Sorcery Reborn by Steve McHugh #BookReview #BlogTour

  He doesn’t need a weapon. He is the weapon.

After losing his powers in an epic battle between good and evil, former sorcerer Nate Garrett finds himself living as a humble human in Clockwork, Oregon. While the world thinks Nate is dead, his friends continue to fight against Avalon and the evil it’s intent on spreading.

Avalon’s forces turn up in Clockwork, and Nate’s frustration grows with every passing day his magic doesn’t return. He finds himself trying to stop Avalon’s plans while hiding from enemies who would destroy everything in their path to see him dead.

Avalon’s darkness begins to threaten the people Nate cares about, and an old nemesis returns; magic or no magic, he has no choice but to fight. But will Nate see his magical powers reborn before the entire town—and everyone he loves—is destroyed?

I’m so thrilled to be hosting the blog tour for Sorcery Reborn today. Huge thanks to Steve McHugh, 47North and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.

Sorcery Reborn is the first book in the Rebellion Chronicles but is set in the same world and follows the Hellequin Chronicles, the Avalon Chronicles and the recent novella, Hunted. I’ve been a huge fan of Steve McHugh’s books since reading the last Hellequin novel, Scorched Shadows and eagerly await each new instalment but newcomers to the series shouldn’t be concerned. The major points to be aware of are explained during the course of the story and there is a handy guide to the large cast of characters at the front of the book.
Drawing together the main protagonists from both the previous series was a mouthwatering prospect but Nate Garrett and Layla Cassidy spend most of this book apart. However, this shouldn't mean I was disappointed with Sorcery Reborn as having two separate storylines actually meant there are two equally engaging plots. The action switches between the two and it's a real testament to the writing that no matter how engrossed I became in the unfolding events, it was never frustrating to leave one storyline as the other was always just as gripping.
Nate Garrett might be back but for much of the novel he isn't able to draw on his considerable powers. While he awaits their return, he has been living as a human in Clockwork, Oregon but even as a human, Nate can't avoid trouble for long. When Nazis arrive in town, causing trouble for the friends he has made, it's inevitable that he should become involved. That's risky enough, given that he is supposed to be keeping a low profile but then it turns out that this isn't just about a bitter man seeking revenge as the Nazis have links to Avalon, the powerful and sinister group intent on controlling not just the Earth realm  but the many other realms which also exist. The Nazis are obviously evil and Nate certainly makes the most of the advice to always punch them but here they are clearly not the main threat. As always, various well-known faces from myths and legends, including deities from across the pantheons are involved - even if the stories that humans have been taught rarely reflect the truth. Human Nate is hardly slacking when it comes to fighting prowess and it's exciting to see how he copes without his powers but he is clearly more vulnerable than usual which adds a thrilling frisson of uncertainty to proceedings. As his parts of the novel are written in the first person, readers share in his frustration as he desperately waits for his abilities to come back - particularly as when they do, he will be more powerful then ever. However, before this happens he must still confront dangerous and twisted villains and shocking revelations.
Meanwhile, Layla is a very different young woman who first became an umbra in A Glimmer of Hope. She has embraced her abilities and accepted her role as a leader to an eclectic team - a werewolf, a human, a shadow elf, a dwarf, a Titan and a sabre-toothed panther. They are trying to discover the whereabouts of the rest of the shadow elves and dwarves, and after a tip-off from Seshat - a very body confident och, they head to Jotunheim, a realm inhabited by giants. Their mission leads them to another och, Mimir. He proves to be quite a challenging individual; as Harry later remarks,
"I think it's probably a good thing Remy wasn't here, or he'd have either killed him or moved in with him."
Mimir is undoubtedly irritating but as with the singular fox-man hybrid, he is an unforgettable character and I hope he becomes a recurring one. As always, things don’t go as smoothly as planned and the group soon find themselves in the thick of brutal fighting again. The violence in Steve McHugh’s books is never whitewashed, it’s harsh and bloodthirsty but to be anything else would undermine the severity of the danger presented by Avalon and their supporters. Living such a life has clearly affected Layla and though she is a highly skilled warrior, in a telling exchange where she considers her future after Arthur and Avalon are defeated, she muses on how old she feels despite only being in her twenties. Unlike many of her comrades and opponents who are thousands of years old and born into the non-human world, Layla was thrust into this life and it will be interesting to see what the long-term effects of her extraordinary experiences will be. 
Although the two plots take place independently of one another, there is a certain word related to a prophecy which crops up several times in both and it's very clear that what ever happens here is just the start of something much bigger. I've come to expect a real rollercoaster of a read from Steve McHugh's books and Sorcery Reborn exceeded my expectations. The exciting action and ferocious violence keeps the thrills coming but as always, the wise-cracking exchanges and pop culture references (I especially enjoyed the long overdue mention of a certain classic Disney film...) meant I read the whole novel with a broad smile on my face. This is a brilliant start to the new series and really reinforces just how well-crafted this world that Steve McHugh has created is; the relationships between characters, the intriguing twists and the introduction of new storylines which complement the existing series arc so well underlines why I'm completely hooked on these books and why this is one of my favourite reads of the year. It looks as if whatever happens next is going to be very dramatic and extremely bloody. I can't wait to read it!

Sorcery Reborn is published by 47North and can be purchased here.

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 is 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.

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