26 February 2015

#Throwback: Shadow-Keepers

 This is the first in a series of novella's called: Stories from The Grid in the Shadow-Keepers Series by Jas T. Ward.

This is the backstory of the character Reno Sundown, who is the main character for the first book of the series: Madness.

This novella sets up the first book and series and gives readers some insight into the character before they read the book.
Imagine your very existence hinged on the fact that you were the voice inside someone else’s mind. You felt alive, you had emotions, you had thoughts and you had desires but you had no control over the body you occupied and you were just a means to an ugly reality, a way to filter out the bad. You were just a passenger in someone else’s life and a tool used to kill, maim and destroy. Once you did your job you were pushed back into a dark hole and left alone to watch the world pass you by through someone else’s eyes.

That’s what life for Reno Sundown was like. A voice manifested inside a young boy’s mind in order to help that young boy control the dark madness that resided inside of him and help him deal with the ugly and painful parts of the world. Reno is an unusual guy and how he came to existence is a fascinating story. I knew there was fandom love for Reno Sundown so I was quite curious to see what the buzz was about and discover why fans loved this character so much. I now fully understand after reading how Reno came to be and his journey from being a voice inside of Jess’s mind to a man of his own why he has so many fans. Sign me up for the Reno fan club!

Jas T. Ward weaves a complex story through the point of view of Reno the hero who has a heart of gold and a scary dark side. The novella sets up the backstory and the premise for the Shadow-Keeper series and the main character starring in that series, Reno. If you’re going to read the Shadow-Keeper series (which I highly recommend) you really must read Reno Sundown’s story first so sit back, grab some candy and enjoy the journey. It’s an exciting tale that will have you wondering if it would be so bad to have your own badass and funny mental passenger. 

A Darkly Sweet, Twisted Retelling of The Beauty and the Beast. 

A night could change everything.
Consume a cold heart in heat…
Open a heart that has been closed…
Intertwine two lives for a lifetime…and beyond.

The only thing Reno Sundown has ever known is pain. How to take it and how to use it. He was created that way and once his purpose was done, he was locked away. Never had he known good, laughter, love until he met her.

Emma Devenmore has always focused on one thing, family. The eldest of her sisters, she has made life centered on protection. Protecting her family and doing her job of protecting others. A love story was never in her plans, until she met him.

By chance, their paths cross and both were forever changed. A Beauty left yearning for a Beast, who had opened her up to something she had never dreamed of.

A Beast left wanting for a Beauty, who had unlocked emotions he never knew possible, and never was supposed to know existed.

Once paths are crossed, can they ever be uncrossed? Once they are crossed, are they destined to grow together? Or can they only be consumed by complete Madness?
Reno is a dichotomy of contradictions. He’s innocent yet sinful, naïve yet experienced, benevolent yet malicious but above all he’s sincere in his quest to live his own life and he doesn’t take for granted the gift of life bestowed upon him. It’s that division of light, dark and madness that makes him such an alluring character. The story had me hooked the moment Reno drew a happy face with a wagging tongue in Eater goo.

“I figure it didn’t smile much and should go out happy.”

Jas T. Ward does an amazing job of building up and establishing a story about a man whose very existence began as a voice trapped inside of another man’s head. She draws upon some existing myths but she inserts them into a new world unlike no other with a host of unique compelling characters sprung directly from her creative mind. For those unfamiliar with the man known as Reno, Reno Sundown was once a split personality belonging to a Breaker named Jess (Breakers are warriors from Hell whose job is to take out evil beings called Eaters who pray upon human kind). After Jess breaks the heart of a Relay healer named Emma, Reno falls into a state of depression and decides that he will no longer serve his intended purpose as the dark side Jess needs to control the madness inside his mind.

The only solution to save Jess from the madness and keep Reno in existence is to separate the two. Jess is able to move on without his destructive split personality. He thinks Reno was destroyed during the separation but Reno has started a brand new life in his own body. He’s a Breaker now working for Bounce and the Grid. He spends his nights fighting against the evil Eaters to help protect human kind. He’s so grateful for his second chance that he does everything he can to be a hero worthy of his life. He follows all the rules his boss Bounce gives him including staying far away from the Witch Emma whom he fell madly in love with when he was inside Jess’s head, that is until Bounce sends him back to San Francisco where Emma lives. After running into his Witch he’ll willingly break the rules to have a real chance at being with the woman he loves.

I always enjoy stories that have flawed and unlikely characters that rise above everything despite the obstacles in front of them. Reno is that type of hero but so much more. In a world full of action, mystery and romance he shines above the rest. I’m looking forward to the next book and I’m interested in seeing how the Keepers are going to impact the ongoing war with Epsilon and his Eaters. It should be gripping and amusing with Reno involved.

Jas T. Ward has always used writing as a necessary escape. With a past that is marred with a difficult childhood and domestic violence as well as being homeless as an adult, Ward lost her creative voice when she lost her soul mate to suicide.
Finding that creative voice once again in writing in social media via blogs and creative writing groups, it was the fans that encouraged her to put her literary weavings to paper for them to enjoy.
Ward lives in Texas with her dog and cat- Author Dog Pumkin and Writer Kitty Orleans and is the proud parent of three independent children.
When asked why she writes, Ward answers simply:
Reading saved me. It was my salvation and my haven. I now strive to pay that gift back by writing books that can give the same to others. And to keep myself sane.
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