Sunday, September 26, 2021

Review: Bottle Demon by Stephen Blackmoore

by Stephen Blackmoore
Release Date: May 4, 2021
2021 Daw Books
Kindle Edition; 295 Pages
ISBN: 978-0756412982
Genre: Fiction / Urban Fantasy
Source: Review copy from publisher
4 / 5 Stars
After being attacked by a demon in the one place he thought he was safe, Eric Carter has been killed, his soul sent to take its place as a stand-in for the Aztec god of death Mictlantecuhtli. But somebody on Earth isn't done with him, yet. Somebody with the power to bring him back from the dead. He doesn't know who, and worse he doesn't know why.

Between an angry death goddess, family secrets steeped in blood, a Djinn who's biding his time, and a killer mage who can create copy after copy of himself, Eric's new life looks to be just as violent as his last one. But if he doesn't get to the bottom of why he's back, it's going to be a hell of a lot shorter.
My Thoughts
Bottle Demon is the next entry in the Eric Carter series, and I was immediately intrigued by the premise (and the ending in  the previous book) as I wondered how the author was going to pull off a miracle resurrection and make is plausible.  And..., he definitely managed it.  I thoroughly enjoyed Eric's confusion as he navigated a world that was both the same and quite a bit different from what he was used to, and attempted to piece together what happened and how he was going to solve this mystery.  Personally, I think this might actually be my favourite book by this author.

Eric Carter is such a fascinating character: he comes from a world that is run by wizarding families who seem to have lost their empathy over the years, which requires some tough-love on Eric's part to keep the world from imploding.  Being a Necromancer certainly doesn't help matters as he is looked upon with suspicion just because of what he can do.  I really thought it was interesting that Eric didn't want to come back and actually mourned the fact that he was resurrected: from pretty much the first page Eric is chased, shot at, attacked, etc...., with little knowledge as to what is happening, but through it all, his humanity still shines and we have this guy who mourns the peace he had when he was dead.  Although he is not the kind of person who whines about his fate, I did appreciate the interesting dialogue about what may be waiting for us on the other side, or at least on Eric's other side.  For a guy who has not had a lot of peace, it must be comforting.  There was one scene, in particular, that showed how much Eric cares about the people around him and I would be lying if I said it didn't being a small tear to my eye.  The author is able to capture many different sides of his characters which is something I really enjoy about his writing. 

The plot was full of twists and turns, but I definitely think the author's strength is exploring thematic devices by giving us flawed characters who are just trying to make the world a better place in which to live.  Naturally, some of the decisions these characters make go badly wrong, which creates some interesting scenarios and these plot twists. 
Bottle Demon is well-written and certainly contains a number of surprises that I wasn't expecting.I really do feel like there is a different vibe to this book which makes me think the author is planning on shaking things up for Eric and the rest of the characters and that we may see things go in a very different direction than in previous books.  I like a good shake-up in books and although certain characters didn't make an appearance in this one and others were relegated to more minor roles, there are some characters that seem to be taking centre stage, so perhaps something new is coming.  I am looking forward to seeing what happens to Eric and company next.