Weston Kincade “To Kill a Priest” and “To Kill an Assassin”(The Priors) Review

Posted: March 1, 2015 in Uncategorized
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BOOK INFO

Length: 324 Pages (Part 1), 369 Pages (Part 2)

Publisher: Smashwords

Review copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Weston Kincade’s newest series The Priors is a serialized story that leans heavily towards the science fiction genre with elements of horror sprinkled throughout. Originally released in an episode format, these two books collects all of the episodes that make up the story so far.

To Kill a Priest is the first book in the series and introduces us to Madelin, a girl who was kidnapped from her family by a shadowy government known as PASTOR (Phantom Assassin Shifting Technology & Organized Reconnaissance). They use young people who exhibit special abilities in a quest to explore other worlds and exploit them for their resources and gain power. Madelin has the ability to open portals to other planes of existence with ease and seems more advanced than her peers, making her a prized recruit of the PASTOR agency. The book introduces other characters first such as Daniel Robertson, an ex-military man who is haunted by horrific choices he has made in the past and Madelin’s godfather Jedd Altran, who is on the run from the agency after witnessing the murder of Madelin’s family.

Jedd has been on the run from PASTOR for quite some time and has been attempting to track down Madelin ever since her kidnapping years ago. He is able to locate her through his research into the group and his astral projection powers and helps her escape from the PASTOR facility. With Jedd’s help, Madlin discovers she has the power to travel through parallel worlds, each one similar to theirs, but different based on decisions people have made throughout history.

After Jedd breaks Madeline out of the PASTOR facility, they meet up with some unlikely allies along the way including Daniel and Roger, a man on the run from his gambling debts. Together they must outrun PASTOR and their merciless shifter known as Father Leodenin, the first successful trainee from PASTOR’s program. Leodenin is tasked with tracking down Madlin because he has powers similar to hers, but his PASTOR training has given him greater control over his powers. Not only is he able to shift between worlds, he is able to detect Madelin’s presence based on the rifts she creates.

Jedd also discovers he has powers of his own. He is able to reach through the rifts Madelin creates, but doing so causes him immense pain and a black taint appears on his arm. He is unsure of exactly what this means, but it deadens the nerves in his hand and gives him power greater than he could have ever imagined. As Madelin discovers the truth behind her past from Jedd, she resolves to take the fight to PASTOR and rescue the other children who were left behind in the facility.

After a deadly rooftop battle with Leodenin, the group shifts to a world where people carry auras similar to Madelin’s and they go in search of these people for help. The town seems ripped from distant past, a time when there are no cars or technology and something seems slightly off about the place. The group runs into a man named Alain Traditor who offers them shelter from Leodenin and his agents, but Jedd has a feeling that Alain is hiding something. While staying with Alain, they discover books that are not present in their own world which seem to give them some insight into the powers they have recently discovered they all have. As they discover more about Alain and the other residents past, the group realizes they have walked into a dangerous situation. Just as Leodenin and the Traditor family close in on the group, they find themselves in a brutal fight for survival that pushes them to their limits.

To Kill an Assassin, the second book in the series, picks up immediately after the events in To Kill a Priest. Following their escape from Leodenin and the Traditorian family, Madelin and her group find themself on a desolate world that seems to have been ravaged by a civil war that destroys most of civilization. They hunker down in an abandoned military bunker to recoup and deal with the events that changed their group.

While To Kill a Priest started off a bit slow before gaining traction, this novel continues the action established towards the end of the book. Madelin is growing increasingly more aware of her powers and through her training with Juno, discovers even more abilities that she didn’t know she had.

Leodenin was left for dead, but manages to recoup and has become something much more sinister than in the first novel. His new abilities lead him to recruit a much more savage and dangerous group than the PASTOR operatives he led in the first novel and he plans on using these newfound abilities to track down Madelin.

Madelin manages to escape the bunker with Roger and Juno following a vicious confrontation with Leodenin to a plane that is covered in snow and ice and runs into a familiar face from her time with PASTOR. Jedd and Daniel were transferred to a jungle world and are separated from the rest of the group. There they meet an advanced race of telepaths known as the Pazzege’tuk. The Pazzege’tuk train Daniel and Jedd for an upcoming apocalyptic event that has been foretold among their people, which they take to mean Leodenin and PASTOR. With their training complete and Madelin’s increasing dreams of the atrocities being committed by PASTOR, the group finally decide it is time to make their move and confront PASTOR once and for all.

I am a fan of Kincade’s other series A Life of Death, but the The Priors did not quite grab my attention in the same way. To Kill a Priest starts off fairly slow and was difficult to get through in spots. However, the second half was where the story came alive and I found myself drawn into the world of the Traditor family and the dangers facing Madelin and her group. That momentum carried through to To Kill an Assassin, which was easily my favorite of the two books.

Elements of the story come across as slightly disjointed at times, which may have a little to do with the serialized nature in which it was originally released. I loved Kincade’s streamlined writing style in the A Life of Death series, but there are stylistic elements of The Priors that did not work for me. Portions of the story are almost overly descriptive, which hinders the pacing of the story and takes the reader out of the action.

Kincade does a good job of building up the back story of Madelin and the other characters in her group and they each have a distinct personality and a complexity that makes them come to life. However, I couldn’t help but feel that Leodenin’s characterization was a bit weaker. While there is no denying he is evil and hellbent on achieving his goals with little regard for everyone else, I feel he would have made a better villain if there was more depth to his character. Early in To Kill a Priest, Jedd manages to hack into the PASTOR servers and finds Leodenin’s profile. He is known as “Shifter 1”, the first fully trained operative to emerge from the PASTOR program. Though the operatives are drugged and have their memories wiped during training and it is mentioned there is no information on his past, I feel that Leodenin’s character would have been stronger if we delved more into his back story. How was he the first one chosen? How was he discovered by PASTOR? Was his evil a result of his training? We get glimpses of other shifters from the PASTOR program and they seem to be more following orders and lack the sinister evil that personifies Leodenin.

Despite a few stylistic choices that didn’t work for me and a slow first half, Kincade weaves together alternate worlds, vampires and paranormal abilities to create a unique mythology and entertaining story at the heart of the first two installments of The Priors. The ending of To Kill an Assassin seems to leave open the possibility for more stories involving Madelin and her group and I would definitely be interested in seeing what other ideas Kincade has in store for them!

Rating: 3/5

LINKS

Weston Kincade’s Official Website

Purchase To Kill a Priest and To Kill an Assassin on Amazon

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