MY ⭐️ RATING: 4.25/5
Format: Kindle eBook/Physical
Bob, a chain-smoking, foul-mouthed, shotgun-wielding ex-garbage man, chases his family’s killer—the gray-skinned Galvidon—through the realms of the mysterious Astraverse. The trail leads him to Hub, a world in turmoil populated by wizards, blue elves, faeries, giants, dragons, and unfortunately, plain old humans. Chained by his addictions and haunted by his past, Bob must find a way through this dark, magical realm and uncover its secrets, or lose all hope of ending Galvidon once and for all.
I happened to see this book while I was scrolling through Amazon, and instantly fell in love with the cover. I mean, how can you not? This is literally one of the coolest covers I’ve seen on a fantasy book or really any book. On top of that, I was lucky enough to get a signed copy from the author, who happens to be a fellow Texan and now an entrant in the SPFBO-9 and of course a cover finalist. What I thought was going to be a story similar to The Punisher, Max Payne, The Crow, John Wick, and many many other revenge type of stories, Prindle actually throws a wrench into the wheel and delivers something much much more in this impressive debut. What I would say about this, is that this is more of a story of Bob’s self-discovery as the main course and a bit of vengeance as the icing.
There was a lot of depth to this story and the world building as a whole, and I thought it was beautifully done. Hub is a very colorful world filled with all the fantasy creatures we all know and love, but what I really found unique about this is that it had a tinge of Sci-Fi to it that reminded me so much of the James Spader & Kurt Russell led film and many spin-off tv shows, Stargate with its use of Astralgates for certain characters to be able to go to different worlds. One character even had an ability that was very similar to the film Jumper, which I thought was pretty cool tool to use. There was also some Lord of the Rings to Hub and the story and characters as well.
Speaking of characters, we need to talk about Bob! I really like Bob, and I think Prindle did a masterful job with the care and the development he took to make sure this character didn’t come off as an overpowered sociopath bent on revenge. Now I will say this, I do feel like there was a missed opportunity during the prologue to show the death of Bob’s family and then start chapter 1, just so we could get the full effect of feeling for him immediately because it did take a while to hear the story and truly feel for him and truly understand his revenge. But as I said, his development throughout the book was masterfully done, and the first her we got in, the more I was ready for him to finally get his vengeance. One of the races we meet in Hub, are the blue elves known as En’harae, what really stuck out to me was that it seems Prindle mirrored them off of indigenous tribes that dealt with losing their land, slavery and other atrocities in our own world. I can’t say that for certain, but it did seem like they were the inspiration for the elves of Hub, and it was definitely a nice touch.
In other words this is a Stargate meets Lord of the Rings with an MC who has some Punisher-like qualities. As I stated above, coming into this, I was expecting something that was going to be along the lines of The Punisher’s vengeance story arc of just absolutely wreaking havoc, and don’t get me wrong, there are scenes where Prindle delivers some of that brutal ferociousness and I absolutely loved it, especially the unforgettable final 100 pages. Even though I really liked this, the expectation I built based off the cover and book description, affected my rating just a tad, but I can’t wait to see what is in store for Bob next. So what I say to the person reading this, go in with a different expectation, because what you will find is something deeper more profound than a sociopathic vengeance story.