On Jeroun, there is no question as to whether God exists–only what his intentions are.
Under the looming judgment of Adrash and his ultimate weapon–a string of spinning spheres beside the moon known as The Needle–warring factions of white and black suits prove their opposition to the orbiting god with the great fighting tournament of Tchootoo, on the far side of Jeroun’s only inhabitable continent.
From the Thirteenth Order of Black Suits comes Vedas, a young master of martial arts, laden with guilt over the death of one of his students. Traveling with him are Churls, a warrior woman and mercenary haunted by the ghost of her daughter, and Manshep, a constructed man made of modular spheres possessed by the foul spirit of his creator. Together they must brave their own demons, as well as thieves, mages, beasts, dearth, and hardship on the perilous road to Tchootoo, and the bloody sectarian battle that is sure to follow.
On the other side of the world, unbeknownst to the travelers, Ebn and Pol of the Royal Outbound Mages (astronauts using Alchemical magic to achieve space flight) have formed a plan to appease Adrash and bring peace to the planet. But Ebn and Pol each have their own clandestine agendas–which may call down the wrath of the very god they hope to woo.
Who may know the mind of God? And who in their right mind would seek to defy him? Gritty, erotic, and fast-paced, author Zachary Jernigan takes you on a sensuous ride through a world at the knife-edge of salvation and destruction, in one of the year’s most exciting fantasy epics.
I want to start this by saying that this was a difficult book for me to read, and even more so for me to write this review, so please bear with me.
No Return by Zachary Jernigan is certainly an interesting read; filled with excellent world building, descriptive writing, dynamic characters and with fantastically written fantastic scenes, realistic and brutal, Jernigan has shown himself to be a talented and creative writer.
Jernigan’s novel was refreshingly unique, setting itself apart from many of the other novels, with a complex world, races, and magic system. Jernigan manages to describe and explore them thoroughly even though the novel is quite short. He manages to keep the writing simplistic, not going into too much detail and explanation, which works quite well as there’s a lot going on within the novel. Jernigan’s novel is an interesting sci-fi and fantasy hybrid.
The thing I was asked to take note of by the author was any feminism/to look at it through a feminist perspective, and it’s something I’m struggling with. His female characters were well-written, and they were by no means inferior to the male characters. They’re strong (physically, and politically), well-written, and compared to many other female characters in literature, quite well done. The line just goes fuzzy however, with the sexualization of the text.
There were quite a few sections in this novel where I had a difficult time getting through, and in a few of those instances, had to put the book down for a few days before attempting it again to get through those parts. I personally have a preference to not read sexually explicit scenes, especially descriptive ones… And to say there were a couple of those in No Return would be an understatement. They’re just not scenes I enjoy read, or have any interest in reading… If I wished to, I would go pick up an erotica novel.
To be fair though, I had been warned about these scenes prior to agreeing to read and review it.. These scenes, (again, for me… What holds true for in these matters by no means dictates that others would agree) detracted from the story, and stopped me from thoroughly enjoying the novel. Without them, or at least, without them being quite as numerous as they are, I believe I would have absolutely loved the book. However, as they are predominant throughout the novel, I don’t think it’s something that I can easily recommend to anyone.
The ending of this novel will leave readers wanting to know more about the world, and the characters in general, though the novel can be read as a standalone. However, I believe Jernigan will be writing a sequel as well. Will I read it? Probably. Jernigan has shown himself to have a unique flair, setting his novel apart from the rest of the genre.
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