July 9, 2024

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Throwback Thursday/Nostalgia Update: Venators: Magic Unleashed (Venators #1)

Intrigued by yesterday's cover reveal of Venators: Legends Rise, yesterday, but new to the series? I've got you covered! Today's Throwback Thursday features a nostalgic look back on last year's reread/review of Magic Unleashed, book one in the Venators series by Devri Walls.

My Introduction To The Venators Series

When I originally read the first book in the Venators Series, Magic Unleashed, Devri Walls, I lived walking distance from the Gateway Arch. It was one of the things that drew me to it. Being new to the genre, I didn’t realize there was a long list of Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Dystopian books and tv shows set in St. Louis. By the time the second book, Promises Forged was released (the weekend Endgame came out, no less) I was living right next door to the Arch. That brought a whole new level to everything.

Rereading the series in anticipation of the Ultimate Blog Tour with The Write Reads and yesterday’s cover reveal for Venators: Legends Rise (Book #3), having left St. Louis has not changed my enchantment and investment of this series as the spring brings the next installment to life.

Venator Series

What I do know now, is how cleverly the Arch is utilized in the Venators series. The Arch is quite As a literal gateway between two worlds, ours and Eon, where there is no shortage of vampires, werewolves, faires, dragons, witches, wizards and, or a combination of them. Rarely do you see all of them in one book. Eon is filled to the brim with this variety, detailed and each distinct in its nature, and never once does Walls leave you with a sense of being overwhelmed or confused.

Rune and Ryker are twins and grew up as close as twins are apt to do until an inexplicable event sent Ryker down a very dark and distant path, away from everyone around him. While Rune also felt a shift in herself, it never fully materialized, and that darkness never brewed in her core like Ryker, and so rather than speak to it, she became his protector, instead. she never fully let come to the surface or spoke out loud to anyone.

Unbeknownst to them, this event coincided with the drastic change of an outcast classmate that was often bullied. Like Rune and to a much greater extent Ryker, Grey began withdrawing within himself, obsessing over the supernatural and occult.

The Portal To Eon

Fast-forward six years. Rune finds herself drawn to Grey for reasons she can’t fathom. As she comes to trust him, the mounting pressure of protecting Ryker, the growing unknown within herself from the past six years and the need to confide it all to someone finally begins cracking her facade.

Just as she starts to tell Grey everything they are attacked by otherworldly creatures and saved by a man unknown to Rune, but very much known to Grey. Forced to flee with him through the Arch and to Eon, Rune does something she has never done before. She has to leave Ryker behind. Worse, he is kidnapped by minions of Zio (think mother of dragons if she could conduct magic and really was like her father, the mad king) – now that we know how Game of Thrones End- think Mother of Dragons- and brought through the Arch, but to a completely different part of Eon.

Goodbye Earth, Hello Eon… And Oh Yeah– About That Venator Thing…

Once Grey and Rune are safely on the other side of the Arch, in Eon, Tate (their rescuer) explain that they are Venators, (latin for hunters). They are born with physical prowess comparable to a superhero, are protected from most otherworldly attacks (vampires, werewolves etc…), heal quickly and have heightened awareness.

Once Venators were were numerous and helped guard the world until they decided to attempt genocide by wiping out all non-humans. Now, generations later Rune and Grey are hand picked. They are charged to restore the balance, maintain the laws and keep the peace between all races, and cultures in Eon.

Secret Agendas, Politics And Intrigue… OH! MY!

Not so fast, Venators. Eon’s council, composed of a leader from each culture, have hidden agendas and secrets. They don’t play well with each other, or others. More than willing to tell the tales of others, Tate conveniently leaves out his own agenda.

Truth is that on Eon? EVERYONE has secrets, agendas and political motives. Some are good, some are bad and some change from moment-to-moment. But like in life, what any Venator needs to know is that all they can control is themselves. If they know where they stand, they can decide the truths they will fight for and that keep anyone from being able to manipulate them… shouldn’t it?

Chess Games Of Truths, Lies, Enemies And… More Enemies

Beltran, a shapeshifter puts it quite well when talking to Grey at one point.

People will tell you terrible lies, but they’ll tell you even more terrible truths… Truth can cause you to give up or bend to another’s will. Sometimes truths are shared as a deliberate attempt to manipulate you.

I’m very good at a great deal of things. Manipulation is one of them.
You decide who you are. You decide what’s right. And you decide where you stand. Stop trying to pick a side… everyone you meet will try to get you on theirs. You must stand where you are, on your side, and decide just how exactly you are going to change this world.

This is basically a summary of everyone Rune and Grey meet in Eon. Even honest to goodness sage advice can’t always be trusted. Because the person who is giving it? Even as sound advice as it might be? In the context of the situation, might be just another tactic of manipulation.

Hell. Maybe Rune and Grey aren’t even telling each other the whole truth. If they even know what that is anymore.

Choose Your Side And Hold Your Ground

From the mysterious council members to the villains, to characters that stand on gray moral ground, and those expected to be heroes? We get just enough information to want more but not enough to really know where any character truly stands.

To be honest, I don’t know if some of the characters even know where they stand half the time. And in Eon? That is a very dangerous thing.

And that isn’t because Walls doesn’t know her characters, or isn’t giving them their voice. It is quite the opposite. She knows them, the world and the complexity of the world she has built, to know how tempting rabbit holes can be, and how quickly you can get tangled in something that was over your head from the start.

Oh. Ryker? Sorry about that. He is still trapped with Zio. Rune will do anything to get her brother back. What that means for the Venators, and everyone around them in Venators: Promises Forged, is anyone’s guess. But with Ryker within her grips… whatever it is? Sure as hell won’t simplify anything.

Updated Disclaimer: 

When I first read Venators: Magic Unleashed, I had checked it out from the Library. I received an ARC of Promises Forged (Venators Series: Book #2) from Brown Books. I later chose to buy both books on my own. 


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