Bottle Demon by Stephen Blackmoore: Ingenious

The Necromancer is dead. Long live the Necromancer.

After being attacked by a demon in the one place he thought he was safe, Eric Carter has been killed, his soul sent to take its place as a stand-in for the Aztec god of death Mictlantecuhtli. But somebody on Earth isn’t done with him, yet. Somebody with the power to bring him back from the dead. He doesn’t know who, and worse he doesn’t know why.

Between an angry death goddess, family secrets steeped in blood, a Djinn who’s biding his time, and a killer mage who can create copy after copy of himself, Eric’s new life looks to be just as violent as his last one. But if he doesn’t get to the bottom of why he’s back, it’s going to be a hell of a lot shorter.

So let me start with this was one heck of a ride. Stephen Blackmoore managed to take his main character, kill him and then bring him back without missing a beat. There is only one other author I’ve seen manage that feat so effortlessly, putting Blackmoore up with the likes of Jim Butcher. Granted, Eric Carter is a necromancer so you’d think he’d have an advantage in rising from the dead but that is not how the author shapes either the plot or the character’s powers. Instead the reason for Eric being back acts as the major plot point of the entire novel, catapulting the action in the novel and motivating the characters. 

As Eric Carter scrambles to find out why he was brought back, in a body without scars and tattoos altered, he discovers he’s been gone five years. Darius, the Djinn, is attempting to free himself which adds all kinds of complications. Eric must not only prevent his escape but deal with all the changes that have occurred in LA and among the mages in his absence.  And as usual, not everyone is terribly thrilled to see him back in the land of the living. Yet, all Eric wants to do is return to his job as the Aztec god of death Mictlantecuhtli. No spoilers but as usual, things don’t go the way Eric wants. 

As usual, it is the fast paced action and snappy dialogue that makes Stephen Blackmoore so successful and a favorite author to read. What makes this book in particular a favorite, though, is how thoroughly the author has thought out the changes in his character and the long term effects. Eric is not the same as the person we’ve known in the last five years. He has much the same humor but he is more thoughtful and less prone to anger. He is also much more likeable. There is still a gritty quality to the books but the changes to the character allow Stephen Blackmoore to reset the world and the character, resolve the major character arc and set Eric Carter on a new path. 

Just like the previous novels, the characters are beyond black and white. Every character, even minor ones, have depth and dimension. Every character pops off the page and the motives of most of them are murky, even occasionally Eric. The world that gives us is intriguing and now that the character has come back from the dead, his character can literally end up anywhere. I have no idea what direction the next story will take but I loved “Bottle Demon” and can’t wait for the next book.  

Rating: 5 out of 5 tattoos

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