Lonnie is just your average runner for the infamous Eighth Street Gang when he gets an urgent phone call to back up his crew after trouble follows them home from a drug deal gone bad.
During the ensuing firefight, Lonnie sees some things he wishes he hadn't, including the gang's leader, Selix, channeling her powers from a place called the Fade by getting high...and dancing. Memories begin unraveling inside Lonnie's darkened mind. Memories of dragons and fiends and fire-swept otherworlds. Memories Selix controls with a simple touch.
But what is real and what is not?
In the strange and violent world of Galefire, Lonnie comes to realize not everything is as it seems, including his own identity. But will Lonnie and Selix reconcile the past before they are caught by those who seek to drag them home in chains?
Lonnie, runner for the Eighth Street gang, has a feeling something about his life isn't right. He is the lowest member of the gang, used for running deliveries of drugs and going to the store for supplies. He just keeps feeling something isn't right, and keeps having wild dreams of another world where he is flying on a dragons back fighting airships! When he gets a frantic call from a gang member to meet them out back of the clubhouse and be prepared for violence, he doesn't expect to see what he does, as the club members are being attacked by supernatural creatures! After watching his gang leader Selix use magic after getting high to defeat the invaders, Lonnie is thoroughly confused, and even more so after she uses her powers to wipe away the memory. The memories are starting to refuse to stay buried though, and after the club is attacked again, Lonnie learns he has been kept in a memory wiped daze to protect him, since the beings hunting him could sense him if he had his memories. Lonnie and the other gang members are refugees from a lost war in another dimension, which one I wont tell because that would be a huge spoiler. This new knowledge Leeds to a climactic confrontation with the forces hunting for Lonnie, and his life will never be the same again, as he finally gets his memories back and realizes just who he really is, and what that means. Nothing will be the same again and he needs to decide what actions to take from that point on.
This is not the typical urban fantasy, with the usual wizard detective or some such. The Eighth Streeters are a violent drug gang, due to their upbringing. They have a much more varied past than you'd expect, hinted at through conversations. It is an interesting mix of characters, and they bicker and fight as any group in close quarters would be expected to. The hidden secret the gang hides does explain quite a lot of their actions, and when it finally explodes in violence, it is much larger than you'd expect. Even though the characters are more anti-hero than hero, you can still get to like them, and appreciate the lengths they go through to protect Lonnie.
The setting is grimy and well drawn out, and not some place you'd want to visit. It takes place in Cincinnati, not the normal Chicago or LA of UF novels, so that was interesting, and you can almost see the grime on the street and smell the reek of the sewers as explained in the book. Overall, a well drawn out world.
Scott Aiello, who also narrated the author's Gnome Saga books, did an excellent job bringing the various characters to life. Each character has his or her own unique voice, and he has a great touch with tone, pitch and cadence. His narration is always top notch, never lagging or monotonous. 5 star effort all the way around.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This might be one of the most interesting books I've read in a while. From the very beginning, I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into, but boy was it a fun book. It's one of those books that I can't write the review that I want because it will ruin some of the great story turns that happen in it.
Fade Rippers follows Lonnie, a runner for the Eighth Street gang. He's basically not allowed out the normal door of their hideout and feels like he's being totally wasted where he is. Suddenly, a phone call comes in that could change his life forever. The gang was in trouble and are asking him for help. What he finds when he finally gets out to help them will open his eyes to the Eighth Street gang and the people who he thought he knew.
The story revolving around Lonnie was an interesting one, he wasn't the most likable main character throughout most of the book but he was a funny and enjoyable one to follow around. I really can't write much about the story or the story arc that revolves around him, but it genuinely surprised me around every turn.
The story itself was a short one, but it was almost a complete one. It "finished" but definitely leaves room for a ton more to happen with this story. I think that by the end of the story, Lonnie really grew on me. His character went through a lot and was able to come out the other side a likable and easier to follow main character.
Overall, Fade Rippers was a story that I normally wouldn't have read, but I'm really glad that I did. An enjoyable story with lots of room to grow. I will definitely be following along eagerly. I wish that I read more stories like this so that I could compare Kenny Soward to another author, but I can tell you this. Be on the lookout for Soward. I'm betting he has a great career as an author. He has a talent for writing gritty and realistic fantasy stories.
The narration by Scott Aiello was spot on. He took the grit and vulgarity that Soward wrote into this book and made it easy to digest and incredibly fun to listen along to.
I was given a free copy of this book, this has not affected my review in any way.
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1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I fully admit to being a huge fan of Kenny Soward’s GnomeSaga series. This is a big departure, though, being a dark urban fantasy novel about a man named Lonnie who is a mysterious man enslaved to a gang of brutal drug-dealing fae who are more than they seem. The discovery of his true identity and the nature of his hallucinations form the heart of the book.
The mood of the book is unlike most urban fantasy storylines out there. It’s languid and surreal with Lonnie feeling very much out of step with his own life. He doesn’t have much control over himself because he is going through the motions of existence. Why? Because, he’s on drugs. Virtually any of his decisions not making any sense to himself or the audience make sense because he’s on drug and operating on autopilot.
The fact the drugs include mind-control, memory-alteration, and whatever other magic worked on him doesn’t change this fact. Contrary to hurting characterization, this actually helps it as we feel Lonnie struggle to regain some sense of control in his life. The characters are vivid and well realized, being both stylized as well as threatening.
Urban fantasy and horror is full of mind-controlled servants to various supernaturals with very few of them really delving into their nature. The fact Lonnie isn’t precisely a character like Renfield makes the story somewhat more interesting and unpredictable but I actually enjoyed this walk on the lower end of the totem pole.
In conclusion, Galefire is a very enjoyable urban fantasy novel which is different enough from others out there to be worth a look. I’m a bit worried about the ending but I hope the author will continue the dark, grimy, and trashy-sexy environment he’s created. It would be a shame to waste the book’s unique flavor.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
A peculiar book about drugs, street gangs, hell on earth and dragons … Lonnie is a young man with a drug problem and many more issues. He is the secret street runner for his crew doing all the buying and selling of packages and fetches anything needed. During one run he is called home by his crew to help in a street fight. This is where it becomes peculiar! His friends are dealers and thugs but because of their past and who he is … things begin to unravel and he discovers new uses for his drugs of choice. He can’t remember the name of his wife or child, but there is so much that he does remember … or does he? Kenny Soward weaves a fantastic tale that will have you on the edge of your seat. There were a few moments where I felt lost but Soward solved that confusion quickly and completely.
Soward takes his characters and builds them neatly into the plot but gives them depth that is interesting and meaningful – in other words they are much more than they seem. The twist this story takes is unexpected and amazing. It’s one of those “what, huh? Oh … wow” moments. This book is one of those rare finds where you are blindsided by the outcome.
Soward does a magnificent job of storytelling, not leaving anything to chance – instead, Soward takes the common response and turns everything upside down.
The narrator, Scott Aiello does an excellent job of performing the cast of characters especially the Jamaican and the Brit. Loved his performance! His voice was smooth and reflected the energy of each character.
There were no issues with the production or quality of this audiobook.
Audiobook was provided for review by the author.
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6 of 11 people found this review helpful
A fast paced book.It was rather confusing until the end as to what was happening.Lonny is a clean up guy,the guy that goes for food,the guy no one sees.He had a family once,but now he can't remember their names.He thinks he's a loser.He finds out he is so much more before the book ends.His team will help.Scott Aiello was the perfect narator.“I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.”
Lonnie is a gofer to a low-level Cincinnati gang, the 8th Street Gang. He’s been working for them for years and his memories, both long-term and day-to-day, are fuzzy. He has vague memories of a wife and 7 year old daughter but he also has memories of riding a dragon once upon a time. Obviously, he chocks that up to all the drug use, at least until a drawn out gun fight reveals to him that his boss, Selix, has some supernatural powers.
This is both a gritty and drug-hazy urban fantasy. Lonnie and his gang live in this grungy, questionable place and spend quite a bit of time watching bad TV, doing a variety of drugs, and screwing around. That’s when they aren’t involved in illegal activities like gun fights and selling drugs. Lonnie himself is in a perpetual drug haze for most of the book and as he starts to break through that haze, more and more memories come to the forefront, causing him to question what’s real and what’s not.
I really enjoyed this story because it wasn’t the typical mystery + magic urban fantasy and Lonnie wasn’t your typical hero. He’s mopping up blood while listening to the news, letting his mind wander. He does whatever he’s told to do because he’s the lowest man in the gang though he often doesn’t like it. In fact, we learn that early on when he decides not to take a call from the Brit, who is second in command of the little gang. I had fun with this character because he can be so proper and deadly at the same time.
Then the shooting starts. There’s this great fight scene that is probably one of the longest in fantasy literature. This prolonged fight acts like a trigger for the real Lonnie that’s buried under years of drug use and mind manipulation. It turns out Selix, leader of the gang, has some supernatural powers that include memory manipulation. As with all the members of the gang, the right combination of drugs can bolster their supernatural powers or keep them suppressed. I was a little concerned that this would be used as an excuse to do as they please, and there is a bit of that with some of the characters (such as with the raven-haired goth twins Ingrid and Elsa). After all, they do live in pretty dismal conditions. Crash (who has a Jamaican accent), one of the biggest guys Lonnie has ever seen, acts as muscle for the gang. Then we learn there’s a bigger secret they are trying to keep hidden and that one centers around Lonnie.
Now let’s talk a little bit about the Fade. That’s where Selix and the rest draw their power from. For Selix, dancing and the right drugs can help her pull on that power. However, there’s more going on there as well. There’s a revenge story in the middle of all this and Lonnie has his part to play. This tale was never boring! With that said, I would have liked a bit more explanation on the Fade and how is works with this gang.
I liked that the author included specific weapons. For instance, Lonnie uses a Springfield XDS instead of the author just saying Lonnie had a handgun.
I received a free copy of this book.
The Narration: Scott Aiello was a great pick for this book. His narration was a great performance. He was perfect for Lonnie as he goes through all the changes he does in this book. His female voices were believable and he kept all the characters distinct. He even threw in some well done accents, like British and Jamaican.
Right from the start, the main character is beaten down with nowhere to go. Great opening to the book. Then as the plot unwinds, you get the feeling that he may be more than what he seems.
This was my first book by Kenny Soward and I would not hesitate to read or listen more of his.
"This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review."
Any additional comments?
This is a page turner that is set in a steamy and dark environment. The world building is quite good and the characters are suitable to their parts. Not for the readers of fluffy lovely fae. The story is full of the underbelly of a place where drugs, violence and sex are a regular backdrop. Unusual circumstances arise that test the main character and his navigation through is compelling. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.
This story was fun from beginning to end. As the main character pieces his memories together, he takes you along for the ride. I'm looking forward to the next one.
I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
This was a pretty good book, a bit odd, but good. I found myself riveted from the beginning. Even after finishing it, I'm still puzzling out what I heard. The story is a lot more complex than I first thought and I'm actually pretty interested in hearing more of the story.
I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher, and/or narrator.
I greatly enjoyed many aspects of the story portrayed by Scott Aiello, the difference between the characters was not only easy but also enjoyable. The difference in accents gave an interesting aspect to the book and helped along with an interesting story, that was not what I expected, to make this a very enjoyable listen.