cover image Divine Prey

Divine Prey

Chris Andrews. Creative Manuscript Services, $15.95 trade paper (404p) ISBN 978-1-925803-03-7

Andrews’s derivative fantasy debut demonstrates good prose but otherwise falls short. Princess Caroline of Fandelyon, recently confined to an abbey to give birth out of wedlock, heads home with divine stigmata and serious questions about her future. Meanwhile, Allyn and Elias—pointy-eared humanoid immortals called izzen—feel a sudden conviction that the goddess Marnier du Shae has called them to intervene in Caroline’s journey. Reluctantly, they respond and find her entourage under attack. By the time Caroline convalesces from her misadventure and receives Allyn’s info dump that she is the goddess’s chosen champion, the book is a quarter over—and still no character has exhibited a personal goal or even agency. All intention and conflict exists among the gods as they jockey for an apocalypse called Noramgaell. The gods are Greco-Roman in their power-hungry humanness, and there are some nicely realized horror sequences, but the human and izzen characters are mere minions, bashing one another gruesomely in encounters randomly staged by their divine dungeon masters. With no cause to root for, this isn’t an alluring setup for a projected four-volume series. (BookLife)