September 7, 2011

Black & Orange by Benjamin Kane Ethridge

Black & Orange is a supernatural thriller.

Martin and Theresa are Nomads, protectors of "The Heart" and members of The Church of Morning.  They fight on the side of good against the evil Church of Midnight.

Theresa is a middle-aged woman who has been diagnosed with cancer.  She is tough as nails, loves to smoke clove cigarettes and is sometimes companion of Martin. 

Martin is in his mid-thirties, impatient, frustrated and often messes things up, as in the case of the last Heart they were sworn to protect and failed in the mission.

"The Heart" is never known until it is needed.  Usually it is somebody who doesn't realize they are the key to keeping the gates closed at Hallowe'en and each time the Nomads fail, the gate opens a little bit more, allowing the nasties to break free and wreck havoc upon the world.  With money and time running out, the two are up against their toughest assignment yet for this is the year when something big is about to happen. 

Chaplin Cloth is the priest of the Church of Midnight, he and his Bishops and parishioners are working against the good and will stop at nothing to use "The Heart" to their own advantage.  The Bishops twist and turn their plots to ensure their advantage within the Churches hierarchy.  Everyone has their own agenda but will they succeed in their individual quests or will it be the ultimate fall of their calling?

On October 31st every year an inter-dimensional time continuem space occurs which allows certain skilled folks to travel to the "Old Domain" where battles are waged for the control of good or evil.  The Nomads have a telepathic power which they call the "Mantle" in which they can conjure elaborate invisible structures to help aid them in their mission.   This year they are sworn to protect some children and the odds don't look good for them.

I found this book took a while to get into, it started out talking about Mantles and Old Domains and I felt like mayhaps I missed a book and this was the next in the series, but I was to soon learn that this was a debut novel by author, Benjamin Kane Ethridge.  I am not a fan of assumptions and wish the author had taken a bit more time in his explanations of The Nomads powers, how they are affected and what their purpose is, before we read about them in confusion.

As well, I found the author didn't take the time to explain why "The Heart" was so important, I spent the first half of the book not really caring one way or the other who became champions of the aftermath.  Martin and Theresa took forever to warm up to, they just wasn't much in the way of backstory that would make me care how they reacted to any given situation.  I found Martin to be a bit callous and Theresa to be a complaining old lady.

I thought the machinations of the Bishops to be cliched and stereotypical of villains vying for power and acclamation.  They just didn't hold any kind of fear within me as I read about their juvenile attempts at thwarting their master plan!

I liked the historical aspects of the story but they were infrequent and some of them were hidden in meaning.  I loved that there wasn't too much gore and the comical one liners were a blast to read.  I found myself chuckling a few times from the imagery the author didn't give but explained with a few witty phrases here and there.  I enjoyed the wit that the characters would express and didn't mind the mild to moderate expletives involved with the story.

The ending is strong and wraps up nicely and I am sure that most people will find this a wonderful read, I tend to have a harder scale for reading than most, as I read a book or two a day and base my opinions on the backs and shoulders of those that came before.  For a debut novel though, this definitely has some punch and with time I am quite sure that Benjamin Kane Ethridge will be an author that every horror genre reader will enjoy!

Truthfully, I think this is one of those books that would make a better movie, it had many aspects that were hard to pinpoint in words and I believe actions would say much more for the story!

** Disclosure: I did not accept any compensation from the sponsors other than review copies, my views are my own, reviewed by I see it~!! **

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