Lonnie is just your average runner for the infamous Eighth Street Gang when he gets an urgent phone call to back up his crew after trouble follows them home from a drug deal gone bad. During the ensuing firefight, Lonnie sees some things he wishes he hadn't, including the gang's leader, Selix, channeling her powers from a place called the Fade by getting high...and dancing. Memories begin unraveling inside Lonnie's darkened mind. Memories of dragons and fiends and fire-swept otherworlds. Memories Selix controls with a simple touch. But what is real and what is not? In the strange and violent world of Galefire, Lonnie comes to realize not everything is as it seems, including his own identity. But will Lonnie and Selix reconcile the past before they are caught by those who seek to drag them home in chains?
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Lonnie, runner for the Eighth Street gang, has a feeling something about his life isn't right. He is the lowest member of the gang, used for running deliveries of drugs and going to the store for supplies. He just keeps feeling something isn't right, and keeps having wild dreams of another world where he is flying on a dragons back fighting airships! When he gets a frantic call from a gang member to meet them out back of the clubhouse and be prepared for violence, he doesn't expect to see what he does, as the club members are being attacked by supernatural creatures! After watching his gang leader Selix use magic after getting high to defeat the invaders, Lonnie is thoroughly confused, and even more so after she uses her powers to wipe away the memory. The memories are starting to refuse to stay buried though, and after the club is attacked again, Lonnie learns he has been kept in a memory wiped daze to protect him, since the beings hunting him could sense him if he had his memories. Lonnie and the other gang members are refugees from a lost war in another dimension, which one I wont tell because that would be a huge spoiler. This new knowledge Leeds to a climactic confrontation with the forces hunting for Lonnie, and his life will never be the same again, as he finally gets his memories back and realizes just who he really is, and what that means. Nothing will be the same again and he needs to decide what actions to take from that point on.
This is not the typical urban fantasy, with the usual wizard detective or some such. The Eighth Streeters are a violent drug gang, due to their upbringing. They have a much more varied past than you'd expect, hinted at through conversations. It is an interesting mix of characters, and they bicker and fight as any group in close quarters would be expected to. The hidden secret the gang hides does explain quite a lot of their actions, and when it finally explodes in violence, it is much larger than you'd expect. Even though the characters are more anti-hero than hero, you can still get to like them, and appreciate the lengths they go through to protect Lonnie.
The setting is grimy and well drawn out, and not some place you'd want to visit. It takes place in Cincinnati, not the normal Chicago or LA of UF novels, so that was interesting, and you can almost see the grime on the street and smell the reek of the sewers as explained in the book. Overall, a well drawn out world.
Scott Aiello, who also narrated the author's Gnome Saga books, did an excellent job bringing the various characters to life. Each character has his or her own unique voice, and he has a great touch with tone, pitch and cadence. His narration is always top notch, never lagging or monotonous. 5 star effort all the way around.
This might be one of the most interesting books I've read in a while. From the very beginning, I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into, but boy was it a fun book. It's one of those books that I can't write the review that I want because it will ruin some of the great story turns that happen in it.
Fade Rippers follows Lonnie, a runner for the Eighth Street gang. He's basically not allowed out the normal door of their hideout and feels like he's being totally wasted where he is. Suddenly, a phone call comes in that could change his life forever. The gang was in trouble and are asking him for help. What he finds when he finally gets out to help them will open his eyes to the Eighth Street gang and the people who he thought he knew.
The story revolving around Lonnie was an interesting one, he wasn't the most likable main character throughout most of the book but he was a funny and enjoyable one to follow around. I really can't write much about the story or the story arc that revolves around him, but it genuinely surprised me around every turn.
The story itself was a short one, but it was almost a complete one. It "finished" but definitely leaves room for a ton more to happen with this story. I think that by the end of the story, Lonnie really grew on me. His character went through a lot and was able to come out the other side a likable and easier to follow main character.
Overall, Fade Rippers was a story that I normally wouldn't have read, but I'm really glad that I did. An enjoyable story with lots of room to grow. I will definitely be following along eagerly. I wish that I read more stories like this so that I could compare Kenny Soward to another author, but I can tell you this. Be on the lookout for Soward. I'm betting he has a great career as an author. He has a talent for writing gritty and realistic fantasy stories.
The narration by Scott Aiello was spot on. He took the grit and vulgarity that Soward wrote into this book and made it easy to digest and incredibly fun to listen along to.
I was given a free copy of this book, this has not affected my review in any way.
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