Review: ‘Gecko Magic: The Elemental Keys Book 3’ by Lynne Cantwell

Gecko Magic: The Elemental Keys Book 3 by [Lynne Cantwell]

NB – This book was previous issued as Molten Trail: Elemental Keys Book 3

Genre: Modern fantasy

Description: some spoilers are inevitable here if you haven’t read the first two books in this series. Four demi-elementals (half human) have been brought together by The Powers That Be to foil a demon named Surgat – which translates as One Who Opens All Locks – who is determined to collect four Elemental Keys which will open a mysterious door. So far Surgat has foiled them twice. Now they are journeying to Hawaii to attempt to get to the fire key before Surgat does.

Author: Lynne Cantwell is a prolific author of short books in a number of different fictional genres, from romantic to memoir. Apart from the memoir, all the books have an element of what Cantwell calls ‘the woo-woo’, ie a sixth sense in her protagonists, and an edge of otherworldliness which manifests as creatures and gods out of myth and legend.

She is also a stalwart of Indies Unlimited, where she contributes sensible advice for writers.

Appraisal: Hot on the heels of the previous instalment, when the demi-elemental quartet were in Ireland looking for the Earth key, comes this (literally) hotter instalment which has them scampering between volcanoes on Hawaii. As the story unfolds their relationships deepen and we learn more about what makes Rufus and Gail, in particular, tick. Raney and Collum’s more intimate relationship is a joyful one, which almost makes this old cynic believe in love again. Rufus turns out to have a quite delightful Auntie on Hawaii and a cousin-by-marriage called Annie. These two help the four Key hunters in all sorts of ways, and the reader gets a sense of Hawaiian life through them. As I love to learn about new places (and am unlikely ever to get to Hawaii) I enjoy this sort of local colour – especially when it is not at the expense of page-turning quality. And the pages do turn!

Cantwell has a gift for relating the quotidian, imbuing it with intrigue, and peopling it with characters who are steeped in ‘woo-woo’ – in this case empaths, and people and creatures from Hawaiian folklore. It is a compelling mixture, and keeps the little book skipping along at a great pace. The information imparted about Hawaii is fascinating – and everything drives the story forward.

If this sounds like your sort of book and you haven’t read the first two instalments, it will be a good idea to do so before embarking on this one. Although Cantwell does provide a ‘the story so far’ at the beginning of each why would you deny yourself the pleasure of the whole story?

 

Published by Judi Moore

Hi there, I hope you find something to interest you here. In December 2017 I published my fourth book – ‘Wonders will never cease’. It’s a satirical campus novel set in the fictional Ariel University in 1985. If you enjoyed Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse novels, Willy Russell’s ‘Educating Rita’, David Lodge’s campus novels or Malcolm Bradbury’s ‘The History Man’ back in the day, you may enjoy revisiting the ivory towers of 1980s’ academe thirty years on. See what you think. “It is December, 1985. The year is winding gently towards its close until Fergus Girvan, a Classicist at Ariel University, finds his research has been stolen by the man who is also seeking to steal his daughter. But which man is, actually, the more unscrupulous of the two? And is there hope for either of them?” In the autumn of 2015 I published a volume of short fiction: 'Ice Cold Passion and other stories'. I am also the author of novella 'Little Mouse', a shortish piece of historical fiction which I published in 2014 and, a sequel to it, 'Is death really necessary?', my eco thriller set in the near future and which, confusingly, I published in 2009. All the books are available from all good online bookshops and FeedARead on paper, and as e-books on Kindle. On a semi-regular basis, and about a month after the event, I post here reviews which I do for Big Al & Pals, the premier reviewer of indie books, based in the States. My interests tend to thrillers, SF, magic realism and other quirky stuff. On this blog are also posted the reviews I did for Leighton Buzzard Music Club over some five years up to the end of 2015. LBMC present annual seasons of eight monthly chamber music concerts at the Library Theatre in Leighton Buzzard, Bucks. They select young musicians just beginning to make their name - and the concerts are usually magnificent. I was very proud to be associated with them. I review other music, books, theatre and exhibitions which I've particularly enjoyed.

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