The War of the Snakes - Julian Cheek (Blog Tour)
Updated: Apr 20, 2020
"“Dreams can’t be real, can they?”
Such is the gnawing question reverberating through Sam’s head as he battles with a dilemma, which refuses to be ignored.
In his dreams, he is always confronted by one simple point: Muanga-Atua exists! And for some un-asked for and un-wanted reason, he - Sam - is expected to save this place from the calamity that engulfs the people of the Turangai. Not only that, but he is also supposed to have some sort of incredible power by which he is expected to destroy both the Bjarke and their leader, Lord Elim, the Turangai’s oppressors.
“But that is ridiculous! Right?”
Determined to ignore all that occurs in this so-called ‘dream world’, he does nothing. That is until one cold, grey, autumn morning a TV news flash captures a shocking series of events, which leads to one undeniable truth; what he has tried to ignore all along in Muanga-Atua has somehow incredibly exploded into his world and it is searching... Searching for him.
His do-nothing approach is just not good enough. Not now. He will have to go back to Muanga-Atua to seek out this power he was supposed to have obtained. Find the power, accept what it can do through him, and go out into that awful place to do battle with someone, or something that makes his very blood run cold.
But how? How can he go into this world and be all that the Turangai think he is, when he still cannot accept the truth? That he is ‘The One’. Sam, Wielder of the Staff of the Ethereals and saviour of their world. And now, apparently, of his own as well."
I received The Awakened and The War of the Snakes by Julian Cheek for free as part of a blog tour. Thank you for @Faye_Reads and @Authoright for this opportunity. Faye is a book tour organiser and a publicist for Authoright. Feel free to get in touch if you can help out with any blog tours, there are a lot of indie books that need some love due to the current circumstances with COVID-19.
There are lots of awesome bloggers on this blog tour! Here is the banner if you fancy having a look ❤️
Although this blog tour is primarily for The War of the Snakes, I do talk a little bit about The Awakened as well as it really sets the scene for the worldbuilding and the characters for the series. Even though The War of the Snakes has a good prologue recapping the first book, it would be worth reading the first to get the full picture! Plus please be aware of any spoilers for the first.
The Ethereal Series starts with The Awakened. Our protagonist is Sam, a troubled young boy struggling after his brothers' death. He is misunderstood and angry at the world. He has no support and a heartbreakingly horrible relationship with his parents. However, there is something special about Sam. Every time he goes to sleep he enters what he believes to be a dreamworld called Muanga-Atua. Everyone there is convinced that he is their long lost hero, 'Sam of the Shades' their chosen one. Returned to defeat the evil plaguing their lands. Sam has no idea what they're talking about and is sure that he is just stuck in a weird dream. Until the magic starts seeping into his own world and he can no longer deny the truth.
Now, in The War of the Snakes, Sam may no longer be in denial about Muanga-Atua but he still has a long and perilous journey in front of him in order to get his memories back and prepare for the final battle.
I thought the concept of the book was really intriguing. Who wouldn't want to escape reality into a magical dreamworld? It really reminded me of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman!
Sam is a compassionate character who wants to do whatever he can to save his friends, he is brave and has a ton of pressure on his shoulders. It was good to see him be more open in this book, especially when it comes to talking about his brother. It was good character development, a sign that maybe he is starting to heal. He is lucky to have allies in both worlds and a good camaraderie with these friends. They are the ones who help him realise that he just needs to have more faith in himself. As well as reuniting with these old friends, the reader is also introduced to some interesting new characters which add even more to the story.
Together they're going to try and defeat the Bjarke who destroy everything in their wake and are merciless and cruel soldiers for Lord Elim. The fate of both worlds rests on a mixture of humans, gods, angels and demons. What could go wrong?
I enjoyed that in this book we got to explore Muanga-Atua more. We only got to see parts of it in the first book, but in The War of the Snakes the story is practically set there. It's great to see the world building set in the first book come into fruition. I especially loved the padmes - a creature that every person in the world is born with and connected with for life. It definitely made me think of His Dark Materials!
The War of the Snakes is an elaborate fantasy with good humour and action - an interesting read.
Thank you again to Faye, Authoright and Julian Cheek for the opportunity to read these books. You can find out more about the author below. The War of the Snakes can be found on GoodReads and Amazon. You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram!
About the Author
I am an architect by profession and have been practicing for almost thirty years. My passion for design and for creating lasting spaces has pushed me to the forefront of this field and some of my projects include Mercedes World in Brooklands, NikeTown in Berlin and Europe’s largest pharmaceutical project for Hexal in East Germany. Currently, as Head of Design for a leading International developer, I am looking after the design and delivery of the first Versace-branded residential tower in Europe, in London.
It has long been my drive to challenge and test the people I work with, to demonstrate to their respective audiences how best to explain a concept. It is this vision that I hold closely to in my direction in creating stories and ideas such that the reader is also able to quickly understand what the story is about, and also to associate themselves with it and the characters within.
I live with my partner and our dog in Hampshire. Collectively, our four children have all grown up and flown the nest and we now enjoy seeing our own children learn themselves the tough lessons that life sometimes throws one. Mitch, my partner, is my inspiration and joy. She is my rock and we often discuss ideas for plot lines ( we both write) and both love bouncing ideas off each other.
The subject matter that forms the trilogy, “The Ethereal Series”, of which “The War of the Snakes” is book two, was brewing in my mind for quite a few years. I wanted to explore the idea where the “the good guy” doesn’t always win. I describe this as “In our lives, we all often hit obstacles that cause us to react, sometimes with frustration, rage, despair. Often, we carry this burden by ourselves, too afraid, and at times, too British, to share these with others”. The series, tries to unpick the various and numerous layers of the “onion skin” that Sam, the main protagonist, has built up around himself over the years, due to a tragedy he is unable to cope with. It is, hopefully, a story that a great many readers will associate themselves with, either from personal experience, or through friends who have gone through deep valleys, or may still be in them. The book is not intended to be too dark, so a few wobbly bridges are thrown it at times so that the reader is reminded that all is OK ultimately.”
As a Christian, my faith is important to me, as are my beliefs. A life message I have learned and now try to carry around with me, is that every person is precious. It does not matter what creed, race, sexual orientation, religious standing or place in society one finds themselves in, rather what does matter, is that when all the “stuff” is peeled away, whether self-built or applied by others, God sees us for who we really are; which is a beautiful creation, made wonderfully, and with care and attention. I try to share this in my outlook and acceptance of others. This lesson has been taught, often through extreme tragedy and loss, as well as times of great joy. These are reflected in the various scenes Sam and his family find themselves in.
The bright times include when I spent my youth growing up in South Africa. As a child
growing up in what, for me, was a beautiful country, where kids did not differentiate between skin colour or culture, the pure exhilaration of being able to explore the mountains, the lakes and rivers and the landscapes, often at great peril to life and limb, cemented a rich tapestry in my life that helped me to look outward and see how peaceful things are, when one is able to turn one’s head to one side for a moment and smell the flowers.
A darker side was the struggle when my two children were diagnosed with an incredibly rare genetic disorder of which, only 12 have been recorded. The first child was born in Germany and whilst I could speak German, the medical and technical issues around the condition and trying to speak to doctors about it, led to extreme periods of sadness. Often, I was told by one of the doctors that, in their opinion, my daughter had this or that condition, and would probably die before they were 4. The angst that came from this, only to find out some months later, that actually, the doctors were shown to be wrong and that my daughter now had “this” condition (probably), and that life expectancy was not very good, was beyond description.
In this darkness, a light was switched on by the healing touch of a wonderful church, and of being introduced to many other children who were in a much worse condition than my daughter. I learned that it was OK to be scared and afraid and worried, but that if I looked outside for a moment, all was at peace. The children are now both leading active “normal” lives and are 24 and 21 respectively and they both delight and frustrate as children do. I wouldn’t swap them for the world. Valuable life lesson there.
Both me and Mitch enjoy painting. For me, my forte is portraiture and I find that by studying this subject matter, it helps me to see the nuances that make up a person’s face or a setting for a scenic composition. It is a challenge to try to capture the character. A lesson I take with me when writing.
In conclusion, if there was a strap line I would want to adopt or uphold, it would probably be, “Laugh when there is no reason to, and never forget to stop looking out. Peace reigns even in the worst of chaos!” I trust that the reader will immerse themselves in “The War of the Snakes” as well as my first published novel of the series, “The Awakened” and be there ready to support me and the travails of Sam when book three comes to print in Autumn 2021.