Three lovers who stalk and kill the immortals that drift through South Florida (tourists are a moveable feast, after all) are living a simple life of leisure- until one of them is nearly killed by a woman who is a new kind of lethal. When Ring Hardigan isn't making sandwiches for, and with, his two partners, Waleska and Risa (they're cool like that), he's got a busy schedule doing the dirty work of sending immortals to the ever after. Wally and Risa provide linguistics, logistics, and finding the right place for him and his knife - together, they're a well-oiled machine, and they've settled into a rhythm that bodes ill for the Undying. Warlocks, vampires, succubae and the odd ghoul have all fallen to their teamwork. Life is tough, but they soldier on killing the undead, liberating their worldly goods for charity, and generally achieving very little.
Until Ring wakes up after nearly dying at the hands of a woman who may or may not be the daughter of Satan. Ring's a tough character, for a boat bum (killing immortals sort of rubs off on you that way), but twelve days of comatose healing are enough to bring out the ugly side of his temper. When a letter arrives asking for their help finding a large collection of stolen heirloom jewelry, they form an uneasy friendship with the last Baron of a family hiding in a primal European forest. Cazimir, the Baron, has two skills: Jeweler and preserver of the last herd of forest bulls. It's an odd occupation, but then, Ring, Risa and Wally aren't your everyday career folks, and Cazimir's lodge might be sitting on something that looks a lot like hell, which, according to a 2400 year old succubus hooker named Delphine, is currently on the market to the strongest immortal. The Baron's impassioned plea to find the jewelry comes with some conditions-- he doesn't want the collection back as much as he does the thief, Elizabeth, who happens to be his daughter-- and the woman who nearly sent Ring to his grave. In a tapestry of lies, it's up to Ring, Wally and Risa to find out what is evil, who is human, and who really wants to reign over hell.
©2015 Terry Maggert (P)2013 Terry Maggert
A well-crafted supernatural fantasy with impressive use of language and imagination.
I haven’t read much fantasy since my teens for some reason, but I will be rectifying that now and will definitely delve into more of Terry Maggert’s fantasies!
It's not easy to find a conceptually new set of hero's but Terry Maggert has created a gem of a team. A team you wish to be involved with be it beating horrors or their unique home life.
The story kept my interest throughout and although I was happy at its finale, I was left wanting more. Narrated by Rebecca Cook the story came alive in its horror, sexualisation manner. Superb and well worth the journey.
"No bull here: well written urban fantasy"
I didn't know what to expect when I started this book. It seemed from the write up that it would have a very heavy supernatural bend to it. It does, but it doesn't at the same time. Hard to explain, but the world, the characters, and their motivations and behaviours do not feel supernatural, even if their existence is (this is a good thing, by the way). The "bad guys" are varied and supernatural in nature, but their actions are realistic, and how they are dealt with is believable.
The background/history of the characters and the world and how they got to where they are was really well-doled out/paced. We aren't subjected to lectures or long histories, but little snapshots of the past just in time to stretch out some suspense or fill a gap. There is a fairly consistent sense of humour throughout which actually comes across quite well as it fleshes out the main character, and certainly makes him more likeable.
There is an oddly placed fairly detailed erotic scene as we get close to the end of the novel. Not sure why this scene was so far into the story, nor why it was so detailed when other similar scenes were more cursory in nature. It was a well-done scene, just so much more detailed than other scenes that it felt more like it was fulfilling a specific requirement for X pages of erotica, instead of progressing the story.
I think the story ended at a logical point, but it isn't really resolved... and it doesn't feel like justice was properly served (but, then again, there wasn't a huge 'wrong' to be righted here, just a general sense that immortals are bad and should be removed). It seems clear that there are more books planned for this series; I would certainly read them.
When I first started the book, I thought the choice of a female narrator was a bit odd since the main character is male. That being said, however, she does an excellent job, and you can tell each of the characters apart easily; no exaggeration... she really does a terrific job, but it was still a bit odd when the narrator made a reference to being male (particularly in reference to sexual activities).
There are some sex scenes, but they are not particularly graphic. There is some non-graphic violence and I don't recall any foul language.
The Forest Bull is the story of a group of immortal hunters in a world where many of these immortals are the creatures of nightmare, preying on the innocent, unless stopped. From various walks of life, people have risen up that have chosen to hunt those of these creatures, and like in the TV series Supernatural (a favorite of mine) there is a loose affiliation of these hunters.
Just a note on the audiobook version - the book itself is written from the first person of a male, but the narrator is female. This is a bit disorienting at the start, as when the story starts, you haven't been introduced to the narrator, so initially may draw the assumption that the character is female, but be advised, it isn't. I haven't come across this setup before (female narrator of a first person male story).
On the narration however, Rebecca Cook is fantastic, and does a great job on all the voices, male and female. Initially when I was listening, I thought the book was narrated by Katey Sagal, and prompted myself to check, Needless to say I'd recommend her narration to anyone, and will definitely be looking for more books narrated by her.
Another note on the story, the summary describes the trio of hunters as "Three lovers". This is accurate, but in all honesty was a little off-putting to my male preconceptions. When I see the term "lovers" in the book summary I immediately think of books that usually feature unarmed, topless, buff, beefcake dudes on the cover (as opposed to the Conan-type books with armed, topless, buff, beefcake dudes on the cover). Anyhow, yes they are lovers, but any of you males like myself who may think, 'oh gee, this is going to be full of steamy romance etc", be advised that this is not the case. Yes there is some adult material, but not too much, and actually not between the "lovers".
All these notes out of the way, what did I think of the story? Loved it. Every so often I read a book that doesn't seem to be treading the same safe territory with concepts and mythology, and manages to inject a lot of new slants to things, and you feel like you have someone describing a unique vision of a world. It is a great feeling when you come across one of these. I felt this book met that in spades. The characters are well written, and a lot of the interplay between them is fantastic. I also like that the "baddies" weren't really one dimensional, or "demonised" for want of a better term, and everything was a straight black and white. It isn't like a lot of books where the author makes you hate them, and then perpetually drags out their existence and tormenting of people in the book to the point where you want them to just get it over. They are all dealt with fairly, and quickly. And in at least one case for me, you may actually start to like them.
"A great paranormal book"
This was one great book. A paranormal thriller, The Forest Bull is a unique and intriguing tale of the fight against evil. Like vampires, zombies, werewolves, etc? Terry Maggert delivers something fresh to close your closet door against before you go to bed. Quick pace, but enough back story to really flesh out the characters, distinct voices for each of them, incredible plot, and the creepy but alluring antagonists will keep you coming back for more . I had a great time listening to the audio.
I thoroughly enjoyed the audio of this novel. I haven't read the print version but enjoyed being able to indulge in a good storyline whilst going about my day.
I loved the character development, especially that of the three lovers. The author shows real insight in being able to write so skilfully from the minds of both men and women.
She was a great choice for the reading. I loved her accent changes for the different characters and her pronunciation of quite difficult European words.
I was absolutely horrified by the description of the predatory wasps. It was so well done that even though it was awful to contemplate, I couldn't stop listening. I felt as though the author portrays vulnerability exceptionally well.
I listened to an audio version of this novel and found it very hard to switch off. I felt as though I was dropped instantly into the action, scrambling to keep up with the strong male patriarch of the strange little family, as he went about his killing occupation. It was gripping and at times, so graphically explained that it felt real and made me fearful of actual monsters disguised as humans, who could potentially jump out at me. I was powerless to second guess the plot or the direction of the storyline, led like a lamb to the slaughter at every turn, forced to go around corners where surprises would jump out at me without warning. The descriptive elements are so strong that the reader is there, in the centre of the action, smelling the aromas, hearing the sounds and experiencing everything that the writer is conveying. It’s a masterpiece which utterly took me by surprise, not because I wasn’t expecting it, because a reader always hopes, but because it wouldn’t be out of place on a lofty shelf with Edgar Allan Poe. I felt desperate when I got to the end of the novel, because it isn’t completely resolved and I will have to buy the next one. If I could give it ten stars, I most certainly would!
"A unique and engaging read."
The summary above pretty much explains it all so I'll get right to my thoughts!
This was such a great read. A mean a guy who has 2 lovers and hunt monsters together sounds weird right, but it works. Ring has such a great relationship with both girls, who in turn have a great relationship with each other that it works really well.
Character wise, Ring is an ex soldier turned monster hunter so you can immediately see that he is awesome. I'd quake in my boots if I knew he was coming after me!! He was strong, smart, tough and an all round worthy hero.
His 2 companions, Wally and Risa, are equally as tough and terrifying as him. They both are kick ass which always helps! I love reading a good strong female lead and here we have 2.
The world building in the book is well developed. We see it unravel slowly throughout. I loved the lore behind the immortals. I loved seeing the tidbits of their history and finding out about them.
The plot was fast paced and engaging. The Baron was intriguing, as was his story. The different creatures were well written and creative and I loved the variety of them.
So in all a well written and developed tale. It was engrossing and exciting and I can't wait to read more of the series.
The audio was awesome. Rebecca did a great job with each character and she was easy to listen to. I will definitely check out the rest of the books in audio format.
*I received a copy of this from AudioBookBlast for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*
"The Forest Bull"
3.5 Stars - Audio provided by author for an honest review
This one is not easy to review. Initially I did not care for the narration but the voice grew on me. I really liked the take on “immortals” and I thought the story was well told. I think what makes this difficult for me to review is while it was a well told story, it took me over two weeks to finish the audio. For me the story was a bit slow, it was not an “I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens” listen.. I really liked Risa and Wally….Ring had his moments but I did not really care for him as a character.
So all in all not bad, but it will be a bit before I try the next book in the series.
"Great start to a series"
The actor was able to make each character distintictive...and there were a LOT of characters!
Not a book, but it reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Group effort on mist tasks, but unlike Buffy, all three members had otherworldly fighting skills.
Risa, because the female voices were easier on the ears. Had the actor been male, definitely Ring.
Living and fighting the world's baddies together!
Definite change of pace from my usual romance reading, but quite enjoyable nonetheless.
The beginning of this story grabs you and pulls you in. It's refreshing to have a male urban fantasy hero that's in a stable, if unconventional, relationship. The supernaturals in this story are bad and unredeemed and Ring dispatches them with no remorse. His coworkers and partners, Risa and Wally, bring individual talents, strengths, and reasons for pursuing this calling to the team. The characters are well built, believable and the plot is riveting.
The story is told from Ring's point of view. The close relationship between the three protagonists Ring, Risa and Wally allows for a well rounded, fully developed modern alpha male that really is a joy to 'read'. The action and lineup of bad guys (and girls) are non stop.
The performance of the Narrator was impressive. I tend not to like female voices, the high pitch begins to grate after a while, but this female voice was a firm alto and she handled the male portions of the story very well. Loved her.
"Great narration, great story!"
I haven't read the print version so I cannot compare the two but I thought the narrator did a really great job of fleshing out each character and staying true to the various accents.
Ring was probably my fave, though I really enjoyed the interaction between him and Wally and Lisa. It was interesting to see how their relationship progressed with the story.
This genre is not usually my go-to thing, but I found myself drawn in anyway. There are definitely paranormal/fantasy elements with immortals and different various type of other creatures but the story is done well enough that even if they're not your thing, it is still very interesting.
I thought this was a really well written book. The characters were well developed and the narrator did a great job. I would recommend it definitely if you are into this genre!
"misogynistic wish fufillment fantasy"
I really enjoyed the beginning of this book. The unusual immortals, a polyamorous couple that seemed like a healthy relationship, and a talented narrator. Halfway through, I was left with a talented narrator and a whole pile of tedious misogynistic male wish fufillment. Ring, the main character is handsome, rich from the gains of the immortals they've killed (oh, but it's okay because they donate a lot of it to charity), wins every fight with immortals due to his magical fishing knife, has emotional ties to his "girls" and the Thai family down the street, and gets to be in charge all the time. He gets to sleep with mortal and immortal women outside the relationship without consequence, and they even have a friend that runs a strip club that they all love to hang out at. The plot of the book where they hunt immortals is interesting but then dissolved into a non-sensical progression of logic leaps, unexplained progression, and detailed sexual description (because all females are sexual slaves or predators, apparently). Ring triumphs (or does he?) but I found I didn't care because he annoyed me so much by the end. The mythology of the immortals in this book is unclear. Maybe this is the male version of all the oversexed female lead paranormal romance on the market?
I hope the narrator gets the chance to read a higher quality book next time.
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