2 out of 4 stars
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The Hangman Returns by Dee Rose is about supernatural beings fighting to gain power for their own reasons. Some fight to protect the world, while others fight to dominate it. Then there are those who just want to take their anger out on anyone and anything that crosses their path. Many different races are ensnared in this fight, including angels, demons, priests, vampires, and vampire slayers.
The book reads like an action thriller, which may be enjoyable to those who are into that genre. Unfortunately, I cannot say that this style worked for me. The battles were nonstop, and after a couple hundred pages, it got old. Instead of sitting on the edge of my seat, I couldn't help but think "oh great, here we go again." Some battles were meaningful, while others felt like they were forced or thrown in just to have more action. I think a couple of filler battles would have been fine, but there were just too many in this book. I will admit that the action itself was, for the most part, well written.
So many characters were introduced, it was difficult to keep track of them. I was able to keep track of the main ones such as Jericho, Tom, Susie, Bad Angel, and the Hangman. The main villain and some of his servants were also interesting. However, I couldn't care less about the heads of the vampire clans, who didn't seem to play any major role in the story.
What I disliked most about the book was how quickly it jumped between characters and timelines. It was jarring and exhausting to keep switching back and forth between them. At one point, the story jumped from Kente Jr. killing demons in the present, to Susie's backstory, then back to the present where Susie is suddenly fighting yet another demon. We also learn about the origins of three powerful magic rings through another backstory that was fun to read, but ultimately added nothing to the book's plot. On top of this, the book was riddled with grammar errors that could have easily been fixed by a professional editor. The author even refers to one of his characters by the wrong name during the backstory that tells what happened to one of Jericho's ancestors.
I did some research on Amazon and this is apparently the 6th book in a series, which explains why the characters kept making references I didn't understand. This just added to the confusion I felt while reading, and I think I would have had a better experience if I instead reviewed the first book where everything is being introduced for the first time. I have no idea if the author ever put his first book up for review, but this is the only book in the series I was able to take. The covers on his books are appealing and played into my decision to read the book.
What I did like about the book was the main plot, which focused on a mixed team of supernatural beings trying to come together to fight a demon bent on dominating the world. The Hangman's story was the most interesting, and I also enjoyed reading about Susie. Some of the action scenes and dialogue were also enjoyable. I think that if the transitions between the characters were smooth, the overall plot was more streamlined, and the book went through several rounds of editing, it could be great.
Sadly, I struggled to finish the book. People who are into nonstop supernatural thrillers will probably enjoy it, but I think that's a niche audience. Readers, particularly Christians, will want to keep in mind that violence, profanity, vampires, and demons are common in this story. I give this book a 2 out of 4 stars.
The Hangman Returns
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