Fantasy

Takakush - Genus Magica Book 1

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This book will launch on Jan 25, 2021. Currently, only those with the link can see it. 🔒

Must read 🏆

Vibrant, unique fantasy set in the Pacific Northwest. Compelling smart characters, snappy pacing, and Lithuanian mythology make this a hit.

Synopsis

When Professor Elena Lukas returns to her cozy Pacific Northwest hometown with a broken heart, she’s plunged back into the fate she tried to escape. Like her mother and grandmother before her, Elena must now dedicate her life to a powerful ancient Lithuanian goddess. Although she is prepared to live as a priestess hiding in a contemporary tourist town, she arrives to find that a series of so-called animal attacks have terrorized her forest.

With the help of a handsome detective from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Elena uses her expertise in invasive and endangered species to identify that these are no normal animal attacks. The woods are stalked by a dark, mystical creature bent on ravaging the area in an attempt to quell its insatiable hunger. When her little sister goes missing, Elena realizes that the beast can only be vanquished if she is brave enough to face it in-person, embrace her identity as a high priestess, and expose her powers to the man she is growing feelings for.

I loved this book. I can't say enough how much I loved this book. I want to start with that.


In Takakush - Genus Magica Book One, Raine Reiter weaves a character-driven contemporary fantasy starring a matriarchal family of nature priestesses in search of a magical creature who has killed people in the area.


The main character, Elena, is a professor at the local university. She is called in to assist Fish and Wildlife expert Boone Anderson on what is first suspected to be a bear attack - but may be something quite different. Elena relies upon her intelligence, her strength, and her goddess-given harmony with the forest to help Boone. Snarky back-and-forth that gets serious fast when necessary makes enjoying this pair easy, as in this cafeteria scene:

"I'm leaving, and you can't stop me." Elena twirled away.

"Dr. Lukas?" he called.

"What?" she spat, her back to him.

"You rode to the hospital with me." His deadpan was perfect.


Support characters work together to help Boone and Elena, and they really make this story shine. From Elena's family, her grandmother, mother, and little sister, to the animals (a raven, a cat, and Boone's Karelian Bear Dog, Ohto), every character is lovingly crafted and detailed. Ohto the dog is my favorite, though the grandmother is a close second. The family is of Lithuanian descent, and Reiter's writing is so vivid that I really felt as if I were in the bed and breakfast Elena's mother owns. Elena's grandmother speaks in broken English with Lithuanian phrases delivered in such a way that one can almost see the white-haired, good-natured elder standing there insistently speaking them:

"Jūsų rankos." Ragana stretched out her tattooed hands and displayed her palms.

"I'm sorry?" Boone didn't budge. "You want my hand?"

"Jūsų rankos." Her countenance declared this was not a request.

The reader can feel both Boone's awkwardness and Ragana's confidence in what she's doing.


The backstory is there, but it isn't overdone, so a full, rich story is delivered in 70,000 words. Boone's PTSD is revealed essentially in one line: "Here in the wild places far from the war fields of Iraq and Afghanistan, Boone could relax." Will it come up again? We'll see, but this is an author whose writing allows us to trust her.


While this is clearly a work that supports strong female roles, it doesn't make the mistake of eliminating or minimizing male contributions. Boone is a strong yin to Elena's yang, and although they have differing viewpoints, they are able to work together. So many different personality types come and go through this work that it is a truly well-embroidered reading experience.


Frankly, my only wish was for more story, but hopefully, that will come in time. Takakush - Genus Magica Book One will appeal to most contemporary fantasy readers, readers in search of great feminine leads, and fans of mythology, particularly Eastern European or Russian mythology.


Reviewed by

I am a fervent reader who also writes occasionally. Grammar matters to me, :) . I am a retired MD - a transplant left me with time for reading, gaming, and spending time with my husband, kids, and dogs. I have many interests, so my genres are not restricted to the three listed. Stay safe, everyone.

Synopsis

When Professor Elena Lukas returns to her cozy Pacific Northwest hometown with a broken heart, she’s plunged back into the fate she tried to escape. Like her mother and grandmother before her, Elena must now dedicate her life to a powerful ancient Lithuanian goddess. Although she is prepared to live as a priestess hiding in a contemporary tourist town, she arrives to find that a series of so-called animal attacks have terrorized her forest.

With the help of a handsome detective from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Elena uses her expertise in invasive and endangered species to identify that these are no normal animal attacks. The woods are stalked by a dark, mystical creature bent on ravaging the area in an attempt to quell its insatiable hunger. When her little sister goes missing, Elena realizes that the beast can only be vanquished if she is brave enough to face it in-person, embrace her identity as a high priestess, and expose her powers to the man she is growing feelings for.

Medžioklė


Regana - Home

Regana stood between the two worlds, watching her sleeping body. When did I become so old?

The wrinkled face, spun-sugar mop, and gnarled fingers in Real-Time bore little resemblance to her divine avatar in the Penumbra. Marks of time mean nothing. She chuckled.

Lithe and nimble as a sprite, Regana kicked off from the boundary and floated through the between, sorting threads of possibility as she passed.

“Goddess of the Crossroads, why draw me here?” She waited for an answer.

Thick fibers of probability whirled and pulsed with light around her, while others faded into implausibility and blinked out.

Soon, her temper frayed. Braiding destinies and untangling misfortunes amused Regana, but her fatigued human body in Real-Time called for rest. “Show me the blasted job and let me get out,” Regana said. “Lady of thresholds, doors, and portals, your priestess readies to serve you.” Her cry echoed through the Penumbra. “What must I do?”

A scarlet rope, thick as an anaconda, whipped out of the tangle and garroted her waist. Hot, near burning, it reeked of dark magic and death.

“See.” The voice hit her like a hammer, and a kaleidoscope of images overwhelmed her mind’s eye. “Be present,” ordered her goddess.


Galahad - McCleary, WA

Across the field, wind stirred the chimes, bells, and bamboo noisemakers hanging from the eaves of the main house.

Galahad dozed in the pasture with an ancient horse blanket covering him.

Frost on the grass and pasture fence resembled snowfall. A freezing fog surged along the paddock, encircling his legs.

He woke. Something was different, unfamiliar. It wasn’t fear, it was curiosity.

With drowsy eyes, he surveyed the tree line. His nostrils flared, sampling the air. There. Hiding beneath the aroma of evergreens, a sickly-sweet stench. A predator.

The old warrior’s heart sped as he readied for a fight. At sixteen hands, he was massive and courageous. Last spring, he ran off a pack of coyotes come to snatch a newborn kid.

Galahad snorted and shook his mane. The frigid air transformed his breath into plumes of steam. He pawed the earth, kicking up divots of soil.

The wind ceased. The chimes quieted.

It struck Galahad, mounting him from behind and wrapping its limbs around Galahad’s belly. The horse arched his back as incisors sank into his neck.

Claws raked his abdomen and up his flanks, scoring slashes through the blanket into his hide. The metallic tang of his blood joined the beast’s stench.

Galahad’s hind legs kicked into his attacker’s midsection, but it only embedded its fangs deeper. Blood spurted from the wound.

The embrace tightened. He bucked, rearing and struggling for footing. The attacker threw Galahad to the ground and remounted.

The stallion screamed.

Teeth ripped flesh from Galahad’s throat, severing his jugular. His sight darkened, and his blood melted the frosted grass. Passing through and away, the horse saw the blackness clinging to his murderer.

The malignant thread released, and Regana’s vision ended. In the mundane world, her eyelids flew open, her heart hammering in her chest.

“Blood-red magic rings the waxing moon.” Her voice croaked with the remains of sleep. “Medžioklė begins.”


(Article from page 3 of The South Sound Gazette)

ANIMAL ATTACK KILLS LIVESTOCK NEAR STATE CAPITOL

6:02 A.M., March 5, 2020

McCleary, Wash. (AP)-Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials reported a twelve-year-old horse was killed by an unknown predator.

Sgt. Odin (Boone) Anderson confirmed the injuries were consistent with a bear or cougar attack. Until they capture the animal, he recommends residents exercise care with children, family pets, and livestock.

The officer said animal attacks near Olympia, the state capitol, are rare.


About the author

Raine Reiter weaves together an empowered, female-centered narrative with rich descriptions of nature and an ever-present sense of mystery. Raine enjoys mythology and folklore. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and wanders the Olympic Peninsula with her silly dog Luke. view profile

Published on January 25, 2021

70000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Fantasy

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