Earlier this year, we read and reviewed Edge of the Breach – Rift Cycle Book 1 by Halo Scot. A fantastical and brutalising horror that shocked, amazed but most importantly, entertained. To say it was an impressive story is an under-statement and a must-read for fans of visceral and detailed horror.
Now, on the 1st of October, Halo Scot brings us the follow-up. Called Echoes of Blood – Rift Cycle Book 2, this isn’t revenge anymore. This is a revolution.
Let me start this review off by saying you must read Book 1 before even attempting to read Book 2. Not only that but if you found yourself sickened or turned off by the brutal and horrifying events of Book 1, be prepared for a hell of a lot more.
Now, I’m not going to go into too much detail about Book 1. He can read the review here to pick up the story. Book 2 dives straight back into a world torn apart by war. Picking up where we last saw the two main characters, Kyder and Rune brought together, then pulled apart.
Again, we read from both their perspectives and across several years. Kyder, the boss of the Apolli, the most notorious gang on the planet and Rune, a recruit at the military academy of the Four Towers of Ma’at.
Both have suffered tremendously in life, in such a way that would have destroyed most normal people. However, Kyder and Rune are not ordinary people. Both born on opposite solstices in a world where season of birth determines power. Kyder is a Summer mage and Rune is a Winter shield and they are both the most powerful in their respective fields.
Kyder has used his power to turn himself and the Apolli into the most powerful organisation in the world. The people adore him but under his masks he is racked with demons and can only silence them with blood. The savagery he dishes out is as vile and sickening as it was in Book 1. However, the sympathetic feelings towards such a broken individual character grows and grows here. Simply put, it’s hard to dislike Kyder. It’s easier to love him and love him most will.
One other person who loves him is Rune but needing to find purpose, she has taken her skills to the military. There she can grow and find a reason to keep on living.
However, fate can’t keep Rune and Kyder apart. They need each other, and the world as it will turn out, needs them.
I must stop there. To say anymore will start to spoil what is a simply phenomenal read. Halo Scot has delivered one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. The captivating detail, the layers on the characters, the primitive violence, the lows, and highs that we’re taken on and that ending.
At a certain point in the story I was sure that my feelings for these characters couldn’t grow any stronger. Yet Scot pushes it further and further to the point where my attachment for them is a little worrying! So much so that I found myself briefly annoyed when a set of horrifying events befall one (I don’t mean it though, Halo Scot is great).
Scot builds us up with hope and dashes it all in an instant so we can try and rise again. It’s a harsh and uncomfortable way to read but it keeps the heart thumping and the blood pumping constantly. Be under no illusions though, the emotions felt throughout comes with a hefty supply of blood. However, it never feels gratuitous as this is a world built on blood. Everyone is just trying to survive while the gods wage their war. A saviour is needed but will it be Kyder or Rune?
This is a masterpiece.
Echoes of Blood – Rift Cycle Book 2 (Halo Scot)
The Final Score - 10/10