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YA Review: The Priest Slyer by Stephen Murdoch

Title: The Priest Slayer
Author: Stephen Murdoch
Year Published: 2020

Genre: YA fiction (fantasy)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2020 Google Reading map)USA (CA) and a made up Aztec land (let's call it a parallel universe to Mexico)

FTC Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book by the author

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Jack and Diego (Denny) are back home in southern California, but something isn't right with Jack. After the Fire Priest of Tal'alli breathed part of his soul into Jack at the end of the first book in this series, Jack's been getting angrier and his eyes are turning brown. Jack and Diego will have to return to Tal'alli and find the ancient Healer to help Jack.

The Empire of the Innu'Chat has collapsed and the tribes of Tal'alli are on the move, fighting for dominance. Jack and Diego must connect with Queen Tayanna in order to safely traverse Tal'alli, find the healer, and help their friends along the way.

Review: Full disclosure: my brother wrote this book. It's his second YA fantasy novel, a follow-up to the first in the series, The Fire Priest. He has also written a non-fiction book, IQ: How Psychology Hijacked Intelligence.

I am not a huge fantasy reader (except for the Harry Potter books), but like The Fire Priest,  I enjoyed this one. In fact, I liked this one more than The Fire Priest. I feel like the author found his rhythm and therefore this installment is tighter. I was pulled in from page one. 

Jack and Diego are such likable characters; I want them to find the Healer, connect with Queen Tayanna, and survive the many fights and battles they get into. And believe me, there is a lot of fighting going on in this book. Most of it is hand-to-hand and there are many different tribes and factions getting in on the action. I liked that the reader gets to know more about the world of Tal'alli, it's people, it's customs, it's creatures, and its history. The rich descriptions of the people and their environment helped me to really "see" Tal'alli.

This book definitely has a quest theme going on and that worked for me. There is a goal toward which the main characters and their friends are working and obstacles which they must overcome. I was swiping away to find out what happened next (I read this on my iPad). Having characters that I really like and have become attached to die does not make me happy, but having the nasty characters perish is all good.

The book ends in such a way that a third book is needed, I'll have to ask my brother if he's working on it yet. If you are interested in reading this book, my brother says he will send an e-copy out to you. Just let me know!

Challenges for which this counts: 

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