No, that’s not the title of one book, but two novellas written by Jay Requard. Because they are short, I read both this month and will review each.
First up is The Gem of Acitus which follows Manwe, a master thief better known as “The Panther”, after he steals the famed Gem of Acitus. He gives it to his lover and business partner so he can fence the jewel. Unfortunately, Manwe’s lover quickly disappears and Manwe is falsely accused of raping the daughter of the powerful man whom he had stolen the gem from
What I appreciate about the story is it doesn’t focus on Manwe clearing his name rather it focuses on Manwe trying to find his lover in order to re-steal the stone. This is where the real story is and in a short amount of time, approximately 26 Kindle pages, the reader gets a lot of emotion and character development.
Mr. Requard does an excellent job quickly getting the reader immersed into the story’s world and the character of Manwe. Manwe is very likeable. Yes, he’s a thief but he does it for honorable reasons, he doesn’t pocket a lot of the money what he steals brings instead giving it to a rebel cause. He is selfless and cares more deeply about his lover than the gem.
This was one of those stories I felt at the same time the appropriate length yet I wanted to see more of the world. On a scale of 1 to 5 pencils, I give The Gem of Acitus three-and-three quarter pencils.
Next I read Reefer Snakes! and it is very different from The Gem of Acitus. Where The Gem of Acitus has a love story at the core of it, Reefer Snakes! is essentially a stoner comedy set in a fictional Iron Age world. Jishnu is the main character and member of a mercenary group called the Grinders Sellsword Company. A bureaucrat approaches the Grinders to protect the cannabis fields overseen by a shaman named Spliff and a naga (man-snake) named King Patta.
I’ll just let that description sink in for a minute.
However, all is not what it seems. Despite the constant haze, the Grinders Sellsword Company is still able to get the job done demonstrating what amazing warriors they are. It is during the final showdown the reader learns the true intent was in sending the Grinders to the cannabis fields.
Reefer Snakes! is funny and very odd. Its world is gritty, like The Gem of Acitus, but unlike that world, this one is even more brutal. While I liked this story and it made me laugh several time, it is what it is. It’s meant to be humorous and bizarre but nothing more than that. It doesn’t have the emotional pull of the other novella, which is fine.
If you want something fun to read, that won’t tax your brain, then Reefer Snakes! is for you. On a scale of 1 to 5 pencils, I give it two-and-three quarter pencils.