Review + Giveaway: King of the Dead

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review + Giveaway: King of the DeadKing of the Dead by Joseph Nassise
Series: Jeremiah Hunt #2
Published by Tor Books on November 27, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Thriller, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars

Joseph Nassise shook up the urban fantasy genre with Eyes to See, a novel New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry called “heartbreaking, deeply insightful, powerful and genuinely thrilling.” In a devil’s deal, Jeremiah Hunt sacrificed his human sight in exchange for the power to see the hidden world of ghosts and all of the darker spirits that prowl the streets. Hunt uncovered a world of murder and magic that took his daughter from him and nearly cost him his life, but that was only the beginning....

Now Hunt is on the run from the FBI, who have pegged him as a mass-murdering dark sorcerer. His flight from the law is diverted to New Orleans when his companion, a potent witch, has a horrific vision of the city under magical siege. When they arrive, they realize that the situation is more dire than they could have imagined: the world of the living faces a terrifying attack by forces from beyond the grave. King of the Dead, the second book in this groundbreaking series, promises more of Nassise’s electrifying writing that will enthrall readers looking for a supercharged, supernatural thrill.

First Sentence: “Life as an interstate fugitive isn’t easy.”

Review:
Sequels generally fail to live up to their predecessors. To be fair, they’re under a lot of pressure. They need to refresh readers who read books out of order (a ghastly affair, I say) and to set up the following book, assuming there is one (which there usually is, duology’s not being especially popular). Unfortunately, I feel like King of the Dead had some real issues, and was not as powerful as Eyes to See, however, the ending was jam packed and left me wanting more.

The first problem with King of the Dead I referenced above. Authors writing the second book of their series have two basic options: rehash the plot so that people who skipped book one won’t be lost or launch straight in and hope that people are smart enough to go back to book one if they’re confused. Nassise chose the former option, which might have been okay with me had I not read Eyes to See less than a week ago. With a strong knowledge of the plot, I could appreciate just how poorly the information dump was handled. One sentence, just a descriptive one about how inanimate objects take in emotions, he even reused verbatim in this book. If you’re going to repeat the infodump, at least do me the favor of writing something new, especially since I wasn’t a huge fan of that sentence in book one, which is why I recognized it.

Much as that annoyed me, though, it’s a fairly common problem, and the repetition is dispensed with in a couple of chapters, so it’s really not that big an issue. The larger problem was how the plot meandered for most of the book. Where Eyes to See started with a bang (Jeremiah performing an exorcism), this one only has a brief vision of Denise’s to get us moving. Apparently, the vision means they need to go to New Orleans for some mission wholely unrelated to Hunt being wanted by the FBI. Alrighty then.

Thankfully, I do feel like the plot did come around to being a bit more overarching towards the end, bringing in a mysterious figure from book one. The last third or so of the book has a lot of action, death, and battle, so I got really into it at that point. There was one questionable moment in the battle’s climax where I question Hunt’s ability to take out the opponent, but hopefully the powers he uses then will be explained later on. Otherwise, not cool.

Hunt continues to be a delightfully odd hero, in that he’s not especially heroic. He doesn’t really want to save people and he’s really not that useful a lot of the time. He gets them caught by doing something stupid, and he has to hide in the corner during battles, because he lacks any sort of fighting prowess. His most useful skills are his ghostsight and the fact that he’s really good at the harmonica (soothes ghosts and three-headed dogs). Personally, I find this refreshing, because most people don’t get to be the badass hero in their own lives.

King of the Dead had some issues, but I certainly recommend it with some reservations. Given the intense ending, I do plan to continue with the series myself and only hope that Nassise will ease the transition into book three and try to space out the action a bit better, like he did in Eyes to See.

Favorite Quote:

“Under the best of circumstances, pissing off a woman was usually not a good idea. Doing so to one who could turn you into a cockroach was even worse.”

Giveaway:
I’m offering up both Jeremiah Hunt books, Eyes to See (mass market paperback) and King of the Dead (hardback) to one reader in the US. Just leave your contact information in THIS FORM and leave a comment on either this review or the one for Eyes to See.  Open until December 26, because I don’t want to fight the frantic Christmas hordes at the post office.

15 responses to “Review + Giveaway: King of the Dead”

  1. Nori says:

    My least favorite thing that can happen in sequels: repetition! Yes, sometimes there is a lot of time between books in a series (cough cough, Neal Shusterman), but there is a way to solve this problem normally: go look up reviews of the earlier book. Regardless though this sounds like an interesting story and I never heard of these books, so thanks for the heads up!

  2. Lisa Cox says:

    Thanks for the introduction to Joseph Nassise and his book(s).
    I like paranormal books whether it’s just seeing ghosts all the way to vampires and shifters. This sounds interesting so I’m going to check out the first one.
    And I don’t blame you one bit about staying away from the PO until after Christmas. I don’t go near a PO or a mall after Thanksgiving.

  3. Renae says:

    Ah, how disappointing this one wasn’t as good as the first. But, as you said, it’s a hard thing to do. Second books are difficult, slippery beings.

  4. Tricia C. says:

    This is a new series for me. The premise sounds very interesting. The refresher part of a sequel can definitely make or break a series. It sounds like this one is worth wading through though. Thanks for the reviews!

  5. Liene says:

    Not sure what my opinion on second books is. After your review I would probably hold off on reading the second book for a while and let a little bit of time pass after reading the first.

  6. Readsalot81 says:

    The dreaded sophomore book. Especially in a series is rather daunting. I just reviewed a book that was the 2nd one in the series, and even having read the first book, there was an awful lot that I didn’t remember. So that, perhaps, is on me, but if you were just starting out, it was a bit confusing. Not a lot of detail was given and that was a bummer. It’s a hard line to tread though. You don’t want to irritate the readers who’ve read the first book, but you don’t want to leave the newcomers in the dust either.

    • Christina says:

      Precisely! This is just such a hard balance to strike. You want to give enough detail that people who read your previous book a year+ ago will be reminded, but you don’t want to whack readers who are going through all of them back to back over the head. Very, very tricky. Using the same sentence was a terrible error though.

  7. Tia Dalley says:

    Wow! I have never heard of this series or author. Thanks for introducing me to something new.

  8. kitkat424 says:

    Wow this really looks interesting! I would love to read these two books. Normally not the type of book that I look for, but you’ve got me intrigued!

  9. Thank you for this honest review. I think it will be enough for now to read just book 1. 🙂

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