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Kept From Cages by Phil Williams – Book Review

Goodreads Synopsis

No one returns from Ikiri.

Reece’s gang of criminal jazz musicians have taken shelter in the wrong house. There’s a girl with red eyes bound to a chair. The locals call her a devil – but Reece sees a kid that needs protecting. He’s more right than he knows.

Chased by a shadowy swordsman and an unnatural beast, the gang flee across the Deep South with the kid in tow. She won’t say where she’s from or who exactly her scary father is, but she’s got powers they can’t understand. How much will Reece risk to save her?

On the other side of the world, Agent Sean Tasker’s asking similar questions. With an entire village massacred and no trace of the killers, he’s convinced Duvcorp’s esoteric experiments are responsible. His only ally is an unstable female assassin, and their only lead is Ikiri – a black-site in the Congo, which no one leaves alive. How far is Tasker prepared to go for answers?

Kept From Cages is the first part in an action-packed supernatural thriller duology, filled with eccentric characters and intricately woven mysteries. Start your journey to Ikiri today. 

Review

I received a copy of this book from the author for review and can confirm all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Kept from cages is part fantasy, part mystery, part horror and Collins’ writing style had my flying through the pages. Reece and his gang of criminal musicians have just pulled off the biggest job of their lives. But it all goes wrong when they pull up to a farmhouse for help and find a girl terrified and tied to a chair. Criminals they may be, but they are criminals with morals and Reece and the rest of the gang know there is no chance they are leaving her behind. But the girl has secrets, deadly secrets, and a power that no one can explain. When people start getting hurt, Reece has to decided how far he and the gang will do to save the girl. Agent Sean Tasker is about to dive headfirst into a mystery he has little idea how to solve. After finding an entire village murdered and no trace of the killer, he ends up partnering with an eccentric assassin and heading to Ikiri, a mountain deep in the African Congo where he hopes to find the answers, but what they find instead is a mystery above their understanding.

Set in the same world as Williams’ ‘Under Ordhsaw’ I thought I knew what I was getting myself in for, but this book seems so much deeper. It’s mix of genres keep us as the reader on our feet. There were times I laughed, times I got upset, brilliantly described action scenes that had me glued to the pages and almost horror style parts that made sure I slept with the light on. You don’t need to have read any of the Ordshaw books before picking this one up because, even though set in the same universe, the characters and plot deviate from his other series.

If this is one thing Phil Williams does well it’s writing eccentric and quirky characters that you can’t help but fall a little in love with. Kept From Cages follows two different plot lines. On one side we have Reece and his ‘band’ of criminal misfits. Though Reece is the main perspective we read from, Williams does a brilliant job in ensuring we bond with each and every member of his crew; Caleb, the youngest and certainly the most naive, Stomatt the loud battering ram with no filter and Leigh-Ann both ball busting, gentle-hearted. And then there is Reece himself, criminal he may be, he has the best intentions at heart, he simply wants his crew, his family to lead a better life, one away from the criminals they grew up with, a life where they can play music and travel. The other plot line follows Agent Tasker and Katryzna. Tasker is a Ministry official who isn’t quite sure how he got roped into this mystery, but once he got his teeth into it there was little anyone could do to stop him finding the truth. Katryzna, a female assassin gave me major Villanelle vibes (Killing Eve.) Someone who regularly gets described as slightly crazy, which isn’t helped by her talking to the invisible Rurik, her almost conscience, but there is no one else you would want on your side in a fight.

I had a clue where the story was going and then bam! Plot twist! Though a few of my theories were proven right Williams still managed to throw a few bombs in there, and there are plenty of twists throughout the book to keep you guessing and invested in the outcome. If you’re looking for a high adventure style book, with brilliantly written characters and a perfect mash-up of genres then look no further.

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