Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Dark Stranger by I. T. Lucas books 1-3 Review

A friend recently recommended the Children of the Gods series by I.T. Lucas and I found a fresh take on a genre that is getting somewhat stale. Her premise of a near immortal race that have been living amongst us since the beginning of time that were descended from Gods is a unique take on the origins of Greek and Roman mythology plus a bit of Vampire lore thrown in for good measure.
Books 1-3 are the love story of Kian and Syssi's story and you can't read out of order or really review one without the others.
So sit back and enjoy my review(s) of the first three novels in the series on audible plus a Q&A courtesy of Ms. Lucas's website.



Book 1                 Book 2                               Book 3


 Q&A courtesy Ms. Lucas

WHAT INSPIRED THE CHILDREN OF THE GODS SERIES?
Reflecting upon the mythologies of the Sumerians, the Egyptians, the Assyrians, Greeks, Romans and Norse, it struck me that their pantheons bore remarkable similarities, and it got me thinking, what if at the source of those myths were events and personalities that left an impact so profound that their echoes could be heard in the mythologies of civilizations continents and millennia apart. 
The most fascinating were the original, the Sumerians, and yet they're not as well known as the others. More than seven thousand years ago, the Sumerian civilization had been more advanced – socially as well as scientifically – than those that came much later. The records found in archeological digs tell the story of an advanced society that knew all about our solar system and placed the sun in its center, with schools for children, both girls and boys, laws that protected personal property and afforded women the kind of rights they hadn't enjoyed since Sumer's decline and up until modern times. 
The Sumerians accredited their gods with providing them with not only the blueprints for their civilization, and their advanced scientific knowledge, but with the creation of humankind itself – a hybrid they engineered for menial labor, combining the genetic material of a god and a less advanced creature. The abbreviated version of their creation myth isn't the only one to find its way into the bible, modified of course to fit its monotheistic agenda. Adam and Eve and the garden of eden, the garden of the gods, are there as well. Though in the Sumerian version, the snake is a sympathetic god who decides to grant them knowledge of a carnal nature (which is the way the term knowledge, or to know is used throughout the bible), giving humans the ability to procreate, which as hybrids they previously lacked.  Another god, the head of the Sumerian pantheon, throws them out of the gods' garden, worried that he humans would rapidly multiply and pose a threat to the gods (implying that the gods were not as fruitful). The biblical story of the gods taking human mates, and the many children born from these unions – the near-immortals as I call them in my series – is also an abbreviated version of the Sumerian original. There are many more examples, in stories adapted for other mythologies as well as the bible, in which the Sumerian original makes much more sense, portraying the gods not as capricious and callous, but mostly as judicious and well meaning.
Still, if it wasn't for a very modern day event, these musings might've never coalesced into a story. Learning of the Stuxnet computer worm – a virus that managed to damage the Iranian nuclear program – a computer program so ingenious, it seemed like alien technology, I couldn't help but think that perhaps we were given a little help, a nudge in the right direction… 
And that's how the idea for Children of the Gods was born – Ancient Sumerian mythology meets modern day computer technology.

WHY PARANORMAL ROMANCE?
I've always loved paranormal romance, with its larger than life alpha males, females that can kick some serious butt, and heart pounding adventures with a hefty dose of the extraordinary. Trouble was, even those that were well written and exciting, made no attempts to be even remotely believable, which bothered my logical mind. I can conceive of Vampires being a divergent species that have been hiding under our noses from time immemorial, but tracing from place to place in a cloud of molecules (that includes their clothes and weapons) is too much of a stretch. On the other hand, the ability to manipulate human minds to believe that they just poof out of existence, for me at least, is more plausible, and the same holds true for shape shifters and other mythological creatures. As to turning into a pile of ash in the sun, again, no such animal could exist in nature for obvious reasons, but there are plenty who shun the sun and suffer ill effects when exposed to it, as are many who utilize fangs and venom for various purposes, and those who have eyes that glow in the dark.
Still, myths as persistent and as prevailing as the vampire, the shapeshifter, the phoenix and other mythical creatures, as well as modern time UFO and alien sightings, might not be purely the product of overactive imaginations. So, are they real or imagined? Or perhaps something in between, like very realistic, induced hallucinations, and misconceptions originating from encounters with members of an advanced species who exhibit some of the characteristics attributed to all those mythical creatures. Hm…
I made my best to leave the reader with the impression that it could happen, that the near-immortals in my story could exist, portraying them as an advanced version of humans. They are extremely long lived and possess amazing regeneration abilities – which according to science, at least in theory, would some day be possible with the help of genetic manipulation. The less diluted members of the older generations have some minor sensitivity to the sun, but it's manageable with dark sunglasses and covered skin. (In the Sumerian depictions, by the way, their gods often sport what looks like goggles.) They have fangs, not to suck blood, but to administer venom. Their hearts beat and they eat and sleep, but they can appear dead, remaining in stasis for extremely long periods until brought back to life. Hence the 'undead'. And of course, the powerful mind control they have over humans, and again, not all possess the same level of skill, with some more talented than others in the various paranormal abilities they exhibit.

ANY OF THE CHARACTERS BASED ON REAL PEOPLE?
No, most are either made up, or are a mix of several people I know. Amanda's dramatic flare, for example, is based on my old piano teacher who had been the quintessential drama queen. 
Annani has some of me (but of course, writers often feel like gods when creating their stories), but the warm, whole hearted welcome she gives Syssi is based on the actual words my mother-in-law had said to me when we had first met. I included this in my story  to show that some mothers and daughters-in-law get along fabulously, and as part of a my larger theme of meaningful female friendships. I don't appreciate women putting down other women, or buying into the negative stereotypes men like to attach to us.  I'm not going to portray every female character as an angel, there would be some rotten apples of the female variety in future installments, but don't expect a lot of back stubbing or cat fights.


My Review
Dark Stranger: The Dream-Revealed-Immortal
Books 1-3 in The Children of the Gods Series
I.T. Lucas

Books 1 through 3 of Lucas’s Children of the Gods series
Lucas’s Children of the Gods series is unique, eye opening and addicting. Her premise of descendants of Gods battling it out through the centuries and almost wiping out each other and the human race is excitingly fresh in a genre gone stale. The race may be ancient but they surround themselves with all the current luxuries and technologies.  With a plucky dialogue, action packed scenes and unforgettable characters they’re hard to put down and almost impossible to stop at just one.

Books one through three is Kian and Syssi’s story and must be read in order. In these first books of the series you will meet most of the characters, learn their history and will become intimate with a few key players. Lovers of all things urban fantasy, myth lovers and fans of kick-butt hero and heroines this is for you.
AUDIBLE:
The audible edition narrated by Charles Lawrence gives the listener a deeper perspective of the story by magnifying all the emotions and actions of the characters. His seductive baritone does a great job with all the voices and the intonations of the very different characters, females and males, human and immortals.
SUMMARY:
From the beginning of time there have been near immortal beings who have molded humanity, been the object of worship but who as a race almost destroyed each other and human civilization.
Now only two Gods are left both sworn enemies:
The followers of Morta, the Doomers and the descendants of the Goddess Annani.

Kian, the son of Annani is the leader of his clan all descendant of the Goddess they live a lonely existence denied true love because the only other of their kind are their greatest enemy. When Kian’s sister, Amanda discovers that humans who have certain psychic traits could be in fact dormants of their kind he’s skeptical until he meets her assistant and most likely candidate, Syssi and falls head over heels in lust with her.
Syssi knows she landed the perfect job as Dr. Amanda Dokani’s lab assistant that is until there is a break in at the lab and Amanda insists she stays with her until the danger passes. When Syssi meet’s Amanda’s gorgeous, unsettling brother, her whole world turns upside down and she has no idea what’s in store for her.

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Meet I.T.
I.T. Lucas, author of the Children of The Gods series, lives in Southern California with her five favorite guys. Ever since she'd met the love of her life at a high-school party, they've been doing everything together; from majoring in business and then starting and running their own, to raising four wonderful boys.
A voracious reader, her interests run the gamut from fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal romance, to forays into the mythologies and histories of ancient civilizations, philosophy, the nature of the universe – physical and metaphysical, and more.
Still, if not for her sons' insistence, she would've never thought of incorporating this fascinating trove of information into fiction. Of course, what they had in mind were not the smart yet steamy paranormal-romance novels she ended up writing… which they can't read… Their dad, naturally, reads everything, offers suggestions, and with the right incentives, proofreads.