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A Thunder of War

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There’s thunder on the horizon, and the lightning of war is about to strike. After years of struggle, Layla Cassidy has finally mastered the dark powers that threatened to control her and turned them to good. She’s ready to fight, but the next battle will be her greatest test yet.The forces of Avalon are growing ever stronger, reinforcing their dominance with almighty d There’s thunder on the horizon, and the lightning of war is about to strike. After years of struggle, Layla Cassidy has finally mastered the dark powers that threatened to control her and turned them to good. She’s ready to fight, but the next battle will be her greatest test yet.The forces of Avalon are growing ever stronger, reinforcing their dominance with almighty displays of brutality. When Abaddon comes close to crushing Layla and her friends, it’s clear that the thunder of war is about to give way to lightning—and that they have no chance of surviving it alone.The final battle against Abaddon is drawing closer. Now Layla and her friends must fight for themselves—and the future of the world. To win, they will need every power and ally they can muster. But even with all their strength, will it be enough to stand against the impending doom?


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There’s thunder on the horizon, and the lightning of war is about to strike. After years of struggle, Layla Cassidy has finally mastered the dark powers that threatened to control her and turned them to good. She’s ready to fight, but the next battle will be her greatest test yet.The forces of Avalon are growing ever stronger, reinforcing their dominance with almighty d There’s thunder on the horizon, and the lightning of war is about to strike. After years of struggle, Layla Cassidy has finally mastered the dark powers that threatened to control her and turned them to good. She’s ready to fight, but the next battle will be her greatest test yet.The forces of Avalon are growing ever stronger, reinforcing their dominance with almighty displays of brutality. When Abaddon comes close to crushing Layla and her friends, it’s clear that the thunder of war is about to give way to lightning—and that they have no chance of surviving it alone.The final battle against Abaddon is drawing closer. Now Layla and her friends must fight for themselves—and the future of the world. To win, they will need every power and ally they can muster. But even with all their strength, will it be enough to stand against the impending doom?

30 review for A Thunder of War

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julia Sarene

    Another amazing story by one of my favorite urban fantasy authors! It took me a bit to get used to a new main character - but that is normal for me. By now I'm quite happy with it and so I could fully settle on the story again with this one. And what a a story it was! So many characters I grew to love, new characters to meet, a lot of magic flung around, new friendships, new adventures, characters growing and changing and some not making it to the end and of course a lot of humor! And the very, v Another amazing story by one of my favorite urban fantasy authors! It took me a bit to get used to a new main character - but that is normal for me. By now I'm quite happy with it and so I could fully settle on the story again with this one. And what a a story it was! So many characters I grew to love, new characters to meet, a lot of magic flung around, new friendships, new adventures, characters growing and changing and some not making it to the end and of course a lot of humor! And the very, very end of the book.... I'm so excited it's not even real anymore! I devoured the whole book yet again, and already can't wait for the next one...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Marielle

    Fantastic to read about Layla again, what a badass she is! Loved the book... Bring on The Rebellion Chronicles, I need more...

  3. 4 out of 5

    LJ Waguespack

    Strongly written series, consistently satisfying and complete with no end in sight! Steve McHugh continues to astound, in this well written, evenly paced epic magical series. Thankfully, this is a series that has potential to continue for a very long time, for that I am grateful. Steve McHugh has risen to "must read status" in and on my TBR shelf, and earned critical acclaim in the process. Well done, sir, well done! Onto the next book, thank you Steve McHugh. Strongly written series, consistently satisfying and complete with no end in sight! Steve McHugh continues to astound, in this well written, evenly paced epic magical series. Thankfully, this is a series that has potential to continue for a very long time, for that I am grateful. Steve McHugh has risen to "must read status" in and on my TBR shelf, and earned critical acclaim in the process. Well done, sir, well done! Onto the next book, thank you Steve McHugh.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    OK. I love Steve McHugh enough to give him some leeway. But after this book, and its predecessor, I'm left with the thought that this "Avalon Chronicles" series is just a way for him to recharge his creative batteries and to bridge the gap between the Hellequin series (awesome!) and the to-come Nate Garrett series (for which I still have high hopes). In this chapter, we still have all the great characters and the excellent world. We have Layla coming into the fullness of her powers. We have Avalo OK. I love Steve McHugh enough to give him some leeway. But after this book, and its predecessor, I'm left with the thought that this "Avalon Chronicles" series is just a way for him to recharge his creative batteries and to bridge the gap between the Hellequin series (awesome!) and the to-come Nate Garrett series (for which I still have high hopes). In this chapter, we still have all the great characters and the excellent world. We have Layla coming into the fullness of her powers. We have Avalon massing an army to conquer the Tree of Life, thereby gaining control of all the portals so they could kill everyone. I think my problem here is that there's just so much going on that it's really hard to dive into any piece of it without this becoming a 1000-page tome. To his credit, McHugh keeps us locked into two POV characters - Layla and Mordred (whom I've come to enjoy very much), but I still don't feel like I lived it. I feel more like I read it, watched it from afar. I was not as emotionally invested in these stories as I was in the Hellequin stories. If you've read the first two, you'll want to finish the series and bridge into the next one. And with the ending to this one, I'm eagerly anticipating the Nate Garrett series.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ami

    I feel like I've never really warmed up towards Layla -- unlike I did with Nate in the Hellequin Chronicles series; and unfortunately, this final book of her trilogy doesn't improve my impression of her. Not too mention that, for me, this book is too scattered with SO MANY CHARACTERS at the same time. We already have bunch of them, but there are more new names introduced. I was lost with all the names and the realms, and it wasn't a fun experience. I don't like taking separate notes to keep trac I feel like I've never really warmed up towards Layla -- unlike I did with Nate in the Hellequin Chronicles series; and unfortunately, this final book of her trilogy doesn't improve my impression of her. Not too mention that, for me, this book is too scattered with SO MANY CHARACTERS at the same time. We already have bunch of them, but there are more new names introduced. I was lost with all the names and the realms, and it wasn't a fun experience. I don't like taking separate notes to keep track, you know. BUT the last 1/5th of the book is better -- somehow it gets more focused. Plus the final battle is exhilarating, with Mordred making deal with (view spoiler)[a dragon (hide spoiler)] or the way that Layla finally uses her umbra power to help beat (view spoiler)[Mammon (hide spoiler)] . I enjoyed Mordred chapters a lot more than Layla's -- maybe because he felt like an 'old friend', coming from the Hellequin books instead of this series. And that epilogue?! MAN, I hope it means what I think it means!! Because, (view spoiler)[I MISS YOU NATE GARRETT, AND I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE YOU WITH ALL OF YOUR POWER! (hide spoiler)]

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karen Cole

    A Thunder of War is the third and final book in Steve McHugh's Avalon Chronicles trilogy, his second dark urban fantasy series following the Hellequin Chronicles which features many of the same characters. I loved the previous books, A Glimmer of Hope and A Flicker of Steel and would recommend you read those books first if possible because although A Thunder of War could be enjoyed as a standalone, it is part of a series and best experienced that way. Also, the first two books are brilliant read A Thunder of War is the third and final book in Steve McHugh's Avalon Chronicles trilogy, his second dark urban fantasy series following the Hellequin Chronicles which features many of the same characters. I loved the previous books, A Glimmer of Hope and A Flicker of Steel and would recommend you read those books first if possible because although A Thunder of War could be enjoyed as a standalone, it is part of a series and best experienced that way. Also, the first two books are brilliant reads and I thoroughly recommend them! A few years have now passed since Layla inadvertently activated an ancient scroll which turned her into a powerful umbra. The normal young woman introduced at the start of the first book has become a fierce and experienced warrior although she is still learning how to truly harness her extraordinary skills. Since Layla became aware that the figures and creatures she once believed to be myths are real, she and her friends have been battling Avalon, led by the evil Abaddon. A Thunder of War opens with Layla on a mission which doesn't go to plan which isn't entirely unexpected given their propensity for carrying out risky or foolhardy plans but as the book progresses things only get worse. There's a very definite sense of foreboding throughout the novel as it becomes worryingly probable that Abaddon's potential for destruction will ultimately be impossible to oppose. Lyla's unusual friends include necromancers, dwarves werewolves, gods and goddesses and my all-time favourite character (and I suspect I'm not alone here!), Remy, the fox-human hybrid. They are joined by here by a shadow elf, fire giant and a sabre-toothed panther all of whom are welcome additions to the story. I have become so invested in the lives of these characters which meant I spent much of novel desperately fearing for them but there are lighter moments amidst the violence and death too. One of the many things I love about this series is the wisecracking humour which with the pop culture references give a really contemporary feel to the books. I suspect actually that I've become a little indoctrinated by this strangely loveable bunch of geeks because even before Mordred says, "It's all feeling very much like I'm about to go fight the last boss." I'd been thinking that the story was reminiscent of an RPG with the characters moving between different realms completing challenges and collecting items (or in this case, often additions to their group) before facing the final, terrible battle. This may be the last of the Avalon Chronicles but I hope it's not the last we see of Layla, she's such a brilliant character and I've really enjoyed reading a series with such a strong female lead. A Thunder of War though is a bloody, violent, emotional and thoroughly entertaining finale to this part of her story. There is obviously still more trouble ahead but I can't wait to read the Rebellion Chronicles, the next instalment of this fabulous world created by Steve McHugh - particularly after the tantalizing epilogue which brings back a familiar character. A Thunder of War has definitely left me desperate for more. Another absolute cracker of a read!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Non-stop! Non-stop wild action with a feisty heroine you can't help but cheer. The most *fun* book I've read this year! Non-stop! Non-stop wild action with a feisty heroine you can't help but cheer. The most *fun* book I've read this year!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Wilson

    4.5 Stars

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sana Zameer

    Finally, I've finished this trilogy. It wasn't any better than the last book. Too much action packed and too rushed. I liked Mordred's POV more than Lyla's, but then I never warmed up to her character. I really wanted to dnf this but I'm glad I didn't because that epilogue!! Awesome! My favorite Sorcerer is back. Finally, I've finished this trilogy. It wasn't any better than the last book. Too much action packed and too rushed. I liked Mordred's POV more than Lyla's, but then I never warmed up to her character. I really wanted to dnf this but I'm glad I didn't because that epilogue!! Awesome! My favorite Sorcerer is back.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    *Source* Publisher *Genre* Urban Fantasy *Rating* 4.0 *Thoughts* A Thunder of War, by author Steve McHugh, is the third and final installment in the authors Avalon Chronicles series. The story picks up right where A Flicker of Steel left off. It has been several years since Layla Cassidy discovered a new world that lives right under the eyes of humanity. She became an umbra (a joining of 3 spirits and a demon), found she had kick ass powers, and joined a group that fights against Avalon, an organiza *Source* Publisher *Genre* Urban Fantasy *Rating* 4.0 *Thoughts* A Thunder of War, by author Steve McHugh, is the third and final installment in the authors Avalon Chronicles series. The story picks up right where A Flicker of Steel left off. It has been several years since Layla Cassidy discovered a new world that lives right under the eyes of humanity. She became an umbra (a joining of 3 spirits and a demon), found she had kick ass powers, and joined a group that fights against Avalon, an organization that once stood to protect mankind, but now wants nothing more to push it's agenda on everyone from shifters, to gods, and goddesses, and everyone in between. *Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews* https://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/20...

  11. 4 out of 5

    JD Burbidge

    Once again..... This book was fantastic. As always, it's the culmination we've all waited for and the book ties it up nicely. Excellent characters, and some lines that will never be forgotten! A final chapter that gives you good bumps and makes you wish you could forget the series so you can start all over and experience Steve's writing from the start again! Cannot wait for the rebellion chronicles to start!! Once again..... This book was fantastic. As always, it's the culmination we've all waited for and the book ties it up nicely. Excellent characters, and some lines that will never be forgotten! A final chapter that gives you good bumps and makes you wish you could forget the series so you can start all over and experience Steve's writing from the start again! Cannot wait for the rebellion chronicles to start!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Quick thoughts: Fine overall, but lacking a sequel to the Hellequin series. Trilogy feels like a side story and largely biding time until Nathan's return. Still solid writing and some interesting turns, but in a rough spot because of it's relation to the previous and forthcoming series and doesn't really overcome it. Quick thoughts: Fine overall, but lacking a sequel to the Hellequin series. Trilogy feels like a side story and largely biding time until Nathan's return. Still solid writing and some interesting turns, but in a rough spot because of it's relation to the previous and forthcoming series and doesn't really overcome it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Timelord Iain

    Some interesting developments for the larger narrative, at the end... but in general, I was dissatisfied with this trilogy...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Speed

    Thank God that’s finished ... You know when a young child writes a story using the, “and then, and then, and then” ... I think if the author could have got away with it he would have done. Steve ... seriously, go back to how you started writing this series, but with a little more detail, less speed & more thought with the action scenes. And they ran for an hour ... They quickly jogged back (a mile !?!!) ... Nobody eats, sleeps or bathes much either do they! Seriously, whilst learning about new & exist Thank God that’s finished ... You know when a young child writes a story using the, “and then, and then, and then” ... I think if the author could have got away with it he would have done. Steve ... seriously, go back to how you started writing this series, but with a little more detail, less speed & more thought with the action scenes. And they ran for an hour ... They quickly jogged back (a mile !?!!) ... Nobody eats, sleeps or bathes much either do they! Seriously, whilst learning about new & existing characters in more depth would have been cool if things weren’t glossed over or rushed. Write for your adult readers, not the nursery ... & please don’t mess up the return of our main character ... especially your previous fopar of learning to do something better or gaining more power for it then not to work when used again !!!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne

    This is the third in The Avalon Chronicles and yes I would definitely suggest reading these books in order as you get to see the transformation of Layla Cassidy. She is coming to terms with her powers, though not fully accepted all that she can be. The battle against Avalon becomes more brutal as the fighting increases. No one knows if Avalon can be defeated and everything is risked. With Layla learning more about her powers and her role, she increasing finds herself and her friends in a relentle This is the third in The Avalon Chronicles and yes I would definitely suggest reading these books in order as you get to see the transformation of Layla Cassidy. She is coming to terms with her powers, though not fully accepted all that she can be. The battle against Avalon becomes more brutal as the fighting increases. No one knows if Avalon can be defeated and everything is risked. With Layla learning more about her powers and her role, she increasing finds herself and her friends in a relentless situation. Avalon forces are desperate to take over the control of the realms. They have won over some and it is a race to prevent more being lost. Layla and Abaddon have history and again they butt heads as Abaddon becomes a more increasing pain in the rear. With Layla still discovering the full extent of her power, it seems that Abaddon beats her at every turn. This is a fantasy series that mixes and draws on legend, folklore, mythology from various countries and times. The way the author uses the different realms and also keeping its phrasing and language modern still allowing it to mix in different settings is a real treat. By doing this the author can mix in the odd demi-god, the occasional sorcerer, a few dwarves, were beasts and there’s a dragon or two… the dragons made me so happy. The mix of old and ancient with a modern setting has worked really well for me as I was reading. I often found myself making notes for further reading with regards to some of the more unusual mythology or legendary references. There is such a large scope when it comes to the things that have been included such as; Arthurian legends, Norse Mythology, Roman mythology, and Native American and then there is also mentions of necromancy, elemental magic, and pure magic. These various elements have been well researched and while I wouldn’t necessarily have put such a range of different things like this together, I am so glad the author did as it makes such a wonderful read. The characters are brilliantly described and their storylines and the way they are entwined is wonderful. There are a lot of characters, and again this is where I would reiterate that reading the series in order would help. The author has dropped some brilliant little one-liners that are delivered by certain cast members, and I have a feeling this may possibly be a little bit of the author’s personality popping by. You will soon build up a list of those characters that you really like because of their various traits, and then there are those you would quite happily take up a sword and personally chop their heads off. If you are a fan of fantasy, magic, legend, mythology, and folklore then this is a must read. If you also like elves, dwarves, were beasts and don’t forget the dragons, then this is a must read. A fabulous series, that I think would also work for general fiction readers as well as fantasy, yes it is heavy on the fantasy do to the mix of magic, legend, and mythology but I think it is very accessible with names you can actually pronounce. This is a book and a series I highly recommend.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Ahhh I was so happy to get back into this series! I would highly recommend you read the other books as this series is just so fantastic you will want to soak it all up. It’s kind of like Guardians of the Galaxy only instead of travelling across galaxies rescuing various aliens our gang of friends travel through magical realms fighting mythical creatures, Gods, devils, elves, with the help of other Gods, devils and elves.. oh and of course Layla is an Umbra (she has spirits living in her that giv Ahhh I was so happy to get back into this series! I would highly recommend you read the other books as this series is just so fantastic you will want to soak it all up. It’s kind of like Guardians of the Galaxy only instead of travelling across galaxies rescuing various aliens our gang of friends travel through magical realms fighting mythical creatures, Gods, devils, elves, with the help of other Gods, devils and elves.. oh and of course Layla is an Umbra (she has spirits living in her that give her magical Magneto (X-men) powers. You also get the added bonus of a sarcastic fox, Remy, who has some of the best one liners, an eye for explosives and general stabiness! Did I mention there’s a dragon or two? Oh and a massive saber tooth panther OF COURSE THERE IS! I’m not even going to begin to tell you what happens because one that would spoil the fun and two I wouldn’t know when to stop raving, between Hades and Persephone, oh we’ll just throw Lucifer in there, some Titans, Griffins, Dwarves, giants (fire giants to be specific) actually it’s kind of like Guardians of the Galaxy meets Lord of the Rings.. SEE WHAT I MEAN! Look what can I say I loved it and I was so sad when I finished reading because I didn’t want the adventure to end. I asked Steve if there would be a book 4 but he said no there would In fact be another series to follow on from it, more of which will be announced soon so I’m super stoked about that! If you enjoy fantasy, adventure, lots of bloody battle with plenty of magic and mythical creatures you should definitely give this series a go.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Leenart

    A satisfying conclusion to the Avalon Chronicles. I've really enjoyed having Layla at the helm, and especially enjoyed getting Mordred's point of view in there as well. Once you get over how young Layla and her group of friends are compared to those around her, and take into account that no matter their age, skill and person have value too, it all starts to click into place. The world and it's surrounding realms are really in a mess now that Avalon with all it's corruptions have taken charge and A satisfying conclusion to the Avalon Chronicles. I've really enjoyed having Layla at the helm, and especially enjoyed getting Mordred's point of view in there as well. Once you get over how young Layla and her group of friends are compared to those around her, and take into account that no matter their age, skill and person have value too, it all starts to click into place. The world and it's surrounding realms are really in a mess now that Avalon with all it's corruptions have taken charge and convinced humans that they are the good guys. In fact we don't even get a glimpse of human earth and this book reminded me strongly of Stargate! Not a bad thing and I loved that series, this takes it in a more fantasy direction, hopping through one gate to another and the battles and scenes too on a more epic feel amongst the temporary setting. All in all it was an atmosphere that I enjoyed greatly. I love the way that Steve McHugh has taken on just about every mythology known to us humans and mashed it into his world, incredibly successfully. With Layla, Tommy, Mordred, Remy and co having the task of taking out some of the major players in the bloody game, I am now ready for Nate to get back on his feet and take over smashing the bad guys. I am pretty sure Arthur needs an enemy equal to him to level the playing field and I am sure Nate will give him a run fo this money. Looking forward to whatever comes next.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Morris

    Well, when I first started reading this 3rd book in the series, I was a little confused with the start - but that's probably more to do with the time between reading this and the previous book. The characters are brilliant, coming to terms with their abilities and their friendships and relationships to make a huge family. I love the additional characters who come into the story and make the 'family' even bigger. Mordred and Remy are probably my 2 favourite people in these books (all of the McHugh Well, when I first started reading this 3rd book in the series, I was a little confused with the start - but that's probably more to do with the time between reading this and the previous book. The characters are brilliant, coming to terms with their abilities and their friendships and relationships to make a huge family. I love the additional characters who come into the story and make the 'family' even bigger. Mordred and Remy are probably my 2 favourite people in these books (all of the McHugh Hellequin and Avalon series), mainly because of the way they bounce beautifully off each other. Thankfully, it's obvious that the whole story is not finished, we have more to come. I hope that when the next series starts Layla and her friends will be part of the continuation, even though they are off on their own adventures at the moment (oh look, more tales....) Mr McHugh, I love your stories, can't wait for the next one.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jeremiah

    The Avalon Chronicles "trilogy" really seems like one long novel, divided in three for marketing purposes. I really hope as others have suggested that this trilogy was a low-key way for the author to gather himself for the upcoming return of Nate Garrett as our protagonist. As a "final" book in a trilogy, there is remarkably little that happens. Some favorite characters come and go, but far too much happens off screen for my tastes. This series is an average urban-fantasy-action series and still The Avalon Chronicles "trilogy" really seems like one long novel, divided in three for marketing purposes. I really hope as others have suggested that this trilogy was a low-key way for the author to gather himself for the upcoming return of Nate Garrett as our protagonist. As a "final" book in a trilogy, there is remarkably little that happens. Some favorite characters come and go, but far too much happens off screen for my tastes. This series is an average urban-fantasy-action series and still more enjoyable than many of the others that I've read over the years. I like the world, but honestly I'd rather be reading about Nate Garrett. Layla is okay, but I never really bought how quickly she went from unsuspecting nobody to super-badass in the blink of an eye in this trilogy.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Damian

    I really like the Avalon Chronicles, but this book seems seriously rushed. More than once the book skips over something important, and made me feel like I accidentally skipped a page. I would rate this book 5 stars if Steve had put in the time to add another 50 pages or more of dialogue/transitional paragraphs to make this book a much smoother experience. There were also a few plot points that just got waved off by the characters when there should have been a lot more anger by what they discover I really like the Avalon Chronicles, but this book seems seriously rushed. More than once the book skips over something important, and made me feel like I accidentally skipped a page. I would rate this book 5 stars if Steve had put in the time to add another 50 pages or more of dialogue/transitional paragraphs to make this book a much smoother experience. There were also a few plot points that just got waved off by the characters when there should have been a lot more anger by what they discovered. This whole book felt way too rushed. The story is amazing, I saw a lot of great characters get developed (although I am unsure of how I feel about Remy's new powers,) we get some great info on the bad guys who helped start this off, and the epilogue makes me very impatient for the next Nate book to come out.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    This third installment made the whole series worth it! As I was reading the scene of the final battle, I was overwhelmed by how epic it all was, and how it was almost like an homage to J.R.R. Tolkein's The Hobbit because there was basically a battle of five armies: (1) Helheim, (2) the Titans, (3) the Dwarves, (4) the Blood Elves, and (5) our misfit band of rebels. And what a misfit band it is - but it works! And I think Mr. Steve McHugh would appreciate the analogy, since he is such a "nerd" wh This third installment made the whole series worth it! As I was reading the scene of the final battle, I was overwhelmed by how epic it all was, and how it was almost like an homage to J.R.R. Tolkein's The Hobbit because there was basically a battle of five armies: (1) Helheim, (2) the Titans, (3) the Dwarves, (4) the Blood Elves, and (5) our misfit band of rebels. And what a misfit band it is - but it works! And I think Mr. Steve McHugh would appreciate the analogy, since he is such a "nerd" when it comes to all things fantasy and sci-fi. As for our misfits, Layla has really developed into a character all of her own, and though I wasn't a huge fan of hers in the first book, she has grown on me as she developed into a leader and warrior. Remy, as always, completely steals every scene he is in, and has some of the best insults ever. For example, when confronting one of the devils, he tells her to "Just piss off and die already, you hoofwanking cockwomble." I feel like I need to add that to my repertoire. I will admit, some of the war strategy being talked about did get a bit convoluted for me... I had a hard time picturing exactly what was being discussed and how it would make any difference. Especially when they were talking about realm gates and how to operate them, and how they would change destinations to jump through multiple realms. I almost felt like I needed a map at one point. There was also at least one thread of the story that seemed disconnected: when Layla was captured, she learned information about an elven realm gate under the library. When she was able to rejoin her group, she didn't tell them about the gate, despite knowing it may be beneficial to them (due to previous war strategies discussed). As they are all walking through the tunnels and come to a fork, Zamek - a Dwarf who use to live in the mountain - tells them where the one tunnel leads, but then states "I assume the other tunnel goes to whatever they found under the library. It certainly wasn't here the last time I was down this far." Ok Layla... this is where you would jump in and provide that information you were given! But no... she doesn't. But when the they reach the Elven realm, one of the characters calmly stated "It's the elven realm gate". As if they all already knew about it and it wasn't a surprise to anyone. How is that possible when just minutes ago the Dwarf told you he had no idea what was down there and Layla never shared her news! While this didn't drastically affect the story as a whole, and I think may have just been an editing oversight, I would preferred more cohesion in the plot when it comes to these types of details. But that ending... OMG! I feel like the Avalon Chronicles were written that so when Nate Garrett comes back "from the dead", we won't have to worry about a lot of backstory of missing years being put into the novels since we will have already known what's been happening. Two years is a long time to miss, and while I am sure characters will fill Nate in, that doesn't have to happen on the pages - as long as it is explained that's what happened (see pet peeve above). I can't wait for Nate to be back at full power and join the fray of misfits!

  22. 5 out of 5

    William Wingert

    Not as good as the Hellequin series Reading this felt like I was reading something ghostwritten by someone other than Steve McHugh. The flow wasnt as smooth, lots of very abrupt transitions, the writing felt stilted. The story and characters were great, but some things just didnt make sense in context. An example is one of the encounters with the dwarves; this random human (Layla) instantly convinces them all to go fight something they've hidden from for a thousand years? In a role playing game w Not as good as the Hellequin series Reading this felt like I was reading something ghostwritten by someone other than Steve McHugh. The flow wasnt as smooth, lots of very abrupt transitions, the writing felt stilted. The story and characters were great, but some things just didnt make sense in context. An example is one of the encounters with the dwarves; this random human (Layla) instantly convinces them all to go fight something they've hidden from for a thousand years? In a role playing game we'd describe it as an adventure on rails, and lots of the transitions just dont feel organic, they feel forced. I will read the next series, because it does push all my urban fantasy buttons, but I hope the writing reflects more the earlier series than this one.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Humfeld

    This is the 10th book in two series, and while the plot is interesting, the characters are generally pretty one-dimensional and the dialogue leaves a lot to be desired. Ancient beings all using the slang of a 30-something (or 40-something)? My 70 year old parents don't use those kinds of cultural references, why would someone who's been around for millennia? There are quips that seem like they're meant to be edgy that both 1) aren't, and 2) break the mood the author is establishing when characte This is the 10th book in two series, and while the plot is interesting, the characters are generally pretty one-dimensional and the dialogue leaves a lot to be desired. Ancient beings all using the slang of a 30-something (or 40-something)? My 70 year old parents don't use those kinds of cultural references, why would someone who's been around for millennia? There are quips that seem like they're meant to be edgy that both 1) aren't, and 2) break the mood the author is establishing when characters are setting out or preparing for dangerous missions. Overall, I'll probably read the next one, as this was the last in a trilogy, but I hope that the trend reverses itself and the books start to improve again.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarz

    Too complicated It may be more of a comment on my reading comprehension, but I really found this book just too complicated. I struggled to keep up with who'd split into which groups, where they were going, what they were doing, who they were fighting... I could've done with taking notes and drawing charts to keep track of it all. I'm hoping that the next one will be a bit clearer, because I don't remember having this issue with the Hellequin books. Thankfully, the last couple of chapters were le Too complicated It may be more of a comment on my reading comprehension, but I really found this book just too complicated. I struggled to keep up with who'd split into which groups, where they were going, what they were doing, who they were fighting... I could've done with taking notes and drawing charts to keep track of it all. I'm hoping that the next one will be a bit clearer, because I don't remember having this issue with the Hellequin books. Thankfully, the last couple of chapters were less fragmented than the rest of the book, and there's a great lead into the next episode, so I will keep reading.

  25. 4 out of 5

    C_Norm85

    Brilliant Just when you think it can’t get any better, Steve Mchugh pulls another beauty out of the bag! This book really sees Layla come into her own. She has always been brave and courageous but now she has reached the next level of badassery (Remy would be proud). With everyone from the usual crew who we know and love, with a few new additions, there is action throughout with amazing fight scenes, wonderful character development and an intriguing storyline that just keeps getting better. Ever Brilliant Just when you think it can’t get any better, Steve Mchugh pulls another beauty out of the bag! This book really sees Layla come into her own. She has always been brave and courageous but now she has reached the next level of badassery (Remy would be proud). With everyone from the usual crew who we know and love, with a few new additions, there is action throughout with amazing fight scenes, wonderful character development and an intriguing storyline that just keeps getting better. Everything is well set up for the next series and I can’t wait for it to arrive. Highly recommend anything from Steve Mchugh, the man is a genius

  26. 5 out of 5

    M.

    Good laugh, Great Big War Ending Without disappointment, Steve managed to somehow make me almost laugh it out while commuting when reading his books. I had to restrain myself from looking like a loony, in public. Lots of controlled deep breaths required while the comedic scene keeps looping in my brain. Skip to the end, the big war scene is epic! Very detailed and vivid emotions reflected during the fight. And you feel the fast-paced action too. Always a page turner; from The Hellequin Chronicles Good laugh, Great Big War Ending Without disappointment, Steve managed to somehow make me almost laugh it out while commuting when reading his books. I had to restrain myself from looking like a loony, in public. Lots of controlled deep breaths required while the comedic scene keeps looping in my brain. Skip to the end, the big war scene is epic! Very detailed and vivid emotions reflected during the fight. And you feel the fast-paced action too. Always a page turner; from The Hellequin Chronicles to this, The Avalon Chronicles. Anticipating for the continuation in his next upcoming series.

  27. 4 out of 5

    jacs mcintosh

    Great story Love these books, the characters and the action. There are times that this book feels like a teaser or a gap filler between the 2 series that Steve has written but it doesn't make the story any less enjoyable. My only gripe with it is that is does of a lot of back filling to catch up with our protagonist without giving very much detail about what actually happened. In my personal opinion Iwould say If it's going to be relevant to the plot then explain it a bit more but otherwise a gr Great story Love these books, the characters and the action. There are times that this book feels like a teaser or a gap filler between the 2 series that Steve has written but it doesn't make the story any less enjoyable. My only gripe with it is that is does of a lot of back filling to catch up with our protagonist without giving very much detail about what actually happened. In my personal opinion Iwould say If it's going to be relevant to the plot then explain it a bit more but otherwise a great addition to the series.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anissa Payne

    Love! Just ... freakin’ amazing. I started one Avalon book in the middle, and two paragraphs in, knew I needed to start from the beginning - with Nate Garrett. I have never regretted the time invested. Every story, every life, every death (except those of the blood elves) means so much, such a rich imagination on paper. I am glad I do not bleed with the characters, but I certainly do laugh and cry with them. I am hard-pressed to put any of McHugh’s works down. Hurry up with 11 already!!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Earl C Loveless

    Fun read but still knockoff. Nate Temple/ Callie/ Asterion knock off series . Not much original out there right now. At the same time it is interesting and an enjoyable read. For darker fantasy fans. Be warned there is an extraordinary amount of blood and gore! The author telegraphs much the drama so you know what the solutions will before the story climaxes. Could be a bit more skillful in not giving away the farm. Transition devises are often awkward. But over all it was good read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    John-Torleif Harris

    So very excellent! That may have been the single most epic epilogue that I've ever had the pleasure of reading! I got chills and strayed laughing out loud from the elation that ran through me. And that doesn't even talk about the amazing story that preceded it. I loved that Layla really came into her own and showed that an umbra isn't simply a human with some extra spirits, but truly is a power in its own right. I loved that what seemed hopeless at the beginning of the book became triumphant and e So very excellent! That may have been the single most epic epilogue that I've ever had the pleasure of reading! I got chills and strayed laughing out loud from the elation that ran through me. And that doesn't even talk about the amazing story that preceded it. I loved that Layla really came into her own and showed that an umbra isn't simply a human with some extra spirits, but truly is a power in its own right. I loved that what seemed hopeless at the beginning of the book became triumphant and ebullient.

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