By Graham Austin-King
John Carver has three rules: Don’t drink in the daytime, don’t gamble when the luck has gone, and don’t talk to the dead people who come to visit.
It has been almost five years since the incident in Kabul. Since the magic stirred within him and the stories began. Fleeing the army, running from the whispers, the guilt, and the fear he was losing his mind, Carver fell into addiction, dragging himself through life one day at a time.
Desperation has pulled him back to Afghanistan, back to the heat, the dust, and the truth he worked so hard to avoid. But there are others, obsessed with power and forbidden magics, who will stop at nothing to learn the truth of his gifts. Abducted and chained, Carver must break more than his own rules if he is to harness this power and survive.
I’m excited to take part in the Uncharted Library’s very first blog tour on behalf of the BBNYA 2020 competition and the BBNYA tours organised by the @The_WriteReads tours team. It was also exciting for me to get my hands on 2020’s winner, The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King. This review is entirely my own unbiased and honest thoughts, so without further ado, let’s dive into the meat of this military fantasy thriller.
Carver is a man haunted by his past. An ex-soldier suffering from PTSD and struggling to adjust to civilian life in central London, Carver makes quite a few bad decisions which leads to serious debt that’ll get his kneecaps busted, if not worse, unless he can cough up some hard cash. Turning to his old squad buddy for help, Carver is forced to return to the source of his nightmares – to Kabul – and seek work there. It all begins with a cushy operation to play bodyguard for a local businessman, but Carver soon founds himself caught up in an even greater, more disturbing operation as he’s taken and forced to play lab rat for the magical power hidden inside of him. A power which he’d unleashed on the worst day of his life.
The story begins with Carver’s perspective in first person, and he’s your sarcastic Brit who tries to see the humour in even the direst situation. And with his military background, he’s lived through a lot of dire situations. But as Carver’s story and background unfold, we also meet a secondary perspective in Australian nurse Mackenzie, who has also been kidnapped and subjected to the same fate as Carver for the mysterious powers in her past. Mackenzie’s story is told in third person, which makes both characters easy to differentiate and follow, and she’s certainly no damsel in distress.
What I’ll whine about:
When I first picked up Lore of Prometheus, I read this was an urban fantasy, but honestly, I’m not sure that’s accurate. Urban fantasy typically includes more magical and paranormal elements than what is seen here, and I was a little disappointed that it didn’t match my genre expectations. I’d describe this as more of a military fantasy or thriller. The fantasy elements are quite thin and don’t really come to the forefront of the plot until halfway through the book. As such, the first half of the book almost feels like a completely different story. It focusses on Carver’s security detail mission and arrangements which, honestly, dragged the pace down and probably could have been reduced in the grand scheme of the story. Though as a military story, the first halve of the book goes into detail on Carver’s background and expertise as a soldier, which works if you’re a big fan of military-type stories.
What I’ll gush about:
The second half of the book onwards is where the story truly shined for me as Carver and Mackenzie are trapped as science experiments to unlock their magical abilities. These scenes include themes of torture, which some readers may find uncomfortable. Both characters need to face their inner demons and past in order to survive their ordeal and ultimately break out. This then leads to nail-biting tension and page-turning suspense, which had me scrambling through the pages to find out what would happen next. I could definitely see this story as an action film!
The Lore of Prometheus is a high-stakes story of facing the past in order to survive reality and reach your full potential. If you’re a fan of military fantasy or fantasy thrillers, you won’t be disappointed, however urban fantasy readers may mourn the lack of fantasy elements and magic.
Find The Lore of Prometheus on Goodreads.
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