -A Fair Fight
        -All's Fair 
The Firebird Fairy Tales--Amy Kuivalainen
       -The Cry of the Firebird  
Lord of the Wyrde Woods--Nils Visser
  -Escape From Neverland
     -Dance Into The Wyrd
-Skeins Unfurled--K. M. Vanderbilt
The LouisiAngel Series--C. L. Coffey
        -Angel in Training
        -Angel Eclipsed
The Books of Winter--R. R. Virdi
       -Dangerous Ways
The Grave Reports--R. R. Virdi
        -Grave Beginnings
        -Grave Measures
        -Grave Dealings  

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