Rogue Hunters: The Book of Mainyu, Volume One, by John Magna

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: 2017
Reviewer Rating: four stars
Reviewer:  David L. Felts

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I had a lot of fun reading this book, although not as much fun as I suspect John Magna had writing it. He draws on his interest in mythology, specifically Norse and Geek, combined with his passion for martial arts, anime, and reading pretty much everything he can get his hands on.

As for Rogue Hunters, seems some few odd hundred years ago there was an event called the Cataclysm, which returned magic, gods, and magical beings of all sorts to the earth. The end result is a world that’s (to me) recognizable as a mixture of the old school Monster Manual, Fiend Folio, and Deities and Demigods. Great fun.

When the old gods and associated magical creatures returned, they returned with a vengeance. The earth was once again their playground, and humans their playthings. Certain magic-inclined and powerful humans had personal god sponsors, whom they served in return for special powers. The group of heros here is made of of such individuals.

Vardr is a powerful elementalist, so rarely powerful he can manipulate all five elements. He also possesses god runes, which make him even more of a threat. Claire is an excommunicated nun who’s especially skilled in casting shields and getting rid of evil spirits. Sam is a voodoo mage whose magical cigars contain a lot more than tobacco. And Abby… I’m not quite sure what she is. Not a magic user, like the rest, but probably the most powerful. Skilled in different styles of unarmed combat, stuffed to overflowing with magical chi, she’s inexperienced and naive, and the most dangerous of them all.

Seems another powerful magic user has found some pages from a forbidden tome, and is attempting to use the knowledge therein to bring back and ancient and evil god, one even older than those currently running around. One of his tools is a powerful rogue werewolf, who’s running amok. Seems rogue werewolves are incredibly powerful, and this one even more so. When Vardr and his team are charged by his god sponsors to defeat the rogue, they end up getting into a lot more trouble than they expected.

All of this is coiled around by several sub-plots. Where does Abby get her power? Who is the Ancient One who was defeated to win her freedom? Vardr’s wife sacrificed herself to save her husband, but where did her soul go? Is it held prisoner somewhere? Can Vardr find it and bring it back?

The result is face-paced story with action coming so fast and frantic that it sometimes feels as though the characters slip their leash. The result is a rollicking–if unevenly paced, adventure.

If you’re a fan of urban fantasy, and/or of wildly inventive apocalyptic fiction, and enjoy your action fast and frenetic, then Rogue Hunters is a perfect fit for you.

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