Nothing gets me hooked faster than a fully envisioned urban fantasy world with a societal structure outside the human norm. J.P. Jackson’s soon-to-be-published novel SUMMONED has just that. SUMMONED is slated to be published on Monday, April 19th by NineStar Press and we were lucky enough to grab ourselves an ARC while we could.
SUMMONED follows the magical awakening of one Devid Khandelwal, a frankly exhausted university student who is just weeks away from graduation. Devid, Dev for short, is obsessed with the occult and the Shadow Realm. His only wish in his world is to be a part of the Shadow Realm. He has spent thousands of his hard-earned wages working for his parents on crystals, tarot cards, and the like. Dev though has had his eye on a Desire summoning board for quite some time until the start of the story when he finally has saved up enough for it. After performing the summoning spell with his best friend Cam, Dev will soon begin to realize just how in over his head he truly is when witches, werewolves, and Fae alike come a-knocking.
Add in a full cast of extremely attractive men, great worldbuilding, and well fleshed out characters and you’ve got a great M/M paranormal romance novel.
From start to finish this book delivers exactly what it promises to; a great urban fantasy story and a lot of great erotica and lust. If this is your genre, it’s definitely worth picking up. It’s an enjoyable read that after the first chapter or two is extremely well-paced to the point you could plow through about 60 pages without really noticing. Just one chapter does not happen here so I caution all to not read it before bed. In bed yes, before, not so much.
The first two chapters are a little shaky with pacing while trying to establish the main character and best friend and it would have honestly, in my opinion, been better with one last revision aimed at just those first two chapters but even without it, the rest of the book completely makes up for the slow start. Even so, the beginning like the rest of the book is an extremely easy read. The language is witty but still accessible. It read like it knew exactly the type of book it was. The explanations of the world were simple yet fascinating enough that even exhausted I did not miss any information being thrown at me. Not too common that a book can say that when it’s not the third or more book in a series.
Jackson does a great job of interweaving all the supernatural races that are introduced and present in this world. All are straight from myth but have great and interesting twists that are strictly from the mind of Jackson himself that really keeps a reader going. It’s a rich and well-thought-out world, one of the better ones I’ve come across in recent years. If you find no love for any of the characters there is still a good chance you’ll devour this book just to learn about the world of the Shadow Realm.
That being said, we should talk about the characters. From the start, each character stands solidly on their own. The interactions are extremely fluid all except for a few instances. When Dev interacts with his family, it’s a bit too much for me. I get that he’s supposed to be at the end of his rope with them for various believable reasons but as a reader and having that happen extremely early, it feels sort of sudden and over the top. Other than that though, I loved almost every character within this book but that being said, I would have liked to see a bit more of a rounded outcast. Almost every character is of the same make, an extremely attractive Bear. It works for the story but I feel like the world would have felt more whole with a few characters dropped in that weren’t of the same variety. For the characters present, no complaints, and maybe, if Jackson wanted to, he could write a sequel of sorts and explore this world in even more depth. I for one would not be angry at a sequel like that.
When it comes to the romance and erotica aspect of this book, it hits just right for those that love Bears of all kinds. For those of us who don’t share in the love of Bears, it’s still very enjoyable. Well-written consensual sex is always welcomed here. None of the sex scenes felt forced in, having just remembered that it’s supposed to also be erotica nor are there any ‘porn just for porn sake’ sort of scenes. This book is equal parts urban fantasy and erotica.
Overall, a great read and definitely worth the price of the eBook. We’d probably rate this a rounded up 4/5. Jackson, you can have your other points if you promise to write a sequel.