Three years have passed since magic destroyed the world.
Those who remain struggle to survive the monsters roaming the streets, fighting back with steel and magic—the very weapons that birthed the Howls in the first place.
Tenn is one such Hunter, a boy with the ability to harness the elements through ancient runes. For years, the Hunters have used this magic to keep the monsters at bay, but it’s never been enough to truly win the war. Humans are losing.
When Tenn falls prey to an incubus named Tomás and his terrifying Kin, Tenn learns there’s more to this than a fight for survival. He’s a pawn in a bigger game, one with devastating consequences. If he doesn’t play his part, it could cost him his life, his lover and his world.
Description taken from Goodreads. This book was published on October 28th, 2014 and I received an advance copy of this book via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.
I think the thing that I appreciated the most about MARTYR was how original it was. It’s a marriage of magic and a apocalyptic world, and while that’s a story that’s been told a few times, I loved how MARTYR brought such a new, fresh twist to the story. Another thing I also really enjoyed–the magic in MARTYR. There are many different levels to the magic that Kahler presents in this story, but it’s not hard to understand or disect. There are a lot of cool, different ideas that come into play here and I ended up enjoying the magic theme here a lot more than I thought I would.
Another thing that’s had some controversy in recent reviews that I’ve read is the romance between Tenn and his boyfriend. The thing is, Tenn is gay. The thing is, this isn’t a story about a main character is gay. This is a story about a boy, his magic, and his relationship–and trying to save the world in the process. Nonetheless, I didn’t enjoy the relationship.
I felt like it was forced, and mainly just that it wasn’t there. I couldn’t see it. I had gone into this book blind to the fact that Tenn is gay, and it didn’t bother me too much but I wish I had known that going in. It was also a matter of the fact that for awhile, I wasn’t sure exactly what the separate relationships were. I wasn’t sure who Tenn was, and what was going on with Jerret. While I liked both individually as characters, I couldn’t see them together.
And yeah–this is a love triangle. While I do enjoy some love triangles (i.e. books with complicated, good, well thought-out love triangles such as The Winner’s Curse), this love triangle REALLY did not work out for me.
Then there’s the plot and the writing of it all. I did love the way that MARTYR progressed, but I wished that Kahler gave the reader an idea of what was going on first and not jumped right into the story. I did love the beginning, but I thought that the lack of information made things more complicated later on in the book.
Overall, I did really like MARTYR–but it was a case of it’s me, not the book, in many aspects of the story. MARTYR was really entertaining and while I didn’t enjoy the romance, the writing, plot and magic themes worked out really well for me and I loved the premise of the book. The ending was smooth and pretty expected by the time I got there, but it was a reasonable, realistic, satisfying ending anyway. I would recommend it to fantasy/magic lovers, apocalyptic world lovers and LGBT advocates who want to see a different take on LGBT main characters. 3 stars.
pg count for the paperback: 384