***(3) out of 5 stars
I’m Ben Hallen and three months ago, I was struck by lightning.
When I wake up from a coma, I discover I now have the power to control that lightning. My cousin Rachel, who almost died that same day, also developed powers on the same night. At first, neither of us is sure what to make of the situation. But as we dig deeper into the origin of these powers, we discover a whole other half of the world, one filled with demons and the Hunters who kill them.
But that’s just the start. Ever since my coma, everything has been different and my powers are the least of my worries. Now my pregnant girlfriend is being stalked by a demon, and I’m starting to wonder if the lightning strike three months ago was more than just an accident…
This novella prequel is a pretty good start of a new series, setting up the story of Ben Hallen and how he comes to join the Hunter Circles. Mostly, it is full of stage-setting and world-building for future volumes of the series (of which the author has indicated there will be five).
An awful lot of time was spent explaining Ben’s three-month coma from his perspective, so you can imagine how exciting that was (read: not very). I kept waiting for something to become significant from his time spent in that void, but nothing seemed to; although perhaps it will in future works.
Ben basically just jumped back into his old life, and additional problems, after awakening from his coma. That he didn’t share more about the entire experience with his cousin Rachel, who is also afflicted with new powers, was very disappointing. When he did finally attempt to learn about where these abilities came from and how to wield them, he did so in a real half-hearted way. Not to mention that he excludes Rachel for quite a while after he does finally start to learn something.
The intro to the story also alludes to the fact that the accident that caused this change was perhaps not an accident, but that idea doesn’t seem to even be mentioned in the story.
All in all, this is a fairly good start for a new series, especially for a short story, but I would have enjoyed it more if Ben had been a more sympathetic character, and if more information had been given about this society with which he has aligned himself. Hopefully the latter at least will come in future installments. The premise definitely an intriguing one though, and I look forward to reading future tomes in this series!
I received a free copy of this novella from the author in a newsletter,
and have willingly provided an honest review.