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September Review: Pizza, superpowers, and a good story

Mercury on Guard

Author: Steve Rzasa

Publisher: Interstice Books

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

Would you like to defend the world from astral fiends, tentacled creatures from another dimension, as your day job? If so, you’ll love immersing yourself into the world of Mercury Hale, pizza-loving hero who is almost as deadly with his pulsar stave weapon as he is with his sarcasm.

Rzasa has written an incredibly entertaining opener to the Mercury Hale Series. Winner of the 2020 Realm Award in the Paranormal/Supernatural category, Rzasa’s book is not in my usual genre of literature. I love dystopian, sci-fi, and fantasy as much as the next speculative fiction fan, but the paranormal or superhero stuff has never been my favorite.

Rzasa’s book might change that.

Never have I met a character in a book that made me chuckle audibly as much. Getting into the head of Mercury Hale was not difficult. Mercury is a relatable character, which only highlights Rzasa writing skill. I found myself responding to situations in the story much the same as the protagonist. His wit and approach made the idea of hunting creatures from another dimension almost believable.

I feared early in the book that Mercury Hale was going to be a ‘one note’ type of character. Too many pages of sarcastic comebacks would get old without any character development. I was pleased to find that Rzasa had something different in mind. Mercury becomes far more complex as the story develops. His motivations are questioned. His past is explored. The character you meet on page one is not the same at the end of the book.

And, yes, you’ll be left wanting to read more of Mercury’s story. Good thing this is the first book in a series.

Rzasa has created a unique world that I enjoyed being a part of, page after page. Occasionally, a character would reference pop culture (i.e. relate something to Star Wars), and that pulled me out of the story for a moment, but I imagine Rzasa was trying ground his fantastic story into our world. Can’t blame him, but not my favorite tactic.

All in all, Mercury on Guard has made me revisit the paranormal category of speculative fiction. I’ll certainly be giving it another chance thanks to Rzasa. The Realm Award this year was well earned. If you love this genre or want to try it out without a huge investment of time, I urge you to give the first book in the Mercury Hale Series a look.

The book is clean. No language or sex or gore. Violence is present, but usually involving supernatural creatures. Romance is not a huge theme. Faith is not hugely present either.

I’ve already encouraged my teenage son to read this book. He’s five chapters in and enjoying it. I’d recommend it to any reader, especially young men, who would enjoy a book full of action, humor, and pizza. Prepare to be entertained.

Available on Amazon.

No disclaimer. I did not receive anything from the author, nor was I requested to write this review.


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