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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Imperium by Nicholas Olivo w/ Bonus review of Krampusnacht (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Order “ImperiumHERE
Read Chapter One HERE

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Nicholas Olivo hails from the greater Boston area and has spent most of his life in the American North East. Besotted with the local legends as well as mythology, he conspired to write his own series after being smitten by Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. Imperium is his first novel.

BOOK BLURB: Vincent Corinthos leads a triple life. As a secret agent, he handles paranormal threats; as a god, he protects his followers from evil forces; as a stock clerk, he keeps the back room of an antique store tidy.

When one of his fellow agents goes missing, Vincent begins with the usual suspects. His investigation takes him to vampire lairs, golem laboratories, and the realm of the fae. Along the way he squares off against genetically modified gremlins, virus-spawned zombies and a horseman of the Apocalypse.

Now, with the aid of a new partner and a gremlin, Vincent must locate the missing agent, defend his followers and learn the identity of his adversaries. But it’s only when he infiltrates a private medical lab that he realizes just how big of a threat he’s facing, and even being a god might not be enough of an edge…

FORMAT/INFO: Imperium is 338 pages long divided over twenty-five numbered chapters. Narration is in the first-person, exclusively via Vincent Corinthos. Imperium is self-contained, but is the first volume of the Caulborn series. June 30, 2011 marked the North American paperback & e-book publication of Imperium by the author himself.

ANALYSIS: I was clueless about the book when it was released; however my ignorance was rectified by Bastard. He told me about the book and the blurb hooked me in, I also read the chapter excerpt which ends on quite a pivotal point to grab the reader’s interest. The book is an urban fantasy however it has much more in store for the reader.

The book begins with Vincent Corinthos saving his people the Urisk from an attack by the Hobgoblins and Trolls. He basks in the Urisk’s faith and is able to easily repeal the attack and make his way back to Boston. He’s a mild mannered person who works in an antique store called Antiquated Treasures. He’s also the part of a secret organization called the Caulborns and who regularly keep the streets of Boston and the neighboring areas safe from supernatural threats. Things however haven’t been going smoothly as someone seems to be hunting the paranormals and one of the missing is Miguel Gomez, Vincent’s friend and comrade Caulborn. He is then paired up with a new Caulborn agent called Megan Hayes. Together they set out to find out what is indeed happening on the streets of Boston and why are the Urisk being regularly attacked all of a sudden.

Thus with such an upheaval occurring in a very short period of time, it will be up to Vincent and his fellow caulborn agents to save the various worlds and also try to find out who is behind it all. The plot revealed so far is only one-tenth of the entirety of events and the beauty of it all is that the author has many tricks up his sleeve. The story begins from a standpoint wherein few details are revealed and the reader is just dropped into the action and then info-fed as per the requirement of the scene and plot twists. The list of characters introduced in this book is a slightly long one and a couple of them quickly became very endearing. Chiefly the gremlin Gears with his fondness for things of a mechanical nature and high calorie foods, Gears is a character who I very much liked reading about and I hope the author increases his role in the future books. The remaining characters such as Megan, Petra, Galahad etc are given enigmatic entries and while feeding the reader some information about them, more is withheld tantalizingly to make the future stories more mysterious. The action and pace of the story is of top quality and is a major positive for the book as the author has multiple twists lined up in the story and thus with them popping up one after the another, the reader isn't given much time to figure them out completely before the next one surprises the reader.

The book while having all these plus points has a rather funny drawback, the book is of a shorter length and while this adds to the compactness of the story, it also robs it of its depth. The book has a lot of things revealed in it however the author doesn’t necessarily explain wholly or completely. This certainly takes some of the sheen of the classy parts; I think that the author purposefully introduced them to lay the groundwork for the future books. The author also has never quite properly explained the mythology of the world and while it has shades of the Greek & Roman mythos, it also has the author’s own variations. A bit more explanation would have certainly helped to deepen the overall world.

CONCLUSION: A surprising and rather clever urban fantasy which manages to combine the commonalities of the sub genre along with certain authorial additions to give the readers a rather fresh take in this rather crowded literary environment. Heartily recommended for urban fantasy fans as well as a thriller readers, Nicholas Olivo is a an intelligent author and it certainly shows in his debut and from here I hope he goes onto to better the deficiencies and improve his craft to give the readers some enthralling tales.

Order “KrampusnachtHERE

OVERVIEW: Krampusnacht is a short story collection featuring three stories, here’s a brief description of all of them:

(1) Krampusnacht - Santa’s been kidnapped by his demonic ex-partner, Krampus! Can Gearstripper the gremlin and Jake the security guard free St. Nick in time for Christmas?

(2) Pause - Time’s been frozen on Christmas Eve and two Chroniclers are dispatched to investigate. Find out what happens when they encounter someone dressed as super-hero Commander Courageous!

(3) Fulfillment - A mysterious figure known as Stranger Wolfram prepares to summon a creature from the pits of Hell on Christmas Eve. Will fortune teller Mrs. Rita stop him?

The short story collection has a curious pattern to it, the three stories are sequential however they go the reverse direction timeline wise, that is the second tale is a prequel to the first and the third the prequel to the second. This curious arrangement makes a lot of sense while reading the stories and it would be unfair for me to reveal more about it.

The short focus on the side character cast and this is a welcome move as we get to know more about them as well understand the world lucidly. The stories focus upon Gears, Jake and Mrs. Rita and a few other entities, these stories serve a dual purpose of giving these characters more face time as well as introducing the cooler aspects of the story universe to the reader with an intent to explore them further in the future books. Just a reminder, one should read this book preferably after reading Imperium as it will make more sense. The world of the Caulborn is an exciting one and the author is doing his best to entice the readers completely.


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