Blood Skies tells the story of Eric Cross, a warlock seemingly out of his depth within a military squad, dedicated to protecting what is left of humanity by pursuing a traitor through a series of evil lands, each more treacherous than the last. Earth, ruined by a mysterious cataclysm known only as "The Black", comes across as a nightmarish blend of Azeroth, Middle Earth and all of those twisted places your mind goes when it's dark outside and you're all alone. The stakes are raised dramatically when Cross' younger sister, a witch named Snow, becomes involved, and the tension ratchets up to an almost unbearable level.
I'll admit, the first couple of chapters seemed a little tough going, but I liked the style of writing, so I persevered, and within a few pages I was hooked. This is a story with balls, and a story in which there is always something going on - and something to be resolved. Everything from the beginning becomes important by the end, and nothing is wasted.
What impressed me was both the vast scale of the world building on display, with lush, vivid description bringing the locations to life in all their horrific splendour, and the quality of the prose. This is a real page-turner that had me clicking like mad through the Kindle edition, genuinely worried for Cross as he stumbles further into the middle of a truly heinous plot. Montano blends his epic description with staccato action scenes that seem almost cinematic in their execution, and there's a dark poetry to the whole thing that made me deeply envious that I hadn't come up with this first.
I'd classify Blood Skies as dark fantasy, and I'll definitely be downloading the rest of the series!
You can buy Blood Skies for the Kindle, or in paperback.
Please note, I bought my copy myself, so this wasn't based on a complimentary review copy, and I'm giving him five blunt pencils out of five, not because I talk to Steven on Twitter, but because it's a damn good book.