Halo—a quaint, rural Missouri town—is an absolutely great place to be … unless, of course, you’re a human.
For the fallen angels, vampires, werebeasts, and a whole slew of other walking horrors, Halo has become a sort of sanctuary, a preserve where the nightmares reign supreme with little interference from the larger American government. Life isn’t so great for humans, though, who fall somewhere between being second-class citizens and straight up chattel: pimped out, bled dry, and forced to slave away for their non-people (NP) protectors or suffer terrible consequences.
And the only people who might be able to save the day? The Whitney family … well, what remains of the Whitney family. Colt and Tough, a couple of alcoholic, redneck brothers with a family history as dark as they come. If these two boys are God’s chosen warriors, then it might just be time for humanity to bow out of the fight.
The MC: Halo Bound is split between three primary POVs, Colt, Tough, and Desty (short for Modesty), and I’ve gotta say I love all three characters.
Tough is a little more than a kid, but one who has had to grow up way to fast, in a world that is both hard and cruel, especially if you’re a Whitney. Man do I like Tough. He’s deeply, deeply broken and scarred right down to his soul, but he’s also a good guy, even if he doesn’t think so and can’t seem to see it. After watching his family die, Tough’s been forced to eke out a living as a male prostitute, turning tricks to survive, while simultaneously being forbidden from leaving Halo and finding a place where he might make a better life for himself. Tough is a whirling tornado of totally-justifiable self-destruction.
Colt—Tough’s older brother—is a fanatic holy warrior, who is absolutely crazy, but he’s also the only one crazy enough to try and put things right and stop the fallen angels, no matter how insurmountable the odds against his holy mission seem.
Desty is a teenager, just coming into adulthood. She’s a tourist, visiting Halo for the first, and she’s on a mission of her own: find her twin sister Tempie (short for Temperance), who just so happens to be the familiar of the biggest, baddest fallen angel in town, Mayor Kathan Dark. Tempie and Desty also might be the final two pieces that Kathan needs to summon the armies of Hell and bring about the final battle against humanity. Desty’s an awkward nerd with an abysmal sense of self-esteem, but when you get beyond that she’s also as fierce as a caged honey badger.
The World: Halo is a really well thought out world, and quite original as worlds go. Fallen angels, werebeasts, vampires, sirens, zombies, and all other manner of freaky-deaky things exist, and they exist right out in the open, thanks to the unceasing efforts of Halo’s Mayor, Kathan Dark. Things didn’t always used to be that way, but after the Whitney family discovered the existence of these dark creatures and started waging a holy war against the fallen angels, the situation drastically shifted. Now, non-people run the show and human beings are relegated to doing what they’re told. Each human is assigned to a NP, who in turn serves as their protector in exchange for certain benefits, like blood, or manual labor, or sex. All and all, it’s a pretty disturbing vision.
The Story and Writing: I really struggled with this book. Its urban fantasy, sure, but it’s not really the type of thing I’d normally read. It certainly does have a plot, but this is a really more of a character driven novel, which is something I usually don’t love. At the same time I did find this book ridiculously engaging—I didn’t want to stop reading, even though the pace was much slower than what I usually go for. This book is also so dark it made my soul cry. I mean its H.E.A.V.Y. stuff. Sex, violence, substance abuse, and even darker themes like rape, grief, and insanity.
This book is like watching a train wreck happen in slow motion, only it’s even worse because you know every passenger on the train and you know some of them aren’t going to make it out okay. With all of that said, I also thought the book was fantastic. The writing was brilliant (made me more than a little self-conscious), the characters were amazingly real, and the story was original and inspired. I would not recommend this book unless you mentally prepare yourself for a bumpy, twisted ride, filled with a huge heaping of soul-sucking darkness, but if you can take it, this book is well worth reading.
The Rating: For me, 4 ½ stars. Buy it here: www.Amazon.com/dp/B00IJJBHDI