Mid-Lich Crisis by Steve Thomas

Posted On 8 January 2021

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midlichMid-Lich Crisis is one of the books that was included in my batch for the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off and was a strong contender. I had some very good books this year which made choosing semi-finalists and an eventual finalist very difficult indeed and the fact that Mid-Lich Crisis was eventually cut stands testament to just how good this year’s selection actually was.

What I really liked about Mid-Lich Crisis is that it tells the story from the opposite side of the coin.  Instead of following in the footsteps of the typical ‘good’ hero we instead look at things from the villain’s perspective.  And here’s the thing, does a villain really think he’s the ‘villain’ or is he simply misunderstood?

If you put any faith in the meaning of names then you could be forgiven for thinking that Dread Wizard Darruk Darkbringer is immediately off to an unfair advantage, Dread and Darkbringer not really inspiring warm and happy thoughts after all, but Darruk is determined to be better understood.  He is definitely not evil and his ruthless actions were all undertaken in the pursuit of rescue.  Darruk is trying to save the world from the Doomclap – and so a few people died along the way – for the greater good.  He’s not ‘e***’ and he’s going to prove to the world that he isn’t.  First step, stop dying, second step become a celebrity, third step, save the world and show everyone that you’re really the hero that you claim to be.

So, how is it that Darruk keeps dying but then popping back up.  Well, he’s a lich.  Basically this means that he is a wizard who plans ahead and has the foresight to place his soul in a receptacle, that, provided it is kept safe, ensures he never truly dies.  Of course he might need a little help being resurrected, but that’s what furry talking minions are for, and although his last ‘death’ lasted longer than he would have liked, leaving him less time than ever to save the world, he’s still determined to do so.

I part read and part listened to this one which proved to be a winning combination, particularly as the audio narration is particularly impressive.

The world feels part mediaeval/part modern – there are certainly modern references thrown in but at the same time it has a middle age feel.  Strangely enough, this didn’t create any problems for me and perhaps that’s down to the overall style of writing which is very much in the style of ‘let’s not take things too seriously and just enjoy where the flow takes us’.

In terms of the characters.  This is pretty much a one man show, I mean, there are other characters, obviously, but Darruk is the star here and so if you find yourself unable to get on board with his peculiar brand of wit then you may struggle.  I didn’t have that problem and found the humour here very easy to get on with.

The plot is a little bit jumpy, or rambling maybe – or perhaps even chaotic.  Or at least that was my take on the whole thing.  We have all sorts thrown into the mix from rock bands to bread makers and the perfect flatbread recipe.  The only slight issue I had was a slight feeling that I’d lost the plot a little during the middle section, but, given my ‘covid brain’ this year, that could simply be due to a lack of concentration on my part.

Overall, this is an easy to read, slightly irreverent, satire that isn’t afraid to shake things up a little.  Obviously, it’s not always easy to achieve the right balance when aiming for laughs but the author certainly managed to give me a few laugh out loud moments which is always appreciated.

I received a copy courtesy of the author, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating – between 3.5 and 4 stars – rounded up to 4 stars

#SPFBO : My Second Batch of Books

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300 books           10 Judges            1 winner

The 1st of June marked the start of the sixth Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (details here.)  My Introductory post is here.  You can find my first batch of books here and my update here.

As with previous years I’m hoping to read a batch of books each month.  I will read at least 30% and hopefully will choose one or two books from each batch to roll forward and read fully and review before choosing semi finalists and a finalist.  My book list is chosen randomly and the six books I will be reading this month are outlined below:


Burn (Desert Deities, #1) by G. E. Hathaway

Burn ecover - G.E. Hathaway - Vickie L. H.

After a devastating power outage wipes out most of Tucson, survivors Liam, Noah, and Ellie have more than the hot summers to worry about. In the absence of modern technology, ancient spirits awaken and the Sun God and Rain Goddess resume their timeless war over the elements. Friendships are tested and lines between good and evil are blurred as the humans are thrust into a strange and dangerous journey that reveals the mysterious forces ruling the desert. When the Rain Goddess is injured and the temperatures rise, Liam, Noah, and Ellie must find a way to restore power to the city before they all burn.

Author Info : 







Ranger’s Oath (Arc of Radiance/Fall of Radiance #1) by Blake Arthur Peel

rangerThe barrier between worlds is broken. Only he knows the truth…

Magic has protected Tarsynium for a thousand years, shielding its people from being ravaged by bloodthirsty demons. When a young ranger’s apprentice named Owyn Lund discovers that the Arc of Radiance has been breached, he tries to warn anybody who will listen.

But legends aren’t supposed to be real.

When a village is mysteriously destroyed, rangers, mages, and rebels all point the finger, blaming each other for the demons’ brutality. However, Zara Dennel, a mage’s ward, has heard Owyn’s tale—and she’s inclined to believe him.

Together, they must prove that friendship is greater than intolerance, unity is more important than division, and that even the most powerful magic can sometimes not be enough.

Failure means the end of all things. A second—and lasting—Doom.

Experience the beginning of a thrilling Epic Fantasy series suitable for all ages. It’s perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Sarah J. Maas, and Brandon Sanderson.

Author Infoblakearthurpeel

Website: https://blakearthurpeel.com


Knightmare Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #1) by Shami Stovall

KnightmareMagic. Sailing. A murderer among heroes.

Gravedigger Volke Savan wants nothing more than to be like his hero, the legendary magical swashbuckler, Gregory Ruma. First he needs to become an arcanist, someone capable of wielding magic, which requires bonding with a mythical creature. And he’ll take anything—a pegasus, a griffin, a ravenous hydra—maybe even a leviathan, like Ruma.

So when Volke stumbles across a knightmare, a creature made of shadow and terror, he has no reservations. But the knightmare knows a terrible secret: Ruma is a murderer out to spread corrupted magic throughout their island nation. He’s already killed a population of phoenixes and he intends to kill even more.

In order to protect his home, his adopted sister, and the girl he admires from afar, Volke will need to confront his hero, the Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma.

A fast-paced fantasy with magical creatures for those who enjoy the Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera series) by Jim Butcher, Unsouled (Cradle Series) by Will Wight, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.

Author Info:

Website: https://sastovallauthor.com/


The Edge of Nothing (The Lex Chronicles #1) by Crystal Crawford

EdgeofAn evil force terrorizes Arameth, but those out to stop it have a serious problem: their prophesied hero is dead.

Centuries ago, a malevolent magicborn overtook Arameth, fracturing their world and unleashing a devastating war between magicborn and their non-magic neighbors. To protect their magical heritage, the Ancients of Arameth sealed themselves off in The Core, wiping all memory of magic from the ordinary people. The remaining magicborns retreated into hiding, unable to use their abilities for fear of inciting the wrath of the Ancients’ dark regime—or the terror of their own neighbors.

Two hundred years later, the damage wreaked by the Fracture threatens to unravel their world. A dark energy from The Core is slowly corrupting once-beautiful Arameth, and the Worldforce, the source of all Arameth’s magic, is destabilizing. The heroes sworn to restore the balance fail catastrophically in their final battle, and tensions peak between the peoples of Arameth. Fluctuations in the unstable Worldforce bring frequent disasters.

But not all of Arameth’s problems come from The Core…

Lex is a seventeen-year-old with no memories before this morning, and no clue why a group of villagers want him dead. Realizing they have mistaken him for a destructive magicborn who slaughtered innocents in their village, Lex flees for his life—only to discover he’s more tangled in the conflicts of the past than he ever imagined. And the mysterious girl he stumbles upon during his escape creates a whole new set of problems…

An epic fantasy / portal fantasy / soft sci-fi mashup, this book is teeming with quirky characters, fantastical creatures, surprises and suspense. With subtle clean/sweet romance, high-stakes adventure, and a strong focus on friendship and second chances, this all-the-feels fantasy debut will keep you flipping the pages.

Author Info: cryscrawford

Website: http://ccrawfordwriting.com


Mid-Lich Crisis by Steve Thomas

midlichIs trying to sacrifice your estranged wife to a bloodthirsty demon an irredeemable act of evil? This is the sort of question the Dread Wizard Darruk Darkbringer struggles with. After being called evil one too many times, Darruk sets off to find a new purpose in his life and become a beloved celebrity. Can a dark wizard come to terms with himself and prove to the world that a few atrocities don’t define who he is? You’ll feel guilty for laughing at his twisted tale of self-discovery.

Author Info:









Chains of Blood (The Chaos Cycle #1) by M.L. Spencer

ChainsHe thought he was born Rylan Marshall…

…until he found out he wasn’t.

Instead, he was born the son of a demon.

Would that mean he was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps?

Rylan was attacked, his young son murdered, his baby daughter taken. But his assailant left him with two gifts: the gift of magic…and an oath to darkness. Rylan blamed himself, even though he knew it wasn’t his fault.

The life he knew was over.

And war is coming.

A new enemy, stronger and more fearsome than any other, appears out of the night.

Will Rylan use his newfound power to make a stand? Will he learn its use in time to make a difference? Or will his oath to darkness guide him to the enemy?

And when he finds out they’ve taken his daughter…how far will he go to get her back?

Author Info: @MLSpencerAuthor

Website: http://mlspencerfiction.com


Once again, good luck to everyone.  If you’d like to visit my blog for a guest post, excerpt, etc, then leave me a note in the comments.