Happy Book Birthday “Huntsmaster City”! My Thoughts on the sequel to “The Dancing Crow” & “Red Viper”

I’m pleased to talk about the favorite book I’ve written of the four so far, Huntsmaster City! This is the sequel to The Dancing Crow & Red Viper, where all of those character interactions come together for a glorious finale. This book also introduces magical training and mythical monsters like the hydra.

I think the most important thing about the book, however, is the ships. I hear foghorns in the distance, because two key ships come together. I’ll talk about my thoughts on them toward the end of this post since there’s spoilers. If you’re interested in my series and want to see my thoughts on these important ships, and don’t mind spoilers, feel free to read on. I’ll put my spoiler warning when I do talk about it.

Generally, though, I utilized the book to teach lessons. There’s definitely themes of religious trauma with regard to Cecelia. How she deals with that, however, is something you’ll have to read. She has an important quote at the end however, during one of the huge turning points of the story, that I hope resonates well with some folks. Also, she did not become sex-repulsed from her past of trafficking. I wanted to show that being with someone who cares about you and wants you to feel safe during intimacy can be possible (and not in EVERY case, just in some cases) and some folks enjoy sex despite the past.

This is an important point for me, as someone who battled for years as someone who was very interested in sex but who had a horrible fear of it. Years of therapy, and help from my lover, finally fixed that. Someone going through sexual trauma as a child will not always be sex-repulsed(AGAIN this just applies to some people including me), and can end up enjoying intimacy immensely.

That aside, I have an enemies-to-lovers trope and show trauma from torture with one of my characters. I wanted to show that a strong man can and will rely on their partner at times, and that’s perfectly okay. Relying on someone else isn’t a bad thing if the relationship isn’t toxic.

That said, let’s look at some glowing reviews for my book!

I am so honored to have this review from the lovely Danni! Everything about this makes me smile, and yes, showing consent/positive relationships are something I strive to do. I also adore when people find my characters irresistible. Ares happens to be one of my favorite characters; I have too much fun writing him! He’s become one of my main characters across many worlds I play with, be it writing, D&D, or video games.

I adore this review as well from the awesome Reyadh. I love reviews that point out the issues and qualms had with the books as well; things like this are valuable for me to keep in mind going forward. I’d written ‘monsters’ as a non-negative word for the book, but it didn’t come across correctly, and it’s a very good thing to point out! As for my fight scenes, I do take quite a bit of pride in them, so I’m really glad they hit their mark.

Warning: Spoilers Below!

This piece is by gynesisx!

This ship is badass, not going to lie. Robert Smoke x Darcia Deville is a vampire x shifter couple that I had a blast writing. They had a lot of buildup in Red Viper, which came to fruition here. Smoke has definitely come to rely on Darcia throughout the story, and vice versa. The two are very much in tune to one another’s emotions. They will snap at one another from time to time, but that’s always resolved by calming down and talking things out. They are very gentle with one another, though at the same time, to-the-point.

Smoke is a great example of an antihero, a bad-guy-gone-good. I was hoping to shift the reader’s perception of him from hatred in Red Viper to actually liking him in Huntsmaster City. I personally really like his character (‘shocking’ given I’M THE AUTHOR haha!) and how much he grew through the series.

Then, we have Ares x Cecelia. I need more ship art of these two… anyway, this is the flawed relationship up until the end. Cecelia treated Ares pretty terribly…okay, that’s an understatement, and he went out of his way to constantly help her. It worked out in the end, but damn was the road there hard. Their relationship turns very healthy, with Ares continuing to be supportive, through the end of the book and into the Cobratongue Saga. I wanted to show Ares as this big tough guy that could also be very sensitive and with a heart.

End Spoilers

All of my male characters will cry in my books at some point, which is very important. One of the main messages of my works is that showing emotion is not weakness at all, but rather, it’s a matter of strength–as is relying on someone else you can trust. Not being dependent, mind you, just being able to relax with someone, be comfortable, and fight with them.

One important thing to note about this book is that it can be read as standalone! I was surprised to see one of my awesome readers say that (in the review above), but not because it wasn’t intentional. I detailed previous happenings in the first couple of chapters pretty well, and was hoping it would have that effect. Given this is the favorite book I’ve written so far, followed by Cobratongue University: Professors & Kings, that’s super important and means a lot.

Feel free to click on the character names here that have links attached to read more about them! I did not talk much about Goliath & Sam because their ship is built in Red Viper, which has its own post.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the series if you check it out!

Published by Des M. Astor

Heya, I'm an author. Typically I write Urban Fantasy, and I only usually read in that genre as well. My author's website is both a writing blog and a showcase for my work. Check it out if you'd like.

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