Saturday, November 15, 2008

Review – “Dead Reign” by T.A. Pratt

As chief sorcerer of Felport, Marla Mason thought she’d faced every kind of evil the magical world had to offer. But she’s never faced a killer like this. He’s dark, glib, handsome as the devil—and exactly who he says he is. Death—in the flesh. He’s arrived in Felport with a posse composed of a half-insane necromancer and the reanimated corpse of John Wilkes Booth, and he isn’t leaving until he gets what he came for. Only Marla is crazy enough to tell Death to go back to Hell.

With the Founders’ Ball just around the bend, drawing together the brightest, meanest, and most dangerous of Felport’s magical elite, the last thing Marla needs is all-out war with the King of the Underworld, but that’s exactly what she’s got. As the battle lines are drawn, she can count on her hedonistic, body-hopping partner Rondeau…but how many of her old allies will stand by her side when facing the ultimate adversary? To save her city, Marla will have to find a way to cheat Death…literally.
Dead Reign is the third in the ongoing Marla Mason series of urban fantasies from T.A. Pratt. All Chief Sorcerer Marla Mason wants from life is to lead and protect her city of Felport. Manage the magicals, guard the normals. Until Death comes to town. At least the most recent incarnation of Death. He learns that Marla’s dagger of office is actually a magical object previously owned by one of his predecessors and he both wants and needs it for unknown purposes. He makes Marla an offer for it she can’t refuse. She refuses. Death having god-like powers and being a force of nature banishes Marla from her own city and assumes leadership. When she gives up her dagger, she can return.

Unable to return to her city, Marla decides that if Death is in her city he my have left his own domain vulnerable. It is the nature and strength of Marla’s character that she is willing to breech Hell in order to defend what is hers. Dead Reign delivers Pratt’s usual dose of phantasmagorical action and characters, but more then that it becomes a personal journey of self-discovery for Marla. In order to reach the heart of Hell Marla must confront her own personal demons and regrets as one by one she meets those dead by her hand during her fight for survival and rise to power. Very reminiscent of Scrooge and his Ghosts.

As we follow Marla’s progress, we learn a great deal about her past, her fears and her hopes, further fleshing out an already remarkable unique urban fantasy heroine. As a result of her mission, Marla also acquires some new and useful abilities, and comes to realize there may be larger plans fate has in store for her.

Dead Reign is told from several POV’s including Marla’s lieutenant Rondeau, as he steps up to the plate in Marla’s absence to create a resistance movement to counter Death’s grip on Felport. The story never flags and propels you forward to an ending with an interesting twist and promise of even more interesting things to come in Marla’s future. Perhaps the strongest of the Marla Mason books to date, I heartily recommend Dead Reign and the series as one of the more unusual and stimulating urban fantasy offerings available. Enjoyable on its own but best read in order.


Read an excerpt from Chapter 1.

Bantam Books
Published: October 2008
ISBN #: 9780553591354
Pages: 336

Marla Mason Series

  1. Blood Engines (2007)
  2. Poison Sleep (2008)
  3. Dead Reign (2008)
  4. Spell Games (April 2009)

1 comment:

  1. Lol. I'm intrigued just by the blurb description! Not sure how I've gone without hearing about this series.


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