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YA Review: The Fire Priest by Stephen Murdoch

Title: The Fire Priest: Pawns of the Gods Book 1
Author: Stephen Murdoch
Year Published: 2018

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 257
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2019 Google Reading map)USA (CA)

FTC Disclosure: I received this book as a present from the author

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Seventeen-year-old Jack Kulinski is the best mixed martial arts fighter of his generation. So why does fighting scare him so much? In the ring, the sound of swarming bees mysteriously fills his head, and it takes all of his effort not to flee in panic. But when his best friend disappears, and Jack, alone, discovers that he's been magicked to a terrible land ruled by a murderous god and his violent people, he needs to learn how to face his fears and to fight better than he ever has before.

Review: Ok. Let's be honest. I am not a fantasy book reader (except for the Harry Potter series) and normally, I wouldn't read this book. I'd see the cover, read the summary and think... yeah, teenage boys would love this book, but it is not for me. But since my brother is the author (pretty cool, right?!), I read the book. I figured that if I didn't really like it, I just wouldn't post a review.

But I'm posting a review so we know what that means: I found myself really into the book and finished it in two days. Really. I'm not just saying that because he is my brother. I was routing for Jack and Denny throughout the book, I liked the talking rabbit and I really liked Zolin, the soldier, and his buddies. I hated the Fire Priest and Priestess and found myself reading at the dinner table, hoping Jack would destroy them.

I think the world that Stephen created is complex and interesting; I like the references to Mesoamerican culture, history, and names. At first I felt like there were a lot of characters to keep track of, but part way in realized I had them all set in my head and it was all coming together. I'm interested to see what happens in Book 2 of the series.

If you enjoy fantasy books, I recommend this one, which is available on Amazon.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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