Excerpt from Arcanum Mutatio
“Clear your mind and focus,” Mathias instructed. “Let all thoughts melt away. Listen only to the sound of your breathing.”
The apprentices sat across from their master, mimicking his position, legs folded underneath them, arms resting on their knees. They sat in silence, eyes closed, breathing in a slow and steady rhythm as they focused on Mathias’s voice.
The world melted away for William. He sensed Astral near him and his father across from him, but before long, his companions vanished from his imagination, leaving him in a place of complete stillness. He could no longer hear his father’s voice, the voice that he so often sought to block out. Retreating inside of himself was the only way that he could manage it so completely.
He felt that these meditation sessions were a complete waste of time. What did clarity have to do with fighting a demon head-on? What mattered was being able to keep your head when you saw one.
He figured he’d entertain himself for a while and take the time to think back to his dream. He conjured an image of the clues he’d dreamed up, imagining a ring of fire around him. Fire made him feel strong, dominant. Only the strong could tame fire and bend it to their will.
He visualized himself tracing what he remembered of the glyphs into the air. The first glyph flashed and seared the surrounding air, reappearing outside of the ring of fire, the conjurer’s circle. He traced the remaining two, each reappearing in the corners of the invisible triangle.
As though obeying a command, the fire rose around him and swallowed him whole. In a moment of panic, everything went black.
Excerpt from Guiding Light
One step too far and her world went from pure darkness to brilliant white, momentarily blinding her. She had entered a wide open space, in a reality that didn’t fit the world that she had come from. The room was white – not a sterile white as seen in hospitals, but the pure and brilliant white that one associated with heavenly bodies – and the ceiling so high that mist had formed halfway up. As the fog rippled, she glimpsed stars and the void beyond.
The barriers shaping the walls were easily one hundred feet apart; though she had just entered the room, she stood in the middle of it. This wasn’t a room, she realized. She had stepped into a rift, into a place between realms.
There were people in the room with her, all broken. Some of them still had solid forms, bearing cracks in their skin from which light escaped. Others were shapeless, featureless entities, barely conscious of their new companion. There were a few hundred, all in varying stages of transformation, moving about the space without purpose or direction.
Astral’s own physical form was altered. In this world, she was a being of darkness that shone with the same ferocity as the light in the room. It welcomed her, as though acknowledging the return of a long-time friend.
She inspected herself, arms and legs still attached; all ten digits, check. She didn’t feel any different. Her motives were still the same. She had a mission to complete, people to save, and a spell to disrupt.
She heard chanting. It wasn’t coming from this room, which existed in its own reality. It was coming from somewhere beyond the walls. When she looked around to find its source, she instead saw that a pedestal had appeared before her with a thick, ratty old book sitting atop, almost like a pet greeting its master.
She reached for the book, stroking its surface. A glyph burned into the cover underneath her fingers and the book snapped open, the pages turning with savage ferocity as it searched for the right one. She could not read its text.
The people in the room had stopped their aimless wandering. For the first time in a very long time, they were coherent. With their lucidity came fear and confusion.
From beyond the walls, there was shouting in a language that seemed familiar, yet still so foreign. Astral realized that the window of opportunity was narrow. The Order’s sorcerers would regroup and try again, whatever they were doing.
She shouted at the damaged souls. “Get out! Run! You’re free!” Run they did, vanishing into the light as they conjured their own exits, formed no doubt by their own personal realities. It didn’t matter if they made it to the real world, as long as they were no longer trapped in this fading existence.
The pure energy of the rift changed. Pieces of the pristine white barriers broke apart, revealing the pulsating flesh beneath, and blood oozed out, covering the floors in vile sludge as it picked its way toward the Demon Hunter.
The room groaned, allowing thirteen shadow figures into this new reality. They moved toward her like beasts pretending to be men but halted after a few steps, unable to breach the wide untainted area that Astral was in.
Excerpt from Shadow Prey Part II
“Someone turn off that goddamn alarm!” Mallik slammed the empty specimen container onto his desk and collapsed into his chair. He doubted that his voice had carried over the scream of the Council’s security alarm.
It wasn’t like his staff could do anything about the alarms. At least, not without triggering a secondary system that would reveal his lab existence beneath the capital city’s walls – the same walls that kept the demons out.
He glared at the empty specimen container and swiped his desk clean. Another failure. That sample had cost him more than just a few credits.
He watched the rhythm of his lab from the elevated observation deck. The space was wide, housing rows of enclosed workstations. Assistants were carefully pushing research crates between them while other workers swarmed to dismantle the metal and glass frames that created the rounded bubble-like quarantine areas for the experiments.
“All personnel, prepare for evacuation. Sign in projects to your assigned stations before proceeding to the evacuation center,” the automated female voice repeated. Her condescending maternal tone grated on Mallik’s nerves.
Getting staff to obey the evacuation procedures had taken generations of refinement and the occasional casualty. His great-grandfather modelled the daily doses of information on government propaganda, indoctrinating the workers into a state of fear-based obedience. The lies were simple: the lab is in an isolated location. The world outside is dangerous. See your contract through and everything will be fine. As long as the staff thought they were aiding a return to civilization, they would fall into the routine set out for them.
Mallik tapped his fingers against the surface of his desk. The capital’s defence maintenance tests were becoming less predictable, springing into action every few months, sometimes as often as every two weeks. The extra disruptions had a negative impact on his project timeline. His benefactors expected results. Soon.
Another day lost…
His employers weren’t after solutions to the demon issue. What they wanted was control over their competition, control over the human threats to their dominion. They wanted weapons to use against each other. Caught up in the stress of exposure, Mallik had forgotten the reasons his ancestors had set up the rigid evacuation protocol to begin with.
The day didn’t have to be a complete loss…
He exited through the back of the room.
Described as the recording of dreams, this is a collection of the impression of stories in a apocalyptic world that often veers deep into nightmare. Though they all take place in a shared universe, each story is unique and the characters take on a different feel in each one. Much as in dreams, the stories are full of vivid imagery and sudden shifts along side repeated motifs and actions. There is little dialogue or much resembling a standard plot arc. Instead the reader is thrust unaware into this bizarre world after an event no one can forget and everyone remembers differently. The stories end as abruptly as they start, often just as the story is coming into focus.
This is the type of book that lingers with you. Though strange at first, it slowly builds a haunting picture that piques the imagination and draws the reader in.
Demon hunters and dark fantasy - highly recommended
Loved this collection of short stories! The six stories are linked, each a fractured memory. They describe important pivotal events in the early life of Astral, an apprentice demon hunter.
This is post apocalyptic world where humans live in safe compounds, the wealthy underground in the capital. On the surface dwell farmers and others who toil to provide food and safety for others. The surface dwellers' diet is supplemented by nourishing food cubes; most fresh food is reserved for those underground. Outside the protected areas roam demons. There is magic too. A complex well structured world, with great characters. A must read. Great to have stories without the romance and insta love.
Having read this again it still takes me into the world never wanting to get out. I cannot wait until I can read this author's up coming novel that will allow me to really delve deep into everything that makes the stories so interesting. Beta game testing is one of my favourite stories the dialogue between the characters makes me laugh out loud in a crowded room regardless of who is watching as the adventure and twists take me for a ride.
Worth the Read, Worth the Time
Oh man, there's lots about the book that I loved, from the slow growing anticipation that crawls through your mind to the quick pick tense moments. Highly recommend giving this book a read.
Loved the insight into the world and characters of Awakening
The world is highly complex with its rich culture and history of having both science and magic. There is war, emotion, mysteries, action, death but also humor. You see the world from the eyes of different people's perspectives.
How I liked the stories(without story spoilers):
I liked the second story the most. It had humor, adventure, science fiction, action, criticism of society and characters with depth.
The first story I found both confusing and fascinating.
The third story I liked because the experience of the protagonist was described so well.
The forth story again was a bit confusing with the magic system not really clear to me by now but apart from that I still enjoyed reading it.
The fifth story I also really liked but it stopped too soon, I want to read more of it!
As a whole I really loved the deeper insight I got into the world and characters of Awakening. I enjoyed reading it and am missing it now.
Anybody who like a multilayered fantasy worlds, dark fantasy, a plot which is not straight forward or philosophical questions about the nature of evil and society will love this collection.
Who should not read Fractured Memories:
Anybody who needs romance in a book to enjoy it. Also if you don’t like changing main characters this book is not the best for you. And for those with more sensitive stomachs the blood and death in some of the stories might not be good.
It is a group of short stories that happen in the Awakening universe and give you some foresight into the chaos of earth’s future. Years ago rifts formed in the atmosphere letting in demons from another dimension. It is the job of Red Order of demon warriors to destroy as many demons as possible, but time has blurred loyalties and the craving of magic and demon control can be very intoxicating. Anyone with enhanced abilities is shunned and treated as a freak, but those abilities could be the hope of mankind’s future. The tales revolve mostly around three people. Astral a teenager who is enhanced and has been a formidable demon hunter sense an early age. Seth a young adult who is also a remarkable demon hunter, but is intent on proving himself on the front lines of the demon war. William is a few years older than Astral but is tired of living in Seth’s and his father’s shadow; he is intent on becoming a famous demon hunter even if he has to cut corners to do so. This was my first glimpse into this world and I was sucked into its crazy chaos. The description of what is left of the world and the people living in it is palpable. I loved these main characters as well as the adults in their lives that creates the assassins they have become. Each was forced into their situation by these adults for very different reasons but non the less they are needed for the world’s survival. It takes the dystopian trope and turns it on it’s head and gives it a Lovecraftian twist.
I liked the scary but griping story telling.
The author is an amazing writer. This book of short stories was just the right length, the right amount of detail, and made you able to picture the places and the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would probably reread it if I ever need something to get me out of a reading slump. I voluntarily reviewed this book after receiving a free copy.