I’m back with another blog tour with The Storytellers on Tour for Kept from Cages by Phil Williams. Thanks to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!
Be sure to click on the banner below to check out the rest of the bloggers on tour!
Goodreads: Kept from Cages (Ikiri Book 1)
Publication Date: 21 September 2020
Genre: Supernatural Action Thriller
No one returns from Ikiri.
Reece’s gang of criminal jazz musicians have taken shelter in the wrong house. There’s a girl with red eyes bound to a chair. The locals call her a devil – but Reece sees a kid that needs protecting. He’s more right than he knows.
Chased by a shadowy swordsman and an unnatural beast, the gang flee across the Deep South with the kid in tow. She won’t say where she’s from or who exactly her scary father is, but she’s got powers they can’t understand. How much will Reece risk to save her?
On the other side of the world, Agent Sean Tasker’s asking similar questions. With an entire village massacred and no trace of the killers, he’s convinced Duvcorp’s esoteric experiments are responsible. His only ally is an unstable female assassin, and their only lead is Ikiri – a black-site in the Congo, which no one leaves alive. How far is Tasker prepared to go for answers?
Kept From Cages is the first part in an action-packed supernatural thriller duology, filled with eccentric characters and intricately woven mysteries. Start your journey to Ikiri today.
BOOK PROMO: The Kept From Cages ebook will be available for 99p/99c in UK/US Kindle from January 13th–19th.
Phil Williams is an author of contemporary fantasy and dystopian fiction, including the Ordshaw urban fantasy thrillers and the post-apocalyptic Estalia series. He also writes reference books to help foreign learners master the nuances of English, two of which are regular best-sellers on Kindle. He lives with his wife by the coast in Sussex, UK, and spends a great deal of time walking his impossibly fluffy dog, Herbert.
TL;DR: This was my first taste of Williams’ stories and while it was definitely a step away from my usual read (especially the horror parts), wow, am I glad this was put on my radar or what?! Kept from Cages is an edge of your seat thriller with non-stop action and nightmares made real with a large cast of characters who will weasel their way into your heart with their antics and banter. It’s so well written and once it sinks its claws into you, you won’t wanna put it down–I devoured this in one day as I needed to know what happens ASAP!
The thoughts that looped through my head while reading this book: Whoa! WTF?! Holy shit, no way. OMFG NO! Whaaaaat?! 🙃
The story is told in two timelines in parallel to each other. In the first, we’re introduced to Reece and his merry band of Criminal Jazz Musicians in the Deep South. Criminal Jazz Musicians–have I ever read anything like it? Nope, and it was pretty cool! I also don’t think I’ve ever read an SFF thriller set in the Deep South so that was another unique aspect to the story that Williams brought to life through the character’s mannerisms and the setting itself. The gang has just pulled off their biggest heist when they come across a young girl, Zip, who’s tied up in a farmhouse. She’s secretive and scared but forms an almost immediate bond with Reece, and this is when the story gets terrifyingly weird and their world goes to shit when unexplainable events unfold, lots of people die in horrifying ways, and they become targets of monstrous creatures the likes of which they’ve never seen before.
On the other side of the world, we meet Agent Tasker in Norway who’s investigating a remote village that has been the site of an unexplainable massacre. As he digs deeper into the dealings of the shady corporation that he believes is responsible, we follow him to Ordshaw, London where he encounters (or should I say he’s found by) Katryzna, a somewhat unstable assassin who’s hellbent on finding out what happened to the only person who cared for her. Together, they follow a trail that leads them deep into the heart of the African Congo. Ikiri might be where they’ll find all the answers to their mysteries, but it’s a site that’s surrounded by chill-inducing supernatural legends and everyone who goes there never comes back.
Williams keeps you hanging on to the edge of your seat as you’re thrown from one action-packed scene to another. Although there’s a lot that happens and we get plenty of information about Ikiri and the supernatural events, I never felt overwhelmed by it as we learn everything alongside the characters. I know this is set in a previously established world from his Ordshaw series but while I was curious to know more about it at times, I never felt confused or lost in the setting. The plot was engaging and took so many turns that I never expected, and while the mystery surrounding Ikiri and the horrifying supernatural events worldwide set my heart racing and had me eagerly devouring the pages, it was the characters that really won me over.
I loved the easy banter and camaraderie between Reece, Leigh-Ann, Stomatt and Callum and they frequently had me chuckling at the things they said (especially Stomatt)! I also really enjoyed seeing their bond with Zip grow and though they might not have understood her and maybe even feared her at times they never made her feel less of a friend. That said, my favourite character was Katryzna. She was a snarky bad-ass assassin and though I was terrified by her brand of crazy, it was impossible to feel anything but delighted by her child-like enthusiasm—even if it was for causing chaos and killing?! 😂 She’s written with delightful humour that had me bursting out in laughter so often and I really appreciated the balance of it as the story does get quite dark and gruesome.
Overall, as someone who doesn’t normally read this mix of genres, it was definitely a refreshing read and I really loved every minute of it. I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for an action-packed SFF thriller set in unusual locations with intriguing supernatural elements that will leave you with chills while simultaneously pulling you deeper into a story that will have your jaw-dropping. Get ready for a crazy, fun and terrifying ride! Can I have the next book now, please? 😂
Have you read Kept from Cages or is it on your TBR?