Chrystalla Thoma's Boreal and John Grey has become one of my new favourite urban fantasy/paranormal book series. Absolutely hooked from the cover and first pages alone, I could not bear to put this book down (and I had to being the summer hols, spending time with my kids and all)!! There is definitely something for everyone (say 15yrs+) with this magical story of the human world having Gates appear from another world, where it brings Shades, snakes, dragons, dwarves and goblins, not to mention sexy elves! The story itself is complete with action and adventure, mystery and romance.
Ella Benson is an agent for the Paranormal Bureau and we begin the story with Ella investigating a report of an attack by a Shade. She is supposed to be meeting up with her partner, Simon, but when there is no sign of him she is left to tackle the Shades alone. The reader is made aware of the trouble that the Shades have begun to cause within the first few pages, how easily they can attack and the mystery of where Simon is.
The reader is also introduced to the hero of the series, Finn (although the series centres mostly on Ella being the heroine). Whilst having fought the Shades, Simon not showing - Ella is a little confused when she thinks she sees a man fighting off the Shades. Did she bang her head during the fight? Is she hallucinating?
Without Simon, and the Shades appearing more and more, causing trouble all over the city, Ella needs a partner. Who else is there to consider but Finn! He is aware of the situation and he seems to handle himself well in fighting them off, not to mention a little protective of Ella!!! As Finn becomes injured a little later, and with no place to go, Ella takes him in until he can stand on his feet and move into his own place.
The romantic magic is written beautifully as these two characters learn more about the other (Ella more than Finn)! However, doubts and caution come into play when Ella begins to believe that Finn may not be quite who she thought he was. Finn doesn't help the situation as he remains a little grumpy on/off with one word answers but it is Ella's suspicious mind that begins to see a little more into who Finn really is!
Throughout the whole season I did not doubt that Ella was a strong heroine and felt that she could survive anything. And yet I love how Ella still reads as a feminine character with not too much machoism and she has a caring personality where her friends and colleagues are concerned, and Finn!!! There are times, however, when the reader real feels Finn's vulnerable side but even in some grave situations he remains protective to Ella. There are moments when the reader will question Finn's actions, however!
I couldn't help but view Finn's character like that of Eric from `True Blood' (especially the time when Eric cannot remember who he is - he is emotionally vulnerable and yet protective of Sookie). With his pale skin, blue eyes, beautifully set cheek bones plus the fact that he is able to look after himself there are also moments when Finn becomes injured and needs to be nursed by Ella. But even in times of being injured he will defend and protect Ella.
Boreal and John Grey (Complete Season One) consists of five books: The Encounter, The Gate, The Dragon, The Dream and The Truth. One of my favourite aspects of these books is the way in which they are written as `episodes' of a series. I find books written in this manner pack as much action/adventure and story into each book, keeping it very much alive and at the same time the reader gets to know the characters gradually over the whole series. I also find that each subsequent `episode'/book will subtley recap the reader or introduce the new reader to the events of the story, allowing the reader to keep informed with the full plot! Chrystalla Thoma's Boreal and John Grey (The Complete Season One) is no exception to this.
This series offers a great deal of realism from the characters having believable characteristics, including their flaws (i.e. vulnerabilities, confusion of events, mood swings, etc), and the focus on various myths and legends from historical era's worldwide. After reading this series, along with Chrystalla Thoma's bio, the reader can see how imaginative Chrystalla has been in taking modern life, realistic settings with Ella being an investigative agent and then opening up the story that dates back centuries with elves trying to conquer our world after Gates begin to open between their world and ours.
I would like to thank Chrystalla Thoma for inviting us to review her fantastic season of Boreal and John Grey for the purpose of an honest and fair review. Without the review request I may not have come across this 5 star work of fiction. I hope there is another series to come with these brilliant characters, their relationship and how they can save the world.
This is a fast moving, action packed, strange creature filled romp of a story. A mix of Norse folklore and a vivid imagination, Ms Thoma has written a multi-layered, intelligent tale that never lets up from the first page to the last. I don't want to talk about the plot too much because I don't want to spoil the story. If you like urban fantasy - you'll like this. If you like paranormal romances - you'll like this. Ella is a worthy heroine, brave and resourceful with a touch of mystery about her. She works for a paranormal investigative agency and fights off a variety of creatures who come through gates from a parallel world. There are dragons, wolves that aren't really wolves, flying snakes etc - all detailed in such a way that you can imagine them jumping off the page. The action sequences are very well written and exciting. I'm very impressed with the world building and the cast of characters.I loved the gradual revelation of details about Finn in particular. I did suspect part of the twist but the story was no less enjoyable for it. The romance element is there, but light and sweet. Who couldn't fall for Finn! There's more to come but the story stands as it is. You're not going to get to the end and go - what, where's the rest, but I'm very pleased there will be more of this world and look forward to reading on
First things first: - Kick ass female character - who is real and believable (and who doesn't get raped) - super hot and sexy elf - who also is a great fighter - and who actually has flaws that are realistic - great plot
It's hard to come up with something that I didn't like about this story, maybe the ending... With which I mean, the fact that it ended. I loved Ella, she was real, she kicked ass and wasn't without flaws, of which one is that he has a wandering mind, which I didn't mind at all. She was a female character that I've been missing lately. I can relate to her on a level that made me gasp out at times for things that happened and sometimes almost made me cry. I also loved Finn. He is sexy, grumpy, silent and sexy. He is there to save Ella a couple of times but he also needs rescuing, and not just of the emotional type (I've seen that happen too often). Finn is flawed in so many ways that it's hard to not want to care for him but at the same time, you know he would kick your ass if you'd show that to him openly.
I loved how Thoma combined Norse myths with her own ideas and the end product is a strong combination of myth and fantasy realism that works really well.
I'm looking forward to the next season.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review)
I just finished reading the first season and thoroughly enjoyed it. From the moment I started I could not put this series down but read straight on through. The characters are so wonderfully fleshed out and three dimensional. The choices they make are consistent and true to who they are. Also, Ms. Thoma moves her characters along at a nice pace. For example, her main characters (Ella and Finn) don't suddenly go from not trusting one another to trusting each other in a few pages--she built up the the tension at a perfect pitch for me. I really dislike books where writers create characters who act one way on page 10 and then do an abrupt about-face on page 12. Another point is that Ella and Finn are such likeable characters...you just can't help rooting for them. And Ella is no weak, indecisive heroine but a take charge, strong willed lady. Something else I appreciate. And Finn, well I don't know how anyone could read the books and not fall in love with him. The books' co-stars are also believable and with the exception of a few not wholly good or evil--but somewhere in between. (Spoiler Alert: The love scenes are just hot and sexy enough without being pornographic.) Also, there are some four letter words but just a smattering and pretty tame by today's standards. All in all I loved this series and cannot wait for Season 2. If you love reading about norse mythology, elves, goblins, dragons and other fantastical beings I think you will love this series. Just be warned--you will be drawn into their world and may lose sleep. Thank you Ms. Thoma for such an enjoyable time. You are now on my list of favorire writers.
First thing is, I love this series. I downloaded to my Kindle and ended up reading the whole thing over the labor day weekend. I can't wait until season 2 starts up because not only do these characters become real and keep you involved but they stay with you after reading. Definitely get the box set. You will regret it if you don't after you finish the first one and don't have the next ready :) Also I like the added information by the author at the end of the set as well. I would love to see this being put into film. I have found another author to add to my favorites now. Keep them coming!
A fantastic read! For five hundred years the gate has been sealed, until now..... A magical world full of Elves, dragons, Wolves,(That is what they seem to be anyways.), are about to be unleashed on our world. Elle a dark hair beauty and lethal weapon rolled into one. She is part of a elite force that specializes in fight and killing any supernatural being that make their way through the veil. Finn a strikingly handsome mysterious guy who appears out of no where and comes to the aid of Elle when death was about to claim her. Is their meeting chance or fate? this fast pace thriller has some unique blend of action, suspense and romance along with emotional up and downs that will make your heart break as well as race.
Now in my 50s, I played D&D using paper dungeons and rolling oddly shaped dice. Fantasy stories involving halflings, elves and ogres were not as plentiful. I enjoyed the first season of Boreal and John Grey because the story is unlike any I have read, the characters stayed true to themselves and even grew (esp. Mike), and I found myself caring about what would happen to the characters and the world. I look forward to the next set of this series.
This was a great rollicking, action-packed fantasy adventure. The characters were reasonably well-drawn, the book generally well written and the plot was great. The reader could understand why Finn was so withdrawn - he had such an awful life. Ella was a great heroine - physically fit and a great fighter, but a bit of a softie on the inside.
The 'no time to sleep or cook' and 'no food in the home' scenario is not original but did fit well into this fast-paced plot. And they certainly did not have much time to rest with Gates opening all the time. The plot was well developed, with the introduction of new information being deftly timed, and the romance was nicely handled.
Had there not been numerous editing errors (which weren't too annoying), I would have given this book 5 stars - but I don't believe an imperfect book deserves a perfect score. However I would recommend this book to lovers of fantasy and will be buying the next in the series.