Here we have the first of what will be a long line of reviews: The Janus Elixir, by Kyle Robert Shultz. Let’s get started, shall we?
Considering I actually read it the first time around in the Hound of Duville and Other Stories, here’s my first reaction to the ending:
Then, since I had gotten it on its own as well, I added it to my GR shelf, and this is what I said while I was reading it for the second time:
Actually reading this for the second time. WHAT IS UP WITH THAT ENDING??? KYLE YOU CAN’T JUST LEAVE CLIFFHANGERS LYING AROUND. SOMEONE’S LIABLE TO TRIP OVER THEM AND OBSESS OVER IT UNTIL THEY GET ANSWERS.
And this is my review after finishing it the second time around:
So, in this book, we have:
MALCOLM. Malcolm Blackfire is a dragon who can shape-shift into a human and he’s also an archaeologist. He’s sarcastic, gruff, has a heart of gold (Pun intended? Pun not intended?) and I’m pretty sure he’s also got a protective mode built into him by instinct because no matter how many times he gets annoyed with humans, he still cares about them in his own, Malcolm-y way. He just won’t admit it. Not out loud, at least.
Melody Nightingale. Aside from how pretty that name is, she’s a former jewel thief with a mysterious past who works as Malcolm’s assistant. BUT THAT QUIP BY HADES. LIKE, WHAT? AND THE CLIFFHANGER. I NEED MORE INFORMATION!!!
James. James is a precious cinnamon roll who helps Malcolm and Melody out, but given he might end up being who I think he’ll end up being, I’ll just leave it at that for now.
The Afterverse version of Hades. Yes, that Hades. Greek god of the dead, husband to Persephone, has a three-headed dog named Cerberus? He’s just…so done with Malcolm’s shenanigans. 😆
The Afterverse version of Anubis. Yes, that Anubis. Egyptian god of the dead. He’s definitely not sweet and cuddly like Hades. But he has a library, so he’s not too bad.
(I do believe I should take an interlude here to explain that they’re not actually gods in here, they’re just really powerful beings who live a long time and can die. Basically, like the Asgardians in the Marvel Cinematic Universe)
The Afterverse version of Victor Frankenstein. A bit kooky in the head.
The Afterverse version of Dr. Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde. I’m not saying anything more than that.
Humor. The humor is a dry, sarcastic, witty kind of humor, and it suits Malcolm perfectly.
Fantasy. To be more specific, this is in a parallel world called the Afterverse, where mythical, legendary, classical, and fairytale characters are real, and their stories are the history of that world. Plus, they’re totally flipped on their heads and twisted up into each other so they’re really NOT like the stories we know.
Noooo, the Afterverse is different. The Afterverse works like the Afterverse. It gives you feels. It throws plot twists that were so cleverly hidden, you don’t even notice them until you re-read the story. It leaves you with cliffhangers that frustrate you but in a good way – they leave you with WANTING more.
They also leave you with screeching KYLE at the top of your inward lungs.
Anyway…I really enjoyed this book. The message about everyone having worth really does hit home when you think about the way some humans treat other humans with callous disregard because of X, Y, or Z.
Now, I would divulge more, but I think I’ve said plenty already. If I say anything more, I might spoil it. Can’t have that happen or else the rabbit will come after me. 😬
So, for now, I shall keep my lips 🤐 .
Content: No swearing, no sex, two kisses that aren’t detailed, and some violence, but nothing too graphic.
Tell me your thoughts below! Have you ever read the Afterverse books? (If you have, we must gush about it) If not, do they sound like something you would read?