By H.D. Lynn
Available now from Curiosity Quills Press
H.D. Lynn's debut novel GOD'S PLAY is the story of Toby, a hunter; William, a shapeshifter; and Cassie, a Gorgon. Although it is mostly Toby and William's story, with Cassie's point of view thrown in to explain who some of the many characters are.
I thought Cassie was very interesting. She's an older monster, one of the oldest, and had to live in isolation due to her abilities. She's terrified by Toby, who has the ability to lift the Veil in addition to being a monster hunter. The Veil is a bit of magic created a long time ago that makes the monsters look human and keeps the vast majority of them from using their powers. It's allowed Cassie to live a normal life, including developing an on-again, off-again romance. Cassie's sections did a good job of expanding the world of GOD'S PLAY and emphasizing the importance of the Veil. They furthered the plot, but were pretty irrelevant to the character section of the novel. It made the separate point of view feel a touch awkward.
Toby and William meet when Toby's group of hunters (including his mom and uncle) are ambushed. William comes by late and takes the wounded boy home, for reasons he's not entirely sure of. The two form an uneasy alliance, both wanting to kill Fennis, the wolf who lead the ambush. They go seeking allies, and along the way develop mutual crushes on each other. I don't know if there are sequels planned, but there's definitely room for them since the romance doesn't even really begin in GOD'S PLAY. What does begin is the beginnings of mutual respect and a tentative reach beyond prejudices.
The plot of GOD'S PLAY is fairly straightforward. Pretty much all of the monsters want Toby since he can take down the Veil. Some want to make him take it down; others want to prevent him from taking it down. The hunters just want him back. Meanwhile, Toby is mostly on the run by accident because he's focused on revenge.
I think GOD'S PLAY is a fun debut. Lynn weaves together a variety of mythologies in an original fashion and writes top-notch character interaction. The few domestic scenes are particularly well done. She even manages to weave in flashbacks fairly organically. However, there is a very large cast, so I wish there had been more time to develop more of the characters. (And maybe some time to deal with the age gap between sixteen-year-old Toby and been-around-for-decades William.) I wish that Cassie had played a more active role in the climax or made more of a personal change to give her point of view equal weight. Still, if there are any sequels in the future, I'd be happy to give them a try.