Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
The world of vampires and werewolves is in upheaval. The magical community is under attack by a great evil power trying to destroy them all and their strongest fighter is oblivious with his nose glued in a spell book. Yani has given up hope in getting Aaron back on track. He knows he instead has to focus on his own future and the lives of those he loves, even if it means losing Aaron, the love of his life, forever.
Yani’s life isn’t the only one in flux. As the battle heats up and lines are drawn, the rest of his friends must fight for their own survival in a world with no answers to the terrible magic attacking them.
The Magnified novels, starting from the first story, is an amazingly complex and immensely mysterious series that’s getting increasingly horrifying by the book. It’s also quite wonderful, full of unexpected elements I’ve not seen in other tales. Mell Eight is combining mysticism with vampires, Nazis, Kabbalism, dragons, faeries, werewolves, horror, M/M romance and it all works.
The first story, Magnified, sets up the introduction and the couples and should not be missed. It’s a gripping story. Without it, Justified floats without its foundation material. This is not a standalone novel. With Magnified as the backhistory for the couples and the situation they find themselves in, the reader can settle into the drama that is unfolding here in Justified.
That group of friends (and couples within) has just fought a major battle and barely escaped. We now see the effects that it’s had on certain members, and there aren’t healthy ones. Aaron has withdrawn into his books looking for knowledge and Yani is despairing over the loss of their closeness and perhaps their relationship. The cost of that most recent battle is high indeed.
Mell Eight weaves her many plotlines (the overall series thread and the sub storylines) with great care, popping and pulling various elements in and out of the current scenes. Could be Yani’s Jewish family and his ties to the vampire world and the Kabbalah or maybe we are heading into werewolf territory or even pandas, you never know. It will be in pursuit of an evil so horrific that you are happy that Mell Eight has left some of the descriptions of that villain’s deeds less than vivid. And terrifying to know that this series is continuing because it means only one thing has happened.
Justified (and the Magnified series) is full of fascinating, multi-layered characters, which include several here outside of the main group that I grew to love and hope to see again. This small group of fighters seem like underdogs battling overwhelming odds with only one that stands a chance against true evil. It started out as a gripping story and is growing into a powerful one of determination and bravery. I can’t wait for the next book in the series. The only reason it doesn’t have a higher rating is that you absolutely need the first book as a foundation for this one. Together? They have the makings of a 5 star series!
Cover art by Aisha Akeju. I like this cover with the simple object that has its part to play within the story.
Sales Links: Less Than Three Press | Amazon
ebook, 147 pages
Published August 9th 2017 by Less Than Three Press