Tuesday, June 21, 2022

This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey: Review, Excerpt

This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey
This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey

Publisher: D.X. Varos (March 15, 2022)
Category: Horror, Vampire Thriller, Dark Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Tour dates: June 16-July 22
ISBN: 978-1955065238
Available in Print and ebook, 350 pages

Description This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey

It is the duty of the Vanguard to protect the world from unseen demonic forces.

But what if the organization falls to corruption? Their reformation is up to Cato, a disgraced former member who discovers many of the elite using their powerful positions and martial skills for ill-gotten gains rather than fulfilling their true purpose: aiding mankind in a secret war against their eternal foe.

Aldous is a Vanguard who fell from grace after being stricken with vampirism by a mysterious figure known as the White Lady. His increasingly vile appetites are tolerated because his knowledge as an alchemist is vital in the Vanguard’s battle against the demons. When those desires lead to the abduction of the woman Cato loves, Cato wages a one-man war against Aldous and his werewolf henchman.

Review This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey

Review by Suzie

'This World of Love and Strife,' is not just a book, but a full-on reading experience. There is so much interesting lore and objectively cool character information in this book that by the time I was finished I wanted to read a sequel immediately.

Our main character, Cato is a former member of an organization called the Vangaurd, who have taken on the impossibly important duty of protecting the world from demons. That alone sounds like a great read, but when you factor in the vampires, werewolves, angels and other mythical beings that exist in the fictional world of Lumina City, you get an action-packed, mad-cap trip that is going to delight absolutely any horror fan that picks it up.

The meat of the story centers around Cato's journey after he is given a vision of hell from a strange disembodied voice.

The vision shakes Cato to his core—something that is difficult to do considering all that he has seen-- and he reluctantly realizes that humanity is in imminent danger and he may be the only one who can stop it.

Hindering this idea, however, is his personal beef with a former Vanguard member who was turned into a vampire, a man named Aldous. After Aldous kidnaps the woman that Cato loves, Cato must find a way to stop the vampire and save humanity altogether. Both things that are kind of a big ask for anyone, let alone a guy who pops pills like most people eat candy bars.

Shawn Mackey's novel is horror fiction like you've never read before. Each element in Lumina City is perfectly added with just enough spice to keep the reader interested, but without getting bogged down in worldbuilding.

This is a great novel for anyone who wants to get into the action quickly, and never stop feeling that pulse-pounding excitement of an excellent plot! 

Excerpt This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey

“Have you heard of the Vanguard?” Aldous asked. When she didn’t reply, he went on: “I used to be one myself. They operate in all corners of society, through the very shadows in which their prey thrives. An immeasurably powerful group for thousands of years. In the last decade, infighting has weakened them severely. They lost many men to foolish squabbles. One of these was a prodigy named Cato. Cato the Strong, they called him. Mentored by the famous swordsman, Basil. Has he told you about this?”


“Basil was killed by a rival faction. Right in front of Cato. What did our friend do? He took his master’s sword and fled. Having failed to take vengeance on the killer, he became an apostate. Cato’s marked for death. One phone call and I can have it done.”

“What do you want from me?”

“Where is he?”

“Do your worst because I won’t tell you a damn thing.”

“It would be much easier for everyone, Cato included, if you told me where he is. His apartment has been vacated for months, yet he’s still in the city. Likely wandering the boundaries of this building, planning violence against me.”

“That’s your problem.”

“I don’t need to extract the information from you,” Aldous said, heading for her.

“Get away from me!” she growled.

“Or what?” he asked with a chuckle, continuing his approach. “You’ll run away? Go ahead.”

“Stop,” she said as he circled her. Aldous placed his hands around her hips, leaning at her neck.

“It’ll pinch for a moment,” he said, pressing his cold lips against her flesh.

Maggie reached under her skirt and pulled the dagger out as his teeth rubbed against her neck. She thrust the blade into his side. He reeled back, smashing against the wall, knocking over a few of the photos. Maggie stabbed him several times in the chest and shoulder. Cold blood pelted her face and clothes as Aldous tried to cover the fresh gashes. He slid against the wall, head slumping to the side. She opened the door, dashing down the stairs.

Hector was already headed in her direction, while two men were at the bottom of the steps, seemingly unaware of her presence. She made a dash for it, only for Hector to pounce on her. He slammed her against the marble floor. She brandished the bloody dagger at him. His eyes went wide as an inhuman growl escaped his lips. His grip had tightened enough to squeeze her breath. She slashed his arm, which was sprouting coarse hairs. Hector let go, falling to his knees, breathing heavily as he bared his teeth, now sharp as knives.

“You bitch,” he said, grabbing her dress as she fled. Maggie stabbed at him again. This time, he caught her wrist and squeezed so hard that her hand opened, dropping the weapon to the floor. Hector’s nostrils flared, and still bearing his teeth, they gradually shrank.

“Don’t you dare!” Aldous’s voice boomed from the stairway. His shirt was in tatters, covered in wet blood, but the wounds had already sealed.

“Bitching fucking cut me!” Hector growled. The hairs had disappeared. Though his sudden transformation had ceased, his rage remained the same.

“We need her,” Aldous said. When he put his hand on Maggie’s shoulder, Hector backed away. Aldous placed his hands back around her hips, this time facing her. “You won’t try running away again, will you?”

“Stay away,” Maggie whispered, unable to hold back tears.

“No,” he said, moving his mouth close to her neck. “You’re mine.”

Maggie gripped at the tears in his shirt. She wanted to rip him to pieces, or at the very least, push him away, yet she was numb. The mere touch of his teeth to her flesh had some effect on her. She felt a slight cold when his mouth wrapped around her neck, but there was no pinch when the teeth sunk in, only an ecstatic feeling that paled to any high or orgasm she ever experienced. When he moved back, his bloodstain smile filled her with a sense of satisfaction, as though her partner had achieved the same rapture. Her hand reached up and touched his cheek. Though she was too spent to move, her arms wrapped around him in an embrace. The cold that previously chilled her was now a comfort, for her warmth was being transmitted. That was the most satisfying part of it all.

This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey

About Shawn Mackey

Living in New Jersey for all his life, Shawn Mackey has been writing since childhood. Though his favorite genre is horror, he has a deep appreciation for fantasy influenced by mythology and science fiction that questions the modern world and its future.

Website:  https://mackeywriting.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mackeywriting
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Shawn-Mackey/100073414053488/

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  This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey

1 comment:

  1. Hey Suzie, I am so glad you enjoyed 'This World of Love and Strife'!


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