Banshee by Terry Maggert is a science fiction and fantasy novel I was sent by the author to take a peek at. I intended to review it much sooner, but as you may read in the author’s note below, life is a very fickle thing. Initially what attracted me to this story was the focus on dragons and war. The promise of demons and monsters “sweeping across the planet in a wave of death” had my name written all over it. Who doesn’t love destruction and dragons?
Cities Fall. Dragons Rise. War Begins.
The war for earth began in Hell. First came the earthquakes. Then came the floods. Finally, from the darkened mines, caves and pits, the creatures of our nightmares boiled forth to sweep across the planet in a wave of death.
On the run and unprepared, mankind is not alone. We have dragons.
Emerging from their slumber, giant dragons select riders to go to war. Their forces strike back at the legions of demons that attack on the night of every new moon. The Killing Moon, as it becomes known, is the proving ground for warriors of skill and heart. Among the riders is Saavin, a brave young woman from the shattered remains of Texas. Her dragon, Banshee, is swift and fearless, but they will need help to fight a trio of monstrous creatures that Hell is using to take cities one by one.
With the help of French Heavener, a warrior of noble intent, Banshee and Saavin will launch a desperate defense of New Madrid, the last city standing. But first, they’ll have to go into the very cave where demons bide their time until the sun fades and the moon is black.
The hope of mankind rests on dragon’s wings and the bravery of Saavin and French.
They have the guts. They have the guns.
They have dragons.
Fantasy is a unique genre. By nature it not only commands but requires a level of disbelief that other genres can dream of. Banshee compounds this by introducing science fiction elements. Sci-fi is yet another genre that requires more imagination on the part of the reader. Many indie authors aren’t up to the task and fall short of their grand intentions, leaving readers disappointed. As George R.R. Martin has proven, there is a science to character, plot, and world development in fantasy novels.
Thankfully, Maggert delivers.
The reader is introduced to the concept of total world destruction gradually. Initially, I will admit the format of the book is difficult to follow. (At least in audio book form.) The focus shifts dramatically from one chapter to the next and the sections are introduced as if they were archived material. Maggert’s habit of shifting between locations and characters of focus persists throughout the novel, but it is most disorienting in the first few chapters because the information is presented as a historical document rather than being attached to a character by way of a memory or retelling.
While this is a useful tool for an author, it makes for a dull read. However, I would encourage you to keep pressing on! Maggert is a master of character creation and once the stories and snippets of history being offered are tied to them, it’s easy to get sucked into the world he has created. It is possible for readers who aren’t accustomed to the more intense story structure of fantasy writing to be a bit overwhelmed by the deluge of information provided. I think the reader could comfortably get by with less description about each person, but having the additional information doesn’t bog the story down or make the book less enjoyable.
The plot is unique, unlike anything I’ve read previously. There’s a focus on both action, as well as history and the state of the government so the world feels not only immersive, but complete. The writing style is more elevated than the conversational or biographical style that I’ve reviewed most often on this site and it’s predecessor, but it suits the genre and theme much better than a less formal writing style would have. My favorite part was probably the description of the dragons, both physically and in terms of their mannerisms. The beasts are written just as I would have imagined them, wise beyond their years (which is saying a great deal) and more or less patient with their human riders and companions.
If you’ve been looking for a dystopian fantasy book, or one which heavily features dragons with the sort of reverence we’ve come to demand, then I highly recommend Banshee. At $0.99 for Kindle it is an absolute steal, and it’s worth that for the detailed descriptions of the horrifying demons alone. (And Maggert offers so much more than that.)
Hello Horror Fuel (formerly Zombie Apocalypse Defense Force) readers!
I appreciate your patience during my brief hiatus. As it turns out, running a Kickstarter campaign for and then publishing your own book is fairly time consuming, so I have been slacking on reviews. Thank you for sticking with me, and to everyone at Horror Fuel for being incredibly supportive. If you want to check out Bad Neighborhood, my multi-author extreme horror anthology, please do so.
Even if you don’t care about what I’ve been up to, thanks for popping by this review. I hope you enjoy it.