Mask of the Gods
Soul Demons live off the souls of the living.
When Haydan’s home world is invaded by a soul demon seeking an item shrouded in myth and legend, his father evicts him and sends him to safety. His chosen one and warrior should provide reassurance and sanctuary, but neither appears to be working very well. Just when he thinks matters cannot get any worse his scheming grandmother arrives. She has her own plans that appear to involve him, none of which bodes well.
Diego feels confident he has the soul demon under control. Overlooking his devious mother’s involvement, he fails to appreciate that he is not only storm rider elder, but also an elven prince and certain debts are about to become due.
Lavinia worries about her grandson, but also who she left behind in the elven realm a long time ago. Tallin thinks she abandoned him and he is livid. She has everything under control, including Tallin…at least that is what she thinks.
They all need to learn afresh who to trust. With a soul demon on the rampage, an unleashed, angry and betrayed elven king and a long-forgotten mask surfacing, what could possibly go wrong?
The past is about to catch up with all of them. Nothing is going to go as planned because the mask and the gods have other ideas.
Karen Furk creates an intricate new world in her book, Mask of the Gods. In a style of writing I like to call “sink or swim”, Furk has created a brilliant new world of fantasy. She drops you straight into the action with no attempt at backstory before getting to it. I love this style of writing, as the info dumps are seriously limited. My brain was engaged from the beginning, trying to picture the Storm Lands and determine the meaning of brand new words. While this does make it a bit difficult to get fully immersed right away, Furk manages to drag you under by quickly switching to the modern Earth…and later to the semi-recognizable Faerie.
Furk also has a unique blend of characters, specifically their ages. Haydan is much older than he appears to begin with (or is he? It’s one of those things I never really figured out). The girls he is to be bonded with are much younger…but their relationship is not one that feels weird or wrong. The fact that the chosen one isn’t just somebody to stand by and be protected makes me happy, because it seems like her role is just that in the beginning. The complication of the mask just highlights how strong their relationship is without the bonding. Lavinia and Diego are both…I don’t know. My emotions are split on those two, which is a good thing for a series because it means that there’s a chance that there’s a twist coming.
The overall story is good, and well-written, but it feels a little jerky. Longer chapters or longer groupings of POV could help with this. I felt like I kept getting jerked around, like I was flipping channels every commercial break, and that made it harder to follow a very complex storyline. I did enjoy getting to see various points of view, but switching every 2 pages definitely had an impact on my ability to become immersed in the world. The story is intriguing and the ending definitely makes you wonder what is going to happen next.
Karen Furk loves fantasy stories. She has done ever since she was a small, lonely child with an over active imagination. She’s particularly fond of stories that are crammed full of magic, mayhem and magical creatures. Karen’s background in marketing laid the foundations for her writing career which began after a serious bout of depression. No longer able to contain her over active imagination, the stories finally flowed onto a page. She aims to surprise and delight with the characters and worlds she creates. She lives in the North West of the UK with her husband, two boys and a hamster called Rufus (Yes, a girl hamster with a boy’s name. Don’t ask, she just embraces the crazy!).