Rating: 4 stars out of 5
On her deathbed, Yani’s Great Grandmother reveals she has one last story from her past to tell: that of his Great Uncle Yakov, who helped her survive the Nazis. It’s a story of vampires and werewolves he can scarcely believe—and in the wake of his Great Grandmother’s death, Yani realizes the story is far from over.
The world of vampires and werewolves isn’t a safe place for a human, even one with Yani’s unusual family history. With danger at his door, the smart thing would be to run, but much like his Great Grandmother Yani has never been very good at running away—especially with his loved ones and the whole world at stake.
Magnified is the first in a new series by Mell Eight and a most unusual series its starting out to be. A supernatural tale, it has all the typical elements one expects to find such as vampires, werewolves, succubi and more but one of its main characters and an important secondary character are Eastern European Jews, one of whom barely escaped the trains and gas chambers of WWII. How they did it and their Jewish traditions they carry with them always as part of who they are is a central element to this story and I expect of this series.
I found this whole aspect of the story a wonderful layer not often found in my stories (see Astrid Amara’s Carol of the Bellskis (Bellskis, #1) among others). Not only does Mell Eight use Yani’s contemporary family’s religious celebrations as part of her important need for us to understand how strong this family is and their ties to each other and their faith but later on starts to pull in other threads that deepens the religious element when a mage with links to Kabbalah appears.
We start off the story as Yani’s great grandmother is telling the story of her childhood. Its the 1940’s and the swift move by the Nazis is occurring as they round up Jews and move them to the internments camps and the ovens. We are propelled into these awful times and a heartrending if sometimes confusing narrative, one that quickly becomes clearer by the page.
The timeline moves along quickly as Yani ages from a young boy to a young man of college age. The jumps in time are handled easily and are necessary to get to the action required by the meat of the story.
That’s the introduction of the world of vampires, werewolves etc to our young student. Its an explosive one and one that was my only main issue here. I would have expected a much larger reaction from Yani. His reaction felt almost anti-climatic after all he went through. And it continued to bother me throughout the rest of the story.
There is a lot that the author is packing in here. There are two main couples that are intended to flow into the next story and carry on the series. It was almost too much for this book to handle. We really didn’t get a background on the secondary couple, perhaps that’s coming in the next book. But they had such an important part to play here that they came off less substantial without that background.
There is a very scary villain here, a true monster. One I can’t wait to see taken down. I wonder how many books its going to take? I will be there for every one.
Mell Eight packed a lot into this first story. Religion, family, romance, mystery, horror…its a writer’s cornucopia and it almost exploded the seams of the story on element overload. So much here to absorb that it got confusing at times. But in the end, Mell Eight pulled it off…sort of as there is a HFN ending. I recommend this unusual story, its quite a ride even though I’m not quite sure where we’re going yet.
Cover by Aisha Akeju‘s cover contains relevant objects to the story. I’m just not a fan of these simplified covers, just they don’t draw me in.
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