Picking up where Blood Creek Witch ends, Blood Creek Beast begins. Jenny and Jack are in the Around the Bend while Jessabelle is here. There is danger on both sides of the crossroads. Jack and Jessabelle face off against their own dangers while Jenny stays with Grandma Annie.
I received an advanced reader copy of Blood Creek Beast for review purposes.
In Blood Creek Witch Jay Barnson gave us the story of Jenny and how her family heritage was of being a witch and how they had taken on the task of protecting a crossroads between our world and another. In Blood Creek Beast Jay continues the story with Jack who is in the Around the Bend and Jessabelle who is still in our world.
Jack leaves the witches who are protecting the crossroads and ends up on an adventure to protect a local town from bandits. His oath of never lying is tested and he finds that to accomplish a task to save his life he must deceive another. He is torn about what he must do. The results put him into even greater danger than he was before and eventually leads to a civil war, and new rewards for himself.
Jessabelle is lost without her friends and relatives. She is doing her best to stay out of danger when she finds out the Coven knows who she is in a very hard way. They attempt to recruit her by taking her captive. But Jessabelle understands she is a prisoner one way or another. With the help of a new family friend she is able to escape the Coven. However, they are not willing to just let her go. The chase is on and she locates another crossroads where she can warn the people living around the bend about the dangers of the Coven.
Blood Creek Beast continues in the same style, hitting against the upper edge of young adult fantasy. There are some dark points, but there are no graphic scenes of the violence. The emphasis of the violent conflicts that take place demonstrate the power of intelligence over those who choose violence as their mode of conduct. There are other moral values built into the story.
The lead characters are in their later teen years and are presented with situations causing them to contemplate their moral standards when dealing with members of the opposite sex. When these issues arise they return to their values and consider their age and the appropriate response and activity to the activity. None of this is done in an overt, hit you in the head, manner. It is done within the context of the characters and is presented in a competent and tasteful way.
Blood Creek Beast is an excellent follow-up to Blood Creek Witch.
The story drives forward using a different point of view. The change in where we are getting the story from provides a greater depth and breadth of the world Jay Barnson has created without slowing the story.
I enjoyed getting to know the character of Blood Creek Beast. The leads in this volume are different than the first book and the difference is well presented without being overly done to be mocking or condescending to the old or new characters.
The pacing kept me engaged and I quickly went through the roughly 250 pages. The story has a solid ending for the tale being told here with a strong cliffhanger that has left me with anticipation for book 3 of the series.
I give Blood Creek Beast 5 out of 5.
The Author (from the book)
Jay Barnson is an award-winning writer, software engineer, and an award-winning video game developer. He has written for The Escapist and Cirsova magazines, and has been published in numerous anthologies, most recently Altered States II: A Cyberpunk Anthology. He is the first place winner in the 2016 DragonComet award. A transplant to Utah, Jay was born in the hills of West Virginia, and uses the word "ya'll" by choice, not by habit.