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February 4, 2013 / minusbar

Book Review: No Return, by Zachary Jernigan

Book Review: “No Return” by Zachary Jernigan


First, let me specify that this is a novel for adult readers!  Okay, now that we all have our big boy pants on the reviewing shall commence!  Zachary has created a dark and gritty fantasy world that will tickle Sci-Fi and Fantasy fans alike!

On Jeroun, there is no question as to whether God exists–only what his intentions are.

Under the looming judgment of Adrash and his ultimate weapon–a string of spinning spheres beside the moon known as The Needle–warring factions of white and black suits prove their opposition to the orbiting god with the great fighting tournament of Danoor, on the far side of Jeroun’s only inhabitable continent.

From the Thirteenth Order of Black Suits comes Vedas, a young master of martial arts, laden with guilt over the death of one of his students. Traveling with him are Churls, a warrior woman and mercenary haunted by the ghost of her daughter, and Berun, a constructed man made of modular spheres possessed by the foul spirit of his creator. Together they must brave their own demons, as well as thieves, mages, beasts, dearth, and hardship on the perilous road to Danoor, and the bloody sectarian battle that is sure to follow.

On the other side of the world, unbeknownst to the travelers, Ebn and Pol of the Royal Outbound Mages (astronauts using Alchemical magic to achieve space flight) have formed a plan to appease Adrash and bring peace to the planet. But Ebn and Pol each have their own clandestine agendas–which may call down the wrath of the very god they hope to woo.

The books premise is refreshingly unique. The two warring factions, the Adrashi and the Anadrashi, garb their champions in suits that enhance the abilities of their wearers. They then partake in battles to prove the superiority of their ideologies. However, the flaws of these teachings become evident to the protagonist, Vedas. We are then able to watch him as he grows from a mere drone to his cause into a fully fleshed out free thinking person.

The development of the characters was amazing! Their thoughts are made accessible throughout the book. I greatly enjoyed getting to not only view their growth, but to experience it with them as it formulated from within. This allowed me to easily invest into the characters and care for them on their journey across Jeroun.

In my opinion, this novel is more of a philosophical treat than a gladiatorial-style action story. However, the story still possessed more than enough brutal fights to remind me that Jeroun was a dangerous and enjoyable world to explore. The combat is handled marvelously, embracing quick bone crushing brutality rather than drawn out action sequences that seem to go nowhere. Often times in books I find fights scenes are unnecessarily prolonged. Zachary opts instead to show a more realistic approach in the pacing of fights that I came to appreciate.

The only part of this book that I struggled to get through was the highly sexualized nature of many of the characters within this world. The scenes are written well and at times are necessary for the development of a character, but I found the sheer number of scenes portraying their perverse nature to be jarring from the overall story narrative. This was hardly a deal breaker; it just seemed unneeded at times.

Overall, this is a great read! It was evident the book left a significant impression on me as I found myself wanting to discuss it with people in my workplace but unable to for fear of spoiling, and there’s a special place in hell for those who spoil a good book. The world is impressively full and rich with color and texture. The steady pacing made it read smoothly. Lastly, the ending left me satisfied yet also longing for the stories continuation. I’ll be impatiently waiting for book two.

“No Return” is available for preorder at Amazon now. This title releases everywhere on March 5th, 2013.

This book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.


Roger Bellini


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