Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott
As with all good first books in a series, A Fistful of Evil starts off slow, lazily introducing characters (and Imps) into the fold before rising to a fevered pitch at the end, only to segue into the next book. This helps in an urban fantasy novel which deals more of the fantastic than most. Demons, imps, hounds and other denizens of the primordium; the invisible world visible only to those who have the sight that allows them to peer into that vista and channel energies through it.
Madison Fox, the lead protagonist is a “late bloomer” to say the least. She’s suppressed her sight for twenty-five years, hasn’t learned what most teens have working with channeling, and after being hastily indoctrinated into the role of illuminant enforcer (IE for short) – the police guard of evils of primordium – has her work cut out for her. It’s a growing pains story, full of witticisms, playful analogy, and probably one of the best descriptions of a fantasy convention I’ve ever read. You really warm up to her insecurities, pressures, and the need for her to prove herself. It’s a one woman book and at the helm is a delightful character.
Befitting of good urban fantasies, the writing is terse but playful, and the plot tightly woven. The style is very amicable, playing with the reader’s senses as realms are shifted. Sight, one of the hardest senses to fully write about, is handled beautifully, by not giving to much play on the real world, except for cursory observation, and lighting up the “other realm” with vivid, spectacular prose
The characterization is also extremely well done. The cast of characters leap off the page in vivid three dimensionality, each displaying individual quirks and mannerisms that range from the sublime to the absurd, defining them in their own unique way. Brad Pitt (no, not that one), Nico, Rebecca, Doris and even the fleeting Kyle and the non-humans to name a few are all memorable characters, that I hope to see more of in the books to follow.
The plot is carefully paced, teaching the reader the lay of the land, whilst Madison undergoes her trial by fire. . At no time is the reader left in the dark, unless intentionally doing so, and words glisten until the closing chapter. The pace seemed, albeit carefully planned, to be a natural reading experience. There is no beginning in medias res so the plot grows as Madison’s control over her power improves. Stylistically, I couldn’t picture it done any other way.
Lovers of urban fantasy, such as The Beholder, The Hollows series, or The Matrix movies will find enough thrills, shocks and, I’m quite sure will come to covet this book as a “fan favorite.” There is no doubt that this is a strong contender in the urban fantasy genre.