A Julia Review: Iudicium by​ T.C Orton

Standard

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

After being incarcerated at a prison that leans over the edge of the world, Fayt must do whatever it takes to escape (or simply survive) the horrors that await him. You will take control of Fayt and guide him on his path, but be careful, for not everyone posing as an ally will lead you down the road to freedom.

Note: This is an interactive story, and it is important that you keep a record of your choices close by.

Fayt is in your hands…

Iudicium by T. C. Orton is an interactive Fantasy story. After certain chapters the reader is given a choice of what the main character wants to do next and depending on their choice they turn to a different page to continue following one of several branching narratives. I have been a long-time fan of interactive storytelling and its capabilities, so naturally I was very excited to give this book a try.

First of all, I applaud the author for his decision to write a gritty fantasy story with quite a bit of sexual content in the form of an interactive novel – something you certainly don’t see every day. The writing style also had me hooked right away: atmosphere-building but at the same time concise and straight to the point, just the right qualities for an interactive story like this. The narrative branches off into three different routes with each route having two endings. It takes about a couple of hours to finish one route.

In the classic choose-your-own-adventure-books the main character is usually an anonymous “you” without further background information, which typically makes it easier for the reader to imagine themselves as said character. Here on the other hand we are given an already fleshed-out character with his own unique name and past. The entire story is also told from his point of view in first person. Due to these changes I might not have been able to really picture myself as actually being Fayt but it felt rather like I was guiding him along and trying to help him get out of the terrifying situation he has gotten himself into. It was a very interesting experience and I did feel genuinely sorry for Fayt.

The “goal” of the story, if you can call it that, is to help Fayt escape (or at least survive) the horrendous prison Iudicium. Along the way he comes into contact with a few key figures in this endeavour – who are you going to place your trust in? The lore and world are interesting to learn about too, though they maybe could have been fleshed out in a bit more detail for my taste.

A fair warning: The story contains various scenes of violence, subjugation, sexual abuse and rape. But the possibility of consensual romantic love does exist as well.

To sum it all up, I really enjoyed reading through all of the different endings and my only complaint really is that I wished it would have been longer and offered even more branches of narrative and possible endings. I certainly hope that this won’t be the last interactive tale by this author and that it will inspire more authors to give interactive storytelling a try.

The gruesome cover art by the author himself is quite horrific (in a good way). It definitely fits the content very nicely.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

ebook, 228 pages

Published May 30, 2017

Self-Published

ASIN: B072PZ47DK

Edition Language: English

A BJ Review: Spiretown by Lia Black

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Rating:   5 stars out of 5

Spiretown coverIn this urban fantasy novel, the human population has been split into two factions after the Mage wars, plainbloods born with no magical abilities and mages born ‘tainted’ with magic. Mages are considered dangerous and separated from the rest of humanity into compounds like Spiretown, a ghetto city within a city that serves as a prison. Templar Commander Collin Anderfels has a duty to contain the mages and protect plainbloods. When a group of power-crazy mages target Logan Gray, the powerful self-proclaimed leader of Spiretown, Collin finds himself forced to protect a man that embodies everything Collin loathes.

Spiretown features exceptional world-building, lots of plot twists, and a story that runs the gamut from fun, witty dialogue to delicious angst, from hot and sexy moments to intense action, and from sweet emotion to gory horror.

The characters are well-drawn, complex guys with imperfections and hurtful pasts (oh, how I love the broken boys). Logan and Collin represent the two sides of this separated world. Each have reasons to hate the other, but when fate brings them together, can they come to trust each other in order to survive? Logan, the emotionally damaged, tattooed and pierced mage initially uses his androgyny and flamboyance to taunt and flirt with Collin. Collin is strongly anti-Mage due to both personal events from his past and his sworn duty as a Templar. Both characters must change in order to stay alive. As a side note, I enjoyed how Collin’s repressed dominant tendencies were just waiting to come out when Logan opened that door. Very tasty.

There’s also a strong and relatable female character in Collin’s mother, Penny. I mention this mainly as its not often in M/M that I encounter female characters that aren’t props, stereotypes or bad exs, but rather a real character that participates in moving the story forward in a positive way.

I consider Spiretown a picture perfect M/M urban fantasy of forbidden love between two guys from opposite sides of the track in more ways that one. Put this one on your must read list right now. It’s awesome.

Cover Artist: Author
Love this cover. Eerie city spires darkly silhouetted against the blaze of setting sun. What could be creepier than facing encroaching darkness alone in such a scary, godforsaken place?

Sales Link:    Amazon US       Amazon UK         Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook
Published August 28th 2014 by Lia Black/ VineDark
(first published December 2nd 2012)
ISBN139781310068072
edition languageEnglish