Centuries ago, they nearly conquered humankind. But their Gate to our world closed, leaving them out. Now the elves have found a way back.
Ella Benson, agent of the Paranormal Bureau, fights the Shades when they cross into our world, keeping everyone safe.
But increasingly dangerous creatures are slipping into her city, her work partner has just gone missing, and a mysterious – and, quite frankly, hot — guy saves her life. His name is Finn and, as it turns out, he’s a natural when it comes to fighting the Shades.
When the Gates between the worlds start opening and the elves make a comeback, Ella needs a new, temporary partner. Enlisting the mysterious Finn is a no-brainer, until she realizes he is guarding dangerous secrets of his own.
Together with Finn, and the fate of the world on her shoulders, what’s Ella to do but grab her weapons and figure it all out, one way or another.
Chrystalla Thoma’s Boreal and John Grey has become one of my new favourite urban fantasy/paranormal book series. Absolutely hooked from the cover and first pages alone, I could not bear to put this book down (and I had to being the summer hols, spending time with my kids and all)!! There is definitely something for everyone (say 15yrs+) with this magical story of the human world having Gates appear from another world, where it brings Shades, snakes, dragons, dwarves and goblins, not to mention sexy elves! The story itself is complete with action and adventure, mystery and romance.
Ella Benson is an agent for the Paranormal Bureau and we begin the story with Ella investigating a report of an attack by a Shade. She is supposed to be meeting up with her partner, Simon, but when there is no sign of him she is left to tackle the Shades alone. The reader is made aware of the trouble that the Shades have begun to cause within the first few pages, how easily they can attack and the mystery of where Simon is.
The reader is also introduced to the hero of the series, Finn (although the series centres mostly on Ella being the heroine). Whilst having fought the Shades, Simon not showing – Ella is a little confused when she thinks she sees a man fighting off the Shades. Did she bang her head during the fight? Is she hallucinating?
Without Simon, and the Shades appearing more and more, causing trouble all over the city, Ella needs a partner. Who else is there to consider but Finn! He is aware of the situation and he seems to handle himself well in fighting them off, not to mention a little protective of Ella!!! As Finn becomes injured a little later, and with no place to go, Ella takes him in until he can stand on his feet and move into his own place.
The romantic magic is written beautifully as these two characters learn more about the other (Ella more than Finn)! However, doubts and caution come into play when Ella begins to believe that Finn may not be quite who she thought he was. Finn doesn’t help the situation as he remains a little grumpy on/off with one word answers but it is Ella’s suspicious mind that begins to see a little more into who Finn really is!
Throughout the whole season I did not doubt that Ella was a strong heroine and felt that she could survive anything. And yet I love how Ella still reads as a feminine character with not too much machoism and she has a caring personality where her friends and colleagues are concerned, and Finn!!! There are times, however, when the reader real feels Finn’s vulnerable side but even in some grave situations he remains protective to Ella. There are moments when the reader will question Finn’s actions, however!
I couldn’t help but view Finn’s character like that of Eric from ‘True Blood’ (especially the time when Eric cannot remember who he is – he is emotionally vulnerable and yet protective of Sookie). With his pale skin, blue eyes, beautifully set cheek bones plus the fact that he is able to look after himself there are also moments when Finn becomes injured and needs to be nursed by Ella. But even in times of being injured he will defend and protect Ella.
Boreal and John Grey (Complete Season One) consists of five books: The Encounter, The Gate, The Dragon, The Dream and The Truth. One of my favourite aspects of these books is the way in which they are written as ‘episodes’ of a series. I find books written in this manner pack as much action/adventure and story into each book, keeping it very much alive and at the same time the reader gets to know the characters gradually over the whole series. I also find that each subsequent ‘episode’/book will subtley recap the reader or introduce the new reader to the events of the story, allowing the reader to keep informed with the full plot! Chrystalla Thoma’s Boreal and John Grey (The Complete Season One) is no exception to this.
This series offers a great deal of realism from the characters having believable characteristics, including their flaws (i.e. vulnerabilities, confusion of events, mood swings, etc), and the focus on various myths and legends from historical era’s worldwide. After reading this series, along with Chrystalla Thoma’s bio, the reader can see how imaginative Chrystalla has been in taking modern life, realistic settings with Ella being an investigative agent and then opening up the story that dates back centuries with elves trying to conquer our world after Gates begin to open between their world and ours.
I would like to thank Chrystalla Thoma for inviting us to review her fantastic season of Boreal and John Grey for the purpose of an honest and fair review. Without the review request I may not have come across this 5 star work of fiction. I hope there is another series to come with these brilliant characters, their relationship and how they can save the world.
Reviewed by Caroline Barker
Greek Cypriot with a penchant for dark myths, good food, and a tendency to settle down anywhere but at home, Chrystalla likes to write about fantastical creatures, crazy adventures, and family bonds. After having lived in France, England, Germany and Costa Rica, she now lives in Cyprus with her husband and enjoys wandering the countryside sampling local food and wine. She writes mainly fantasy and science fiction, primarily for a young adult and new adult public, and her stories have appeared in many magazines and anthologies.
Author links/contact info:
If you would like to try Book One, The Encounter, of the Boreal and John Grey Series you can find it for FREE on both Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com (please note that all prices are correct at the time of publishing this post).