Flesh Eater by Travis M. Riddle ~ Book One Of Houndstooth

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08LMSGFDB/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55760138-flesh-eater

Thank you for paying a visit to OllieSpot. My posts have been rare for a few months now.  Life’s difficulties had progressively consumed any creative thoughts or projects I had hoped to complete in my spare time. The worst is how those worries, played on repeat in my head constantly. With an employment change, my kids making it thru the 2020/2021 school year, and some mental effort to release all the fear of what will happen when some things are beyond my grasp to change and hope that events won’t be as bad as it always seems like they will.

Synopsis

Branded as a Flesh Eater, Coal is on the run from Palace Stingers: soldiers tasked with tracking down those who have consumed flesh and locking them away in specialized prisons.

After a year of avoiding capture and struggling to scrape by working odd jobs for a local crime lord, Coal is growing desperate. He learns of someone in the city’s underbelly who can erase his record, but her services don’t come cheap.

Seeing no other option, he enters a spiderback race with a grand prize valuable enough to pay for his fresh start. But he’s not the only one after the prize, and Coal is about to find out exactly how far he’s willing to go to win.

Review

Moving forward and to the point of this post, Flesh Eater by Travis M. Riddle was a memorable book in countless ways for me. I didn’t think this would be the case after my struggle to get past the idea that the characters were all animals. Being mainly a scifi, space opera and dark fantasy fulfilled reader, something about the synopsis was giving me a hangup. For someone who likes to proclaim my open mindedness in all things, I was letting myself down. Paving the way though was my previous experience with the authors work. Spit and Song was so enjoyable and a book I would eagerly read again, just to have the company of the great characters Riddle created. Once I started Flesh Eater with a clear mind, it didn’t take more than a couple pages before I remembered why I was so eager to read anything by Travis after completing Spit and Song for a Storytellers On Tour event.

Travis has begun a series with  a combination of enigmatic characters, built on a totally unique mix of human and animal characteristics in a world that unfolds mysteries in a simple, yet, enigmatic style. The world is fully realized and flows around the main character Coal so easily.

On to Coal. Coal is a fox who we meet after a year on the run from an unfortunate event in his hometown tied to the death of his father. He’s joined an old friend who has “connections” and is giving him the opportunity to make some cash, that will help Coal continue to fund his lonely adventure of being on the run from the “Dirt Kings” police.

This leads to the awareness of a Spiderback Race some distance away but that would provide a nice chunk of change to the winner, in the form of an anteater claw, thought to be very rare, and worth a lot of money to at least a few wealthy people. People that are eagerly hoping to obtain the claw for their own personal reasons. This seems to good to be true, as Coal has been provided the opportunity to buy his way out of his outlaw status. As a previous amatuer Spiderback racer, his decision is a fairly easy one for him to make. Not without its own obstacles to overcome. He doesn’t even own a spider, for one.

If you’ve read any of Riddles work you know how easily the words flow into an engaging story. He hits the mark, dead center with Flesh Eater.

But what she did was…hmm, it is hard to put into words. It was like each stage of the animal’s life was flowing into the next, in one fluid piece of white stone. My favorite was her rendition of a vey, which had four parts: an egg, a hatchling, an adolescent, and then a full-grown adult, and it was carved in such a way that it…it looked like there was movement to it, like the vey was taking flight.

From this point on the story follows Coal as he adventures to the City where the race will be held. He travels alone but by fascinating means and so begins the real adventure that builds in to what will be an epic fantasy series with its own unique genre brand of twists and turns.

The world populated by humanistic animals created so many interesting scenes along the way. The amazing Spiderback race for one. But I really enjoyed the cities, which were predominantly resided and designed by one dominant species and cannot wait to see more of them as the series continues.

The last quarter of the book was a full on drive by and what seems to be a unique and adventurous story sets the stage for something much bigger and fantastical that should not be missed. I cannot recommend Flesh Eater enough.

In the end, I don’t think I’ve ever felt like a character was as real as I did with Coal. I feel like I had a friend in the book in some ways and am 100% on board for the next book, Mother Pig, coming very soon from Travis.

TRAVIS M. RIDDLE lives with his pooch in Austin, TX, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in English Writing & Rhetoric at St. Edward’s University. His work has been published in award-winning literary journal the Sorin Oak Review. He is the author of such works as Balam, Spring and The Narrows, which Publishers Weekly praised for its “intricate worldbuilding and familiar but strong narrative arc.”

Find Travis on instagram

Find him on Twitter @traviswanteat

or at www.travismriddle.com

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