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Review: Runes of Fall – A.K. Faulkner

Runes of Fall - AK Faulkner

Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Superhero

LGBTQ+ Category: Ace, Bi, Demi, Lesbian, Non-Binary

Reviewer: Ulysses, Paranormal Romance Guild

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About The Book

No storm bows to reason.

Quentin’s trip to the desert with his chosen family is supposed to be two days of testing the limits of their powers. Instead, a violent storm looms on the horizon, and nothing will alter its course.

The storm has a name: Nate Anderson. Demigod, supremacist, leader of a neo-Nazi Übermensch cabal… and father to Quentin’s latest ward, Mel. He means to take her home, and won’t let a ragtag group of “inferior” psychics get in his way.

Besieged and outgunned, Quentin is trapped in a no-win scenario. No matter which way he turns, one fateful night will change him forever.

The Review

While it’s awkward to drop into the middle of a series, it’s also telling, a good test of the author’s ability to engage their readers regardless of how much backstory they know. “Runes of Fall” is in fact part four of the second season of the Inheritance series, which centers of the evolving relationship between two more-than-human people, Laurence Riley, and Quentin d’Arcy (neither of whose surnames actually appear in book 9).

Laurence, with powers of pre-cognition, magic, and problems with addiction, loves Quentin, the painfully proper child of English nobility, whose powers are, so far, not fully understood. Together, as this book starts, they are managing a houseful of teenagers with varying emergent superpowers in La Jolla. Laurence and Quen have taken the group to Disneyland, although Quen is so sheltered that he is almost more overwhelmed by the Magic Kingdom than any of the teens are.

Among the kids on the field trip to Anaheim is Melanie, known as Mel, a runaway recently incorporated into the household when she stole Quentin’s phone. Mel’s history is unknown to her new housemates, and the revelation of that mystery is the driver of this book’s sometimes hair-raising narrative.

All of these folks have backstories—including Laurence and Quentin. As the plot develops, we learn bits and pieces about each of the teenagers, revealing them to be good kids who have had to face hard choices in a world often unfriendly to their powers. Mel finds herself in a nurturing environment for the first time in her young life, yet unable to fully trust these fellow youngsters or the eccentric gay men who are supposedly the responsible adults in their lives.

When, in the middle of a desert camping weekend with a rock star and his celebrity sister (their story must be from an earlier book, but they’re wonderful characters), Mel’s background suddenly looms as a threat. The whole patchwork family must work together or lose everything. Laurence and Quentin must push themselves to their limits, even as they challenge the teenagers to figure out how to use their powers to help the people they care about.

Four stars

The Reviewer

Ulysses Grant Dietz grew up in Syracuse, New York, where his Leave It to Beaver life was enlivened by his fascination with vampires, from Bela Lugosi to Barnabas Collins. He studied French at Yale, and was trained to be a museum curator at the University of Delaware. A curator since 1980, Ulysses has never stopped writing fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. He created the character of Desmond Beckwith in 1988 as his personal response to Anne Rice’s landmark novels. Alyson Books released his first novel, Desmond, in 1998. Vampire in Suburbia, the sequel to Desmond, is his second novel.

Ulysses lives in suburban New Jersey with his husband of over 41 years and their two almost-grown children.

By the way, the name Ulysses was not his parents’ idea of a joke: he is a great-great grandson of Ulysses S. Grant, and his mother was the President’s last living great-grandchild. Every year on April 27 he gives a speech at Grant’s Tomb in New York City. 

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