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Monday, December 09, 2013

Realm Walker by Kathleen Collins

We hosted Kathleen Collins as part of our "When I'm not writing" feature back in October and I've finally had a chance to dive into her debut novel, REALM WALKER. Boy, was it good!

REALM WALKER introduces us to Juliana Norris, a half-dark fae, half-mage Walker, an Altered employed by the Agency to police the Altered population. Juliana has a special gift -- the ability to see the powers of the Altered -- which makes her uniquely suited to hunting misbehaving folks down. The book opens with her hunting a troll and the stakes just rise higher and higher from there. Juliana's abilities are different from the ones we usually see in urban fantasy so it was refreshing to see what she could do. She's special because of her mixed heritage but she's also special because she's done great stuff with her abilities, and made a life for herself apart from the coven that raised her.

In addition to hiding parts of her heritage, Juliana is also hiding the fact that she is United to Thomas Kendrick, the vampire who took her in. (There are a lot of words with capital letters but bear with me.) She fell in love with him and they are joined but we don't really know what it means, other than the fact that it boosts their powers and it puts her in danger because she's now a tool that people can use against Thomas. It's one of those super old vampires with 20-something young thing relationships but it doesn't read like he's taking advantage of her, which is nice. There's a strong mutual attraction and Juliana and Thomas compliment each other well. She's tough and fiery and doesn't back down, which are qualities you seem to need when you're being romanced by someone who's ten times your age. ;) Few people know they're United, though, so she's relatively safe. At least from Thomas' enemies. With demons who know her name on the loose, Juliana's is definitely not all cake and flowers.

As you can see, there are a lot of layers to Juliana. It makes her a great character and I'm really curious to learn more about her. We do get some answers but I really want to know her better. Her determination really drives REALM WALKER forward and it's quite an interesting journey. There are nice action sequences, some standard but well-written mythology, and good characters. Juliana's friends are well developed and I look forward to seeing more of them. In fact, the whole cast is quite fun and I'm pleased that this is the first book in a series.

If you're looking for new urban fantasy authors to try, I'd definitely suggest Collins' debut novel. REALM WALKER is a lot of fun and the pages fly by. You'll be begging for the next one before you know it!

Read an excerpt

Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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