Disclaimer: I consider myself friends with the author, via the graduate writing program we both attended. However, I purchased the hardcopy version of this novel for full price.
Though this book is the second in a shared world of stories, you do not have to read the first in order to get full enjoyment from this novel (which I think is actually a prequel, anyway). Set in our contemporary world, this story features a fascinating mix of mythologies, Christian and indigenous North American, which complement each other to good effect over the course of the plot. The combination starts with a fascinating archaeological mystery and ends with an epic showdown.
Langille’s ability to write vivid imagery means that this dark fantasy doesn’t shy away from wading into some pretty horrific waters. I realize that it’s cliche to say that I could see the scenes like a movie in my head, but in this case, I embrace the stereotype. There were moments when I would jerk in surprise at a well-placed, and well-crafted, moment. Though some were appropriately gruesome, this horror wuss never hesitated to keep reading. I don’t have much experience with dark fantasy, but I get the sense that Langille knows his genre and tread the line very well.
My only significant issue with this novel is the female representation. I enjoyed Allison, the only female point of view, as a character, but it was hard to miss that her role in the novel went from lovely assistant, to love interest, to object to be rescued. Even the final role the reader thinks she is destined for ends up snatched away by a man. This was a bit disappointing, especially since the male characters in this book were more three-dimensional and intriguing.