Book Review - PATERNUS: RISE OF GODS by Dyrk Ashton

(Title: Paternus: Rise of Gods / Author: Dyrk Ashton / Publisher: Paternus Books Media / Publication Date: May 1, 2016)

Dyrk Ashton is a man of a thousand faces, or a thousand jobs at least.  I mean the guy has worn so many hats throughout his life and according to his bio, he's been a Grip, a Production Manager, a Producer of television commercials, an Editor, a Script-Writer, an Assistant Director, even an Actor!  Ultimately when the native of Ohio realized that the movie scene in L.A. was pretty cutthroat and competitive and he was barely making a living, he decided to get his PhD and become a College Professor of Film Studies.  

Yeah because most people would do the same in that scenario right?  I mean, the guy is incredibly accomplished and resilient.  It was during his time as a professor that he realized he had some down time to read and subsequently to write a little as well.  I guess he figured he'd done everything else, why not try his hand at this whole Fantasy novel writing thing too?  Well, PATERNUS: RISE OF GODS is the result of all of his life experiences up to this point and I was fortunate enough to be provided a copy by the man himself!  The first blurb I read about the book likened it to a cross between American Gods and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  That's quite the comparison, so when I sat down last week to read the opening chapter, it was with more than a fair amount of anticipation because I truly had no idea what to expect being a newbie to Dyrk's work.  

PATERNUS: RISE OF GODS takes place in the modern world but with mythical creatures and gods running amok and interspersed within society, albeit fairly clandestinely. Fiona, the main character along with her "boyfriend" Zeke is an intern at a local hospital.  She is charged with caring for a patient named Peter, who is suffering from a type of dementia.  Fiona has had a pretty raw deal in her life so far. She is an orphan who is now being raised by her eccentric Uncle Edgar and it is pretty obvious in the beginning of the book that she is a conflicted teenager who is struggling with her identity and self-esteem.  Things don't get easier for her though as the hospital where Fiona works is suddenly attacked by a group of sinister men who it appears are looking for something or someone.  

An incredible battle ensues where Fiona and Zeke barely escape, taking with them the patient under her care Peter.  After the inexplicable attack, Fiona is left grasping for answers as to why anyone would want to attack a hospital and hurt those inside?  She takes Peter and Zeke to her Uncle Edgar's home to relay to him what occurred and to hopefully find a way to make sense of all that just took place.  It is then that Uncle Edgar imparts upon his niece and her companions that the world they are living in is not as normal as it may seem at first glance.  Added to this is the fact that there are monsters that are very real and are now hunting them based on an old war that has been raging for thousands of years.  Now Fiona, Zeke, Uncle Edgar, and the mysterious Peter are thrust into a very real battle for not only their own lives, but for the future of the world.  

As they flee Uncle Edgar's home to escape the shadowy men who attacked the hospital, they encounter all manner of werewolves, vampires, and mythical beings right out of the pages of Hindu, Sumerian, Japanese, and European folklore.  All the while, Fiona and Zeke are drawn gradually closer as they battle for their lives and we see Fiona really come into her own as a more confident and decisive person.  We are also treated to a little more background on Uncle Edgar and Peter and what role they play in the history's old war among super beings and gods.  

Serious questions remain however like, what were the men who attacked the hospital trying to find exactly?  Who is the enigmatic Peter and is he actually something entirely different than his feeble appearance suggests?  What part does Uncle Edgar play in all of this and why now are the gods who have hidden themselves among humanity making themselves known and unleashing hell upon the Earth?  You're going to have to pick up PATERNUS: RISE OF GODS if you want to find out, because I'm simply not telling.

Let me start off by saying, I am not a big fan of Urban Fantasy for those who know me.  In fact, it's my least favorite sub-genre of Fantasy.  So when I say I was blown away in a good way by this book, it really is saying something about both the story and the author Dyrk Ashton.  Admittedly, the book starts out a bit slow.  I believe that this was necessary though to set up the numerous characters and the backstory so that when things finally do hit the fan about a third of the way through, you don't have to catch up and can just enjoy the hellacious ride until the very end.  

This book essentially has everything you could want, bloody battles, intense chase scenes, vampires and werewolves (as I mentioned earlier), mysterious cabals, mysticism and folklore, characters who grow as they are tested, and a compelling history that is at the same time immensely interesting.  I also enjoyed the first-person narrative because it really gave the reader a wonderful insight into each character's mindset and motivations.  Often times first-person doesn't click with me but when done well it can really add to the story in a way that third-person simply cannot.  I thought that Dyrk Ashton handled it brilliantly.  In the end this book was just so damn fun to read.  It's always nice to just lose yourself in a book that you don't have to think too much about.  

PATERNUS: RISE OF GODS did have shades of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in it but I thought the creatures were more reminiscent of the old Ray Harryhausen films and the 90's TV serial Hercules than American Gods. I truly cannot say enough good things about this book, and knowing that book two WRATH OF GODS is being released next month (July 10th to be exact) is just an added bonus because I want more of these characters and legends. With that in mind, definitely pick up PATERNUS: RISE OF GODS and then book two next month, you won't be disappointed if you love Urban Fantasy with breakneck action and scarier than hell mythic beasts.  Dyrk Ashton, I think you've finally found your calling.

(My Rating: 9.5/10)


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