Larry Ivkovich's Warriors of the Light was published by IFWG Publishing in May 2016.
Information about Larry Ivkovich:
Larry Ivkovich is a former IT professional with a BFA degree in fine art from West Virginia University. He is the author of several science fiction, fantasy and horror short stories and novellas, published online and in various print publications and anthologies including M-Brane SF, Afterburn SF, Penumbra, Twisted Cat Tales, Abaculus III, Raw Terror, Triangulations, Shelter of Daylight and SQ Magazine. He has also been a finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future contest and was the 2010 recipient of the CZP/Rannu Fund Award for fiction. His debut urban fantasy novel, The Sixth Precept, is available from IFWG Publishing, Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. His fantasy novel, Blood of the Daxas, was published in 2014 by Assent Publishing. He is a member the writing/critique group, the Pittsburgh Worldrights, and lives in Coraopolis, PA with his wife Martha and cats Trixie and Milo.
Click here to visit his Twitter page.
Information about Warriors of the Light:
After returning from her time-traveling adventures in 16th Century Japan, Kim Yoshima finds adjusting to her old life isn't as easy as she thought it would be. Neither is it for her friends, Shioko Yoshima, Jackson Yamaguchi, and Wayne Brewster.
All suffer trauma of varying degrees, struggling to adapt and reconcile the past and present, and what role they now have in the world.
But, all is not well in the multiverse either. Not every mythological creature torn out of time-and-place by the Spirit Winds was sent back to its own realm. Some still exist in our world and hunger to go home.
To do so, they need Kim Yoshima's esper powers and will strive to harness them any way they can, even if it means Kim's death.
And if that isn't enough, an old enemy of Kim's makes a startling return.
A REVIEW OF LARRY IVKOVICH'S WARRIORS OF THE LIGHT
Larry Ivkovich's Warriors of the Light is the second novel in The Spirit Winds Quartet. It's an exciting and fast-paced sequel to The Sixth Precept, which was published in 2011. It's a bit different kind of urban fantasy, because the events take place in medieval Japan and modern-day world.
Warriors of the Light is a satisfying reading experience, because it's better than The Sixth Precept. Larry Ivkovich has developed quite a lot as an author since The Sixth Precept, because he now writes more confidently about the characters and their lives. When I began to read this novel, I was positively surprised by its quality and entertainment values, because I found myself fully enjoying it. It was nice to see that the author had come up with a good and exciting story that kept on building on from where the previous novel ended and brought more depth to the story arc.
Before I write more about this novel, it's good to mention that I'm difficult to please when it comes to modern urban fantasy. I try to avoid reading modern urban fantasy novels due to their poor quality and low entertainment values, because - in my opinion - way too many authors dish out half-finished novels that lack depth and originality. Avoiding depth and originality seems to have become a guideline for many urban fantasy authors and thus I consider their novels not to be worth reading. Fortunately, there are a few exceptions.
It's wonderful that Larry Ivkovich's Warriors of the Light is something different and dares to stand out among other urban fantasy novels. It's one of the few urban fantasy novels that I consider to be intriguing and worth reading, because it has a good and well-wrought story that differs from what has become the norm for most urban fantasy novels.
I like Larry Ivkovich's fresh approach to urban fantasy, because he has written a story that has plenty of mystic and mythological elements and interesting characters. He seems to have understood that in order to write a good and entertaining urban fantasy novel you must have courage to write something different and intriguing. It's nice that his story doesn't have any vampires or werewolves that fall in love with mortals, but instead has realistic characters who have various problems ranging family and relationship issues to supernatural creatures and time travel (as you can see by this, this is not your normal kind of urban fantasy).
Because Warriors of the Light is a sequel to The Sixth Precept, it is advisable to start the reading with The Sixth Precept. However, it's possible that readers may be able to enjoy this novel without reading The Sixth Precept first, but it will be slightly difficult to understand certain things and happenings if you're not familiar with the story.
Here are a few words about the story:
In the prologue, Kim Yoshima ('The Yomitsu') is a bit shaken by her adventures and experiences in medieval Japan. She suffers from a form of post-traumatic stress disorder, because she's been through a lot. Her esper powers are gone and she thinks that her body and mind can't take it. She struggles with her feelings about the whole situation... In Odawara in 1542, Chancellor Yoshida Hiroshi has argued with Midori, who is the Princess of the Jade Court. He says goodbye to his friends, Shioko and Jackson, who travel to the future world by means of the Spirit Winds. Midori sees beasts called shadow-trackers that haven't been seen or heard since the fall of the Omori... In modern day world, Wayne Brewster notices that his senses have become much sharper and almost supernatural since returning from medieval Japan. He lives with Kim, but their relationship has changed a bit since the events that took place in Odawara. As Kim and Wayne try to get on with their lives, they're being watched. There are creatures who want to consume Kim's powers to travel back to their own time and the Spider Demon is looking for the Yomitsu...
This is the beginning of a well-constructed urban fantasy story that is refreshingly different from other urban fantasy novels.
This novel has a good "Cast of Characters" section. It's nice that the author has added this section to his novel, because old fans have an opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the characters. This section is also useful to newcomers to the series who are not familiar with the characters.
I like the author's way of writing about the protagonists and secondary characters, because the characterisation is realistic and all of the protagonists come to life during the story. The author has created believable characters who have their own problems and feelings. He pays attention to what happens to them and how they fight against their enemies. Although things may be difficult for the characters and involve dealing with the supernatural, they try to survive under the threatening circumstances and do their best to cope with their feelings.
Kim Yoshima is a former detective of the Pittsburgh Police. She has given up her investigative profession. She is the inheritor of psychic powers, esper abilities. She time-traveled back to medieval Japan to fulfill an ancient prophecy and then returned to her own time.
Wayne Brewster is an IT analyst whose ambitions concerning crime fighting evolved during his trip to medieval Japan with Kim. He has crime fighting activities and does nightly patrols through the city. He believes that his dreams about the comic book hero ArcNight are linked to another reality.
Shioko Yoshima is a member of medieval Japan's Jade Court. She is revered as a conqueror of the warlord Omori in the 16th century. She now lives in modern day Pittsburgh with Kim. She doesn't like modern world very much.
Jackson Yamaguchi is a principal advisor for the Jade Court and a friend of Shioko. He is the member of a secret society, the Shuugouteki.
I was impressed by how well the author wrote about Kim's post-traumatic stress disorder, because PTSD is not often handled in urban fantasy fiction. It was interesting to read about how Kim felt about her situation and how frustrated she was. The author mentions realistically her panic attacks and mood swings, because they've been part of her life ever since she returned back to her own time.
I was also impressed by how easily the author described the relationship problems between Kim and Wayne. Their relationship has changed since the events that took place in the medieval Japan and they have to sort out their feelings towards each other. The author handles their problems in a natural and realistic way without melodramatic moments.
In the previous novel, the author wrote about Kim's slowly manifesting psychic powers. Now he writes about how Kim feels about losing her powers. The author plays nicely with the idea of what has happened to Kim's powers, because Kim notices that she may not have lost all of her powers. I won't go into details about this issue, but I'll mention that it was interesting for me to read about Kim's feelings concerning her powers.
Reading about Shioko's life and feelings was also interesting, because she didn't feel at home in the modern-day world. She hated the modern world, because medieval Odaware she had been part of something meaningful and had many beneficial things. She had felt alive, needed and respected. She had also deeply loved somebody.
One of the best things about this novel is that the author reveals what Kim's enemies feel about what's going on and how they deal with their problems. These scenes transformed the story from a typical black-and-white fantasy story to a more complex story with intriguing shades of grey.
The author creates an interesting and realistic atmosphere by telling how the characters have changed and how they feel about the sudden changes in their lives. He expertly adds tension to the story and intensifies the atmosphere by writing about how the forces that oppose Kim try to reach their goals. He also writes well about what happens to Kim's friends and how much difficulties she has with her brother and his wife, because she has been forbidden to meet her nephew.
In my opinion, Larry Ivkovich writes well about dreams in this novel. The dreams are a fascinating part of the story and they add a lot of mysterious atmopshere to it.
When I read this novel and its predecessor, I got a strong impression that Larry Ivkovich has spent a lot of time researching Japanese culture, history and mysticism, because he uses Japanese names and terms in an excellent way. I like his ways of combining ancient way of life, urban life style and mysticism, because he doesn't stumble while writing about different elements.
One of the reasons why I enjoyed reading this novel is the author's ability to write about Japanese folklore and mysticism. It's refreshing and intriguing to read about it, because not many authors write about it in their novels. Because I've always been fascinated by folklore and mythology and all things related to them, I enjoyed reading about the different demons and beasts, including the shadow-trackers.
It was intriguing to read about Jorōgumo, the Spider Demon, because she had materiliased in a modern day world that felt alien to her. She was determined to find the Yomitsu, because she had to find the one who caused her displacement in time and space. The author wrote fascinatingly about the Spider Demon's feelings, feeding habits and transformations.
I found it interesting that there's a touch of science in this novel. The author refers to the breeding program of shadow-trackers in an interesting way.
It's nice that the author writes about the various places (Pittsburgh, Odawara, Venice) in a fluent way, because the events take place at different locations. The events that take place in medieval Japan are especially interesting, because it's enjoyable to read about ancient way of life.
The author's prose is easy to like, because he keeps the story flowing and delivers surprises to his readers. He manages to keep things interesting by writing about modern-day life and supernatural elements. I enjoyed reading about the Spirit Winds and how they could transport people from the past to the future and vice versa.
I look forward to reading the third novel, Orcus Unchained, because Warriors of the Light was an enjoyable reading experience. I sincerely hope that the author will get recognition for The Spirit Winds Quartet, because he has a talent for writing good urban fantasy and knows how to captivate his readers. I give this novel strong 4.5 stars on the scale from 1 to 5 stars for its originality and entertainment values.
Just like The Sixth Precept, Warriors of the Light is a hidden treasure that awaits to be discovered by urban fantasy readers. I can recommend it to readers who enjoy reading urban fantasy novels, because it will interest many readers. If you like entertaining and fast-paced urban fantasy novels with mystic and mythological elements, please take a look at this novel, because it's something different.
My final words are:
Larry Ivkovich's Warriors of the Light is entertaining and fluently written entertainment to fans of urban fantasy!