Review- Release by MRMerrick

I was a little apprehensive when I was asked by Hannah to review M.R. Merrick‘s ‘Release’. These books had a few strikes against them from the start. First, since it went to the Book Vortex in the first place, someone, somewhere had decided that it was a ‘Young Adult’. I have nothing against YA except the fact that I haven’t been a Young Adult since Jimmy Carter was president. Second, it’s an Independent Publisher and lately for me IA has been synonymous with not-quite-ready-for-publishing. Third, I had to read two books before I could read the book I was supposed to be reviewing and no matter how good the book, choking down twelve hundred pages of anything is bound to get tedious and boring. At this point, I usually tell her that I have a rhinoceros infestation in my garden and have to deal with that before they eat all the cabbages. But I put the book in my reader and opened to the first page and … well here is what I found.

Our Hero? Chase is an eighteen year old boy who has been exiled from his home because he has no powers. Think A Spell for Chameleon (Piers Anthony 1977) but set in New York and a lot darker. Chase and his mother are just trying to stay alive, working, paying bills, trying not to get assassinated by demons, you know, mundane everyday stuff. Throw in a narcissistic vampire, a pretty girl that tries to kill him, a set of Warlock Twins, a couple packs of shape shifters and you have the cast of characters.

The Plot? Father bad, son young and idealistic. Father trying to take over the world, son not so keen on the idea. Father tries to turn son to evil since son is becoming powerful. Son resists and gets his butt whooped for the trouble. Friends rally, lots of fighting and blood.

The City? Very Gotham like, run down, depressing. You get the idea the everything is a grimy shade of grey, I envision old newspapers constantly fluttering down deserted streets.

And that is the thing about these books. I can envision. Merrick invokes images, which is what a writer is supposed to do. I can see what Mr. Merrick is trying to say and I don’t have to keep stopping and try to figure out what he means. My absolute favorite line is in book three. ‘The crow squawked again and the other crows jumped into the air, circling the building in a murder of annoyance’.

Get it. Murder of annoyance?


The similarities of plot or character to other stories do not detract, they rather enhance. When Chase and Tiki were walking through Drakar it so reminded me of Jon-Tom and Chothahump in the market in Spell Singer(Allen Dean Foster, 1983). Some of the scenes invoked both Xanth and The Magic of Recluse(L.E. Modesitt Jr. 1991). These are all books that I read when I was much closer to being a YA than I am now and all books that I will never forget because they are that good.

The writing is exceptional, consistent, on point, and it is steady not only within the books, but across the three that I have read. It flows just as it should so that the words and punctuation get out of the way and allow the story to be told. Too often I find with Indie books, the stories are really good and the writing is really… not so good. I don’t usually do this but I think at this point I would like to give a shout out to Kara Malinczak who edited this book. I certainly wish that there were more Karas out there in the Indie world so that there were fewer mediocre books and far more phenomenal books. Never underestimate the power of a good editor.

The last series that I enjoyed this much was the Black Magician series by Trudi Canavan (2003). And while this isn’t high fantasy, it’s got enough magic and monsters for me to put it on my fantasy shelf next to hers and leave some room for the books to come.


*This review was written by guest blogger Paul. Review copy provided for us by MR Merrick as part of the blog tour.

Don’t forget to check out the Release blog tour Interview with Chase!


  1. Valerie says:

    I gotta agree! This series rocks and is totally under appreciated. I can’t wait for book 4. Thanks for reviewing.