#SPFBO Cry Havoc (Jack Frey #1) by Mike Morris


CryHavocCry Havoc was in my first batch of SPFBO books.  The feedback from that batch can be found here and Cry Havoc was the first book that I decided to fully read and at the moment is still in the running to be a potential semi finalist.

As the story begins we meet two young boys, Jack and his older brother Brendan.  They live with their mother in rather abject poverty and frequently resort to robbery in order simply to eat.  Their father is no longer around and their mother struggles to cope, seeking solace in a bottle of alcohol more often than not.  It’s easy to see that the two are going to grow up somewhat wild until fate intervenes.  Caught attempting a burglary the two are taken by the Black Dogs, a religious order of priests who learn to fight to protect Abios from invasion by their mortal enemies, the Nostros.

The Nostros are the monsters/demons of the story.  They share a number of similarities with vampires in both their eating and sleep patterns.  They have conquered the humans of the Northlands in fact Abios seems to be the only place that they don’t yet rule.  The journey across the waters makes it difficult for them as they cannot be caught outside during the hours of sunlight.

The story is told by two different characters.  Lin, a slave of the Nostros who seems to live in constant fear of either death by the hand of one of the Masters or by one of her fellow slaves.  It’s something of a dog eat dog world that the slaves live in, they spend their nights working exhausting hours for very little reward and with barely enough to eat.  Jack is the alternating POV.  In many respects he and his brother fell on their feet when they were caught stealing.  They are now fed, clothed and taught.  They have a roof over their head and a purpose – although this doesn’t stop Jack from railing against everything to begin with.

The two storylines will eventually cross paths although not for a good portion of the story when the Black Dogs become aware of an increased threat from the Nostros and are forced to take proactive measures.

I thought that Cry Havoc was a promising start to the series.  The writing was good once the author found his feet and although it did get off to something of a slow start the alternating POV chapters helped to keep the momentum going, plus the fact that I was curious about both characters also helped.

The characters themselves.  They feel like they need something more at the moment, they’ve not completely wowed me in fact I found myself liking some of the peripheral characters more – particularly during the action scenes towards the end of the book.  But, this is a first in series and without making it into a weighty tome it can be difficult to balance everything.

The world building.  This has a mediaeval feel to it in terms of modes of transport, dress and weapons – although surprisingly there are guns – which I wasn’t expecting.  I would have liked more information about the Nostros.  They felt a little under developed at this point.  They’re very unsavoury characters indeed, human lives being absolutely nothing to them, but I would have liked to feel more tension and fear whenever they entered the scene. And I think I would like a little bit more detail about this war between good vs evil.  Again, it’s that balancing act though and no doubt more information will be forthcoming in future instalments.

In terms of criticisms.  Wel, I enjoyed this but it does have a ‘first in series’ feel.  I have yet to fall in love with Jack or Lin and this lack of attachment did make me feel a little ambivalent towards their safety during the ensuing fight scenes.  That being said this certainly wasn’t a difficult read, I didn’t feel the need to DNF and it was a fairly easy page turner.

I would rate this as a 3.5 of 5 stars or 7 out of 10.

My thanks to the author for a review copy and for entering the SPFBO competition.  The above is my own opinion.


18 Responses to “#SPFBO Cry Havoc (Jack Frey #1) by Mike Morris”

  1. Tammy

    This sounds like a good series starter, especially if you are wanting to know more about the world😁

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yep, I had some issues with it but I’d like to see how the second book develops.
      Lynn 😀

  2. My Name in Blogs Tag – Perfectly Tolerable

    […] L – Lynn’s Book Blog […]

  3. sjhigbee

    A thorough review which sets out the strengths and weaknesses of this first book in the series – thank you for sharing:)

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Sounds promising. I find a lot of fantasy series have a similar kind of start these days, like the first book might not blow you away, but there’s plenty of room to grow in future books. Glad it was a pretty solid start.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, I had issues but I would see how the second one develops.
      Lynn 😀

  5. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    The story sounds intriguing – and I always snap at attention whenever the word “vampire” is mentioned 🙂
    Clearly the beginning of a series is always a difficult beast to handle – or tame – so it’s understandable if there are some “hiccups” along the way.
    Thank you so much for sharing this! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      On the whole this was a good read – I had a few issues but they didn’t really spoil anything.
      Lynn 😀

  6. #SPFBO Feedback on my second batch of books | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] My Process My 3 covers for the cover competition Author Interview – Elise Kova My First Batch of Books Feedback on My First Batch of Books My Second Batch of Books Review: Cry Havoc by Mike Morris […]

  7. waytoofantasy

    Sounds like a pretty good read! Hope you have some more good ones in your batch. 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      It was a good read – I’m looking forward to so many of these books.
      Lynn 😀

  8. Weekly Wrap Up : 25th August 2019 | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] reviewed the book I carried forward from the first batch of books – Cry Havoc – review here.  The Witch Who Courted Death is one of the books I chose for the 2019 Rewind Challenge.  Details […]

  9. #SPFBO Half Way Point : Feedback | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] – Elise Kova My First Batch of Books Feedback on My First Batch of Books My Second Batch of Books Review: Cry Havoc by Mike Morris feedback on my Second Batch of Books Review: Healer's Rune by Chris O'Mara Review: The Lore of […]

  10. #SPFBO Feedback on the Fourth Batch of Books | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] – Elise Kova My First Batch of Books Feedback on My First Batch of Books My Second Batch of Books Review: Cry Havoc by Mike Morris feedback on my Second Batch of Books Review: Healer's Rune by Chris O'Mara Review: The Lore of […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s