A Review of The Ark Brothers
by Paul Leicht
Power, revenge, justice. Delving into a relatively new fiction genre and crafting a story filled with a compelling and uniquely likable hero is no easy task, but Hoke succeeds brilliantly in his debut novel. The Ark Brothers is a fascinating tale of mystery, magic, betrayal, hatred, and love that has more appeal than the average run-of-the mill work of urban fantasy.
The novel maintains a fast pace of events, the appearance of numerous characters, and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat waiting for what comes next. At a young age, Joseph completes his initiation into the magical Order by capturing a member of the Brotherhood. He soon finds Raki, a tailless kitsune, who reveals that the Order is not what it seems and has much to do with the disappearance of his parents.
What Joseph and his friends discover changes everything, and now they are in a fight for their very survival. The war is on and Joseph is at ground zero. With the aid of magic, Joseph is frequently attacked while on the run fighting to understand erased memories that have compelling significance for him and the road he is about to travel. Together, he and his companions devise a plan to sneak into the Order’s mansion to obtain an artifact that will help them in their quest. Dodging ambushes by likely and unlikely antagonists, Joseph relentlessly pursues his course against the Order, but is it fate that he must do so? Hoke’s novel is a work that forces us to reconsider the forces of free will versus fate.
Hoke’s world-building skills are evident throughout the book and the pacing is first rate. The chemistry between the protagonists is at times explosive and the connections are far deeper than they at first appear. The characters are very well developed, with great villains that you love to hate and a unique story line in a growing genre of urban fantasy. There are obvious set-ups for later plot lines in the book, but converted readers are likely to ignore this.
The Ark Brothers has much more action than the average example of urban fantasy fiction, if you can believe it. Hoke breathes satisfying depth into the characters, their interactions, and the dark plot building as the chapters unfold. It is a captivating journey of struggle against outside forces and internal memories. The work is deftly written and presents a well-crafted tale with a refreshing twist. Once the reader gets past the first chapter, there is never a dull moment. Admittedly, while the novel can be somewhat formulaic on the action sequence side, the story is far from ordinary. Readers will anticipate the constantly changing turn of events and will be surprised by the satisfying ending, which doubles as a lead into the next installment of this highly recommended series by newcomer Hoke.