#BookReview - Scorched Shadows by @StevejMchugh #BlogTour

In the final chapter of the Hellequin Chronicles, secrets will be revealed, friendships tested, and destinies fulfilled.

Avalon is under siege. A shadowy cabal, headed by a mysterious figure known only as “My Liege,” has launched a series of deadly attacks across the globe, catching innocent human bystanders in the crossfire.

Emerging from the debris of battle, Nate Garrett, the sixteen-hundred-year-old sorcerer also called Hellequin, and his friends must stop My Liege once and for all. But powerful forces stand in their way. To save Avalon, they will need to enlist the help of Mordred, once Nate’s greatest nemesis, now his most formidable ally. But Mordred is grappling with a dark prophecy that could spell Nate’s doom…

The fate of the world hangs in the balance. Even if Nate can halt the war, will there be anything left worth saving?

It's my absolute pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for Scorched Shadows by Steve McHugh today. Many thanks to the author, publishers and Anne Cater for inviting me and for my e-copy of the novel.
I usually love reading fantasy novels but for some reason I've not read many this year. So could the final instalment of the Hellequin Chronicles - a series I'm unfamiliar with - really be the book to reignite my passion for the genre? The answer to this is a resounding yes! Admittedly knowing a bit more of Nate's back story may have been advantageous but nevertheless I enjoyed every moment of this gripping story.
Steve McHugh's superb world-building is perhaps not the easiest premise to describe in a review but in a nutshell, non-human beings - sorcerers, alchemists, necromancers and the like - live among humans on Earth. They also live in other realms which can usually only be moved between through the use of guarded realm gates. Their history is long and violent, one thing I particularly loved about Scorched Shadows was the clever use of well-known myths and legends -  familiar faces from Camelot and Ancient Greece rub shoulders with werewolves, dragon-kin and dwarves. However, this is very much a case of forgetting what you think you may know because our accepted views of those stories are very wrong and the danger doesn't always come from where you might think...
Up until now the non-humans have mostly managed to keep humans oblivious to their existence, most believing that any stories about them are just works of fiction. However, a shadowy cabal has other ideas and when a series of shocking acts of magical terrorism sees tens of thousands of people killed across the world, they can no longer remain a secret.
Nate Garrett is a phenomenally powerful sorcerer who was born from a blood curse and is still coming to terms with his own frightening abilities and the losses of those close to him. He is joined by various friends, including his former mortal enemy, Mordred, as they race to discover who the mysterious 'My Liege' really is and whether anyone can stop the forces of evil before all the realms have fallen under their control. The book is mostly told from Nate's perspective as he battles his way against his enemies and his own personal demons.Occasionally though the story switches to the third person as we follow Mordred's movements. I suspect that Mordred's change of allegiance must take some getting used to for those who have read the previous Hellequin Chronicles but as somebody fresh to the series I have to admit to loving this unpredictable and often violent man, with his tortured past and sardonic wit he steals every scene he is in. A special mention also for Remy, the fox-human hybrid, the repartee between the pair bringing some much needed levity and humour into what into the often brutally visceral action. There are no punches pulled here (literally) and the deaths are numerous and grisly.
Scorched Shadows has everything I could ask for in a fantasy novel, I love that it combines various mystical elements with dark urban fantasy and that it does so with such superb characterisation, immersive world-building and no little wit - the pop culture references are a lovely touch. It's made me realise just what I've been missing during my fantasy drought. I'll definitely be reading the precious books in the Hellequin Chronicles now and I'm delighted to discover that though this is the end of the series, it isn't the end of the story...

Scorched Shadows is published by 47North, it is available now on the Kindle and will be published as a paperback on 19th December 2017.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

Steve's been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up 'One boy and his frog' was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.

It wasn't for another decade that he would start work on a full length novel, the result of which was the first of the Hellequin Chronicles,  Crimes Against Magic.

He was born in a small village called Mexborough, South Yorkshire, but now lives with his wife and three young daughters in Southampton.

Twitter - @StevejMchugh