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Review: Lightning Rod by Vaughn R. Demont — Joyfully Jay

Review: Lightning Rod by Vaughn R. Demont

Lightning Rod, Broken Mirrors Book 2, by Vaughn R. DemontRating: 4.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

For my TBR Challenge, I offer Lightning Rod, the second book in the Broken Mirrors series, by Vaughn R. Demont. I put this book on my TBR pile a few months ago, thinking it was the sequel to House of Stone, which I enjoyed very much. I learned that was a happy mistake when I began reading and recovered from my initial confusion at the different world I was in.

As I say, this is book two of the Broken Mirrors series. I read it before the first book, Coyote’s Creed, and although I expect I’d have enjoyed recognizing the persisting characters and their stories, Lightning Rod stood on its own very well.

challenge monthThe set up is classic hero’s journey, as is the tale itself, but told in Demont’s imaginative and sharply original voice. Miles, a young man, runs away from Heath, his violently abusive keeper (I won’t use the word lover here), and discovers he left his wallet in the apartment he dare not go back to. He can’t go back, and he can’t afford a ticket to anywhere else. At the bus station he meets a con man who calls himself Coyote. Coyote offers him a bus ticket north, with the ID of Jack Black. This is important. As in many great traditions of magic, knowing someone’s real name, or the true name of an object, gives power over that person or object. Nuanced deception surrounding identity of people and things runs through this story in the most delicious way.

Jack Black’s journey — through intricate world destruction as well as world building — gallops from near-death in an icy river and a rescue by Hades, to a less-than-modest diner run by Dave, a depressed dragon, to the bloody politics of the end of the world. Jack has massive but undeveloped magical power, imprisoned in a heart so badly and consistently abused that it can’t acknowledge its own worth. His destiny calls him to terrible greatness, and how he staggers, runs, fights, and loves into that greatness is both fascinating and satisfying.

Jack makes strange friends. He makes surprising enemies. He learns to wield magic much as a man might learn open heart surgery while having to perform it, with his friends offering frustratingly partial help while his enemies are always eager to destroy him.

The writing is gritty, intelligent, often poetic, sometimes soaringly romantic. The story is well-crafted. If high quality urban fantasy with front row seats for the end of the world appeals to you, you should read this book. And yes, this book is only number two in the Broken Mirrors series. It isn’t the end of the story by a long shot, only the end of the world… you’ll understand if you read it!

This review is part of our September Reading Challenge Month for TBR Pile Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win this week’s fabulous prize of a loaded iPad Mini sponsored by Dreamspinner Press, as well as our amazing grand prize sponsored by Riptide Publishing. You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on TBR Pile week here. And be sure to check out our prize post for more about the awesome prizes! 

Lloyd sig


  1. What an intriguing review! That last line so made me want to see what you’re alluding to. And you’ve made me want to read a book in a genre I generally don’t read, too bad my own TBR pile is too huge as it is. I too at times read books in a series out of order, though perhaps I do it not so much by mistake as you did, but because I find the blurb of one of the books more captivating than the other, but no matter the reason we do it, I like when you can enjoy a work even when read out of order. If that book is god enough I usually go back and read the rest and sort of piece together all the information with hindsight.

  2. Oh boy!  This one sounds good and like a book I would really enjoy.  Thank you for the detailed review.  I am going to go take a look at the series to add to my own huge TBR list.  🙂

  3. I didn’t know about Vaughn R. Demont before reading your review, Lloyd, but after reading it I’m sure I’m going to give the Broken Mirrors series a chance. I really like the strange mixture of magic and mythology you talk about: magic deception, Hades, a dragon, the end of the world… That sounds too good to let it slip without giving it a chance… I’ve added it to my TBR and Wish lists. It will certainly be soon in my ebook. Thank you for your review, Lloyd!

  4. This book is going to go on my TBR lust. The alternative setting sounds intriguing. I’m searching for reads that are different from the norm.

  5. Urban Fantasy…not something I would normally consider reading.  But I agree with the other commenters  that is sounds kinda fascinating.  Most of the books that have been reviewed as part of this week’s TBR challenge are new to me.  And my TBR ‘shelf’ is just getting stacked higher and higher.  Thanks for the review.

  6. I’m gonna have to check this series out. Thanks for the review!

  7. Even though it sounds intense, I’ve been meaning to read more UF…sounds like an engaging series!

  8. Jillian Too says:

    I love urban fantasy so I’ll definitely have to add this to my TBR list.

  9. waxapplelover says:

    I’m not a big urban fantasy person, but I also have this on my TBR list.  And the review makes me want to read this series more, so I’ll move it up on the list. 🙂 Thanks for the review.

  10. I’ve had this one on my Kindle for a loooong time.  I think it’s a Samhain book and I usually buy their m/m books at release because they are 30% off. After I got this one I realized it was 2nd in a series, I didn’t have the 1st and didn’t want to spend the money to get it, so it’s just been sitting on my reader. I probably ought to give it a try. 🙂

  11. This sounds great. I’ve heard good things about this series before. I’ll have to give it a try. Thanks for your review!

  12. I’m intrigued. I read a lot of fantasy so giving this a read doesn’t sound like any hardship at all.

    • No hardship in reading a good book, H.B. — except maybe to the book budget! LOL. You’ll appreciate Demont’s unique mix of realism and imagination, and his world-building is excellent.

  13. I know I’ve read something g from this series already, so I should consider this one, too! 

  14. This is a great series,  one of my favourites.  The characters were all very interesting and the storyline was entertaining and unexpected.  

  15. Ooh this series sounds super interesting! I’ll have to add it to my TBR list.

  16. I have a lot of respect and admiration for an author who sticks with what they excel at and enjoy but is always striving to improve and perfect their craft. This author has been writing fantasy for years and has only gotten better. 5 or 6 years ago, I felt like there was a bit of a slide in the genre toward more and more shocking and explicit sex. Lots of stories being put out trying to be more sexually extreme and go farther than any before (at least with some publishers at the time). Vaughn R. Demont, however, stayed true to concentrating on extraordinary world-building, fantasy and story-telling. I always look forward to anything new he comes up with.

  17. I haven’t read any by Vaugh R. Demont before, and you’ve really made me think I’m missing out, Lloyd! “The writing is gritty, intelligent, often poetic, sometimes soaringly romantic.” This totally got me. I’m glad to know Lightning Rod stands on its own, but I love to read a series in order, so I’d honestly love to know if you think Coyote’s Creed would give more depth to LR, because I would definitely try that one first. Thank you!

  18. A depressed dragon?! How can one resist? I’ve enjoyed a number of urban fantasy series, and this book is part of a series I’m unfamiliar with. Thanks for an informative review.

  19. Wow, thanks for the review! I’ve never heard of this series & haven’t read any books by this author before, always good to see reviews for authors I don’t know.

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