Thursday, August 19, 2010

Review: Mantis: Book One – Mantis Nights by: Joshua Scribner

Title: Mantis: Book One – Mantis Nights
Author: Joshua Scribner
Author Website:Joshua Scribner
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Lyrical Press Incorporated
Price: $5.50
Link to purchase

What I liked: “I’m telling you, Mantis, you don’t want to go over there again.”
Mantis stared across the street. There were forces in this universe that one never wanted to disturb, even to help other people. Could he resist?

Pity often washed over him. He’d never wanted a woman before, not for keeps anyway. Now two had come into his life and left him longing for more. Chloe lived in a different time, Kendra in a higher realm. He found himself bitter at men who need only cross land to be with their lover.

Fear of being trapped nibbled at his nerves, but didn’t debilitate him. He was coming to accept the dangers of his special ability. It had become something more than a trick. Was that good or bad? He didn’t know.


In Mantis Nights, the first book of the Mantis Series, author Joshua Scribner delivers a read reminiscent of 1930s gangster movies. Snappy dialog and swift imagery take readers on a journey into Mantis’ world of nocturnal exploration. Dispensing with the usual ‘getting to know you’ details of Mantis’ life, readers are not mired in the sad childhood or tales of introspection, Scribner stays focused on the present events. Readers find themselves thrown right into the action and watch as Mantis’ once safe and controlled means of escape has turned on him. The book stays true to adventure and suspense without letting the 'love interest' take over as is often the case.

Mantis used his special gift to enter worlds removed from the vulnerabilities and fears typical in his daily existence. Each adventure bent to his control. But now he cannot manipulate the journeys or the outcomes. What was once escapism is now a dangerous mission to survive.

Along the way, Mantis meets up with a variety of supporting characters that all seem to merge between the daily and nightly worlds. Mantis is compelled to push aside his fears to help those he encounters in his series of adventures. Yet the closer Mantis is to his goal, the more he is drawn into the psychological force that threatens his existence. Who wants Mantis dead and why? What forces from his daily existence are following him into his no-longer safe dream factory? Where can he possibly feel in control again?

Book blurb: Mantis enjoys escaping from reality -- until he can’t get back!

Mantis Shed has the perfect escape from the doldrums of ordinary life: he can enter alternate realities, becoming any character in whatever adventure suits him.

But those alternate realities trap him in battle, forcing Mantis to fight for his life against nightmare creatures. With a mysterious woman in black stalking him, will Mantis get his life back?

Graphic violence and mythical creature violence.

Book excerpt: Back on Main, his evader stood a block away in the middle of the road. The kid looked around, his high-pitched sobs loud in the still night.

A voice broke through the air. “Come out, come out wherever you are.”

The voice and the machinegun laugh had come from the same source, a little girl.

The kid looked around, his sobs getting louder. Someone came out on the street further down. The boy turned his head toward her, then started backing away. Mantis stepped toward him. The horrible laugh ripped again, stopping Mantis in his tracks. The little girl, dressed in a white nightgown, sped down the street at an inhuman rate. The boy had no more than turned before she caught him.

She laughed again, this time not loud, more playful. “Freeze tag,” she shouted with glee.


Mantis turned to where the whisper had come from. There was a bar at the corner of the block. Down low was an open basement window.

“In here. Hurry!”

On the street, the scary child twirled around the frozen boy. Maybe she hadn’t noticed Mantis yet.

Or maybe she was just that confident.

Tammy Elizabeth Southin

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