Title: Wake of the Sadico
Author: Jo Sparkes
Genre: Magic realism/Horror/Suspense
Rating: Three stars
** I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **
** Beware the spoilers! **
“A trap laid centuries ago – for five souls moved on to new lives.
Set by the one they left behind.
For a displaced Brit haunted by his past – and the past before that – exploring a shipwreck is just the distraction he needs. Actual treasure hunting in the Caribbean.
Until the Treasure starts hunting them back.”
* * *
The cover for Wake of the Sadico promised a really good read and, in summary, it didn’t entirely fulfil its promise.
This book had me confused and a bit bored at times. While the narrative was well-written and the dialogue pretty good, the story fell flat. Not much happens throughout the book until the very end. We see a few fairly uneventful dives by the main characters and a cool past life sequence for one of the characters which introduces us to the notion of reincarnation, but other than those things, barely anything happens until the very end.
The climax was action-packed, for sure, but it didn’t make much sense. The main antagonist is a magical vortex, whose origins and purpose aren’t clarified and neither are its motives. In the end, it is defeated by a piece of magical cloth that one of the characters happened to have on them. The characters stumbled accidentally into this chaos and in the same manner, the accidentally stumble out of it without much effort on their part.
The characters don’t have a great deal of chemistry and while their individual personalities are displayed fairly well, they don’t interact well. Several of the characters had romantic feelings for each other but it was impossible to tell until the story spelled it out and even then, I couldn’t feel their chemistry.
The best parts of Wake of the Sadico for me were the throwbacks to the 1600s. They were interesting, action-packed and a lot more emotive. If the main story had been set in the 1600s and maintained its high passion and high stakes, this would have been a five-star read for sure. I’d love to read the story of the characters in their past lives.
It was difficult to get through this book because so little happened and lots of unnecessary details were included. But the writing was not amateur, bar the few typos and misused words, and rather than DNF it, I wanted to give this one a decent chance. It’s a very slow burn with a decent climax but the climax itself doesn’t make a lot of sense.
I feel like the author is more suited to writing historical or historical urban fantasy because the passion really showed through in the snippets set in the 1600s. I wouldn’t be inclined to read any more suspense novels from this author but I would roll the dice on some magical history.
Thanks for reading!