The Sentinel Trilogy by Joshua Winning ~ Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today Ellen has a triple whammy of reviews for The Sentinel Trilogy by Joshua Winning, and I’ll be sharing those further down. First though, here’s all you need to know!

About the author:

Joshua Winning Sentinel Shoot 2014
Joshua Winning Sentinel Shoot 2014

Joshua Winning is an author and film journalist who writes for Total Film, SFX, Gay Times and Radio Times. He has been on set with Kermit the Frog, devoured breakfast with zombies on The Walking Dead, and sat on the Iron Throne while visiting the Game Of Thrones set in Dublin. Jeff Goldblum once told him he looks a bit like Paul Bettany.

In 2014, Sentinel – the first book in Joshua’s Sentinel Trilogy – was published by Peridot Press. The second book, Ruins, followed in 2015. Joshua’s short story Dead Air appeared in Speak My Language: An Anthology Of Gay Fiction and Joshua’s new novel, Killing Rumer, will be published in 2018 by Unbound. He also co-wrote ’80s teen horror Camp Carnage.

Joshua grew up watching Labyrinth and The Neverending Story on repeat, and was raised on a steady diet of Whedon, Cameron and Lucas. His literary heroes include Robin Jarvis, Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier. As a journalist, he has interviewed some of the most exciting names in the film industry, including Jodie Foster, Ryan Reynolds, Charlize Theron and Christopher Lee. He dreams of getting Sigourney Weaver to yell “Goddammit!” at him one day.

About the books:

JW1

They are the world’s best-kept secret – an underground society whose eternal cause is to protect the world against the dark creatures and evil forces that inhabit the night.

Now Sentinels are being targeted, murdered and turned as the fury of an ancient evil is unleashed once more.

And when 15-year-old Nicholas Hallow’s parents are killed in a suspicious train crash, the teenager is drawn into a desperate struggle against malevolent powers.

Sentinel is the first book in the Sentinel Trilogy – a world of unconventional heroes, monsters, murder and magic.

JW3s

Second instalment of the critically-acclaimed Sentinel Trilogy. In his desperate search for answers about the Sentinels, an ancient society of guardians that his parents once belonged to, fifteen-year-old Nicholas Hallow is tipped into a fresh nightmare of terrifying monsters – and even more sinister humans. As Nicholas is challenged to become a Sentinel, he must track down a mysterious girl with the help of a grumpy cat. Meanwhile, an uprising of evil threatens to destroy the Sentinels and send the world spiralling into chaos.

JW3

‘All who stand against us shall perish’

The critically acclaimed Sentinel Trilogy comes to a thrilling conclusion in this final instalment of the dark fantasy series.

The world is falling apart around Nicholas Hallow. Amid rumours that the Dark Prophets have returned, a deathly gloom pollutes England, unleashing a savage hoard of nightmare creatures. Fighting the tide of evil, Nicholas returns home to Cambridge, where an old ally helps him seek out the mysterious Skurkwife, who could help Nicholas stop Malika and the Prophets for good.

Meanwhile, Sam Wilkins unites the Sentinels against the forces of darkness, but with Jessica’s sanity slipping, and Isabel suspicious of her shadowy past, it’s a battle that could cost the Sentinels everything.

Sentinel and Ruins, the first two books in The Sentinel Trilogy, are currently just 99p on Kindle [HYPERLINK:https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/bookseries/B00YSRBVYU/]. Splinter is out now [HYPERLINK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Splinter-Book-Three-Sentinel-Trilogy/dp/1911382853/]

Ellen’s Reviews:

I have always been a fan of YA and fantasy books so The Sentinel Trilogy really appealed to me. The trilogy comproses of Sentinel, Ruins and Splinter and I am covering all of them in this review. So buckle up buttercup you’re in for one hell of a ride!

In Sentinel we are introduced to 15 year old Nicholas Hallow, the book opens with the death of his parents in a train crash but this was no tragic accident. Nicholas discovers that his parent were Sentinels; an underground society whose job is to protect the world from evil forces. They are guards, detectives and killers. On top of dealing with his grief Nicholas must come to terms with the fact that he is also a Sentinel and on his 16th birthday he would have been initiated into the society. Luckily he has help in navigating his new role and other Sentinels step forward to become his guide including Sam and his godmother Jessica. There are different types of Sentinels and it is revealed that Nicholas is a Sensitive, he can sense when evil is near and has visions.This book is a slow burner, we are learning at the same pace as Nicholas so there feels like a lot of new information is being thrown at you but this is appreciated as the new reality is built. We are introduced to a plethora of malevolent and magical creatures including demons, a talking cat and the star of the horror show – Malika. A flame haired demon hell bent on destruction and power. She is total #demongoals and if I had to choose my favourite big bad she would be it! 

Ruins is the second book in the trilogy. Nicholas has come to terms with who he is and what he must do. A war is coming and the Sentinels must gather their forces.  Nicholas discovers that he has been prophesied as being a chosen one but also that he is part of a duo. The Trinity (the ancient good guys) foretold that this duo would save the world from The Dark Prophets. The twist is that no one knows who the other chosen one is and there is a race against time to discover them before the bad guys. Of course Malika is hard at work attempting to raise these prophets with the help of a truly terrifying demon called Tortor. Everyone is in danger and Joshua Winning is not averse to putting your favourite characters in mortal peril. Not everyone will survive!

Splinter is the final book and brings everything to an apocalyptic conclusion. Nicholas has his own Scooby gang comprising of Rae (fire starter), Dawn (fountain of knowledge) and Merlyn (a worldy wise Sentinel).They have all grown in the short time they have known each other and it was great to see their friendship bloom. The trilogy is definitely a coming of age story; friends overcoming adversity, discovering themselves and finding love along the way. There are genuinely terrifying moments in these books and it would make a fantastic graphic novel/TV series. I was so invested in all the characters and was genuinely gutted that their story is complete.  I loved the climax to Splinter, no spoilers but WOW I was not expecting that! So buy the whole trilogy and lose yourself in this world of Murklings, Harvesters, Hunters and all the demons you can imagine!

Vicious Rumer by Joshua Winning~Interview and Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today I’m thrilled to be able to share a Q&A I did with Joshua Winning, author of the Vicious Rumer, AND Ellen’s brilliant review 😊

About the author:

Joshua Winning Sentinel Shoot 2014

Joshua Winning is an author and film journalist who writes for TOTAL FILM, SFX, GAY TIMES and RADIO TIMES. He has been on set with Kermit the Frog, devoured breakfast with zombies on The Walking Dead, and sat on the Iron Throne while visiting the Game Of Thrones set in Dublin. Jeff Goldblum once told him he looks a bit like Paul Bettany.

In 2014, SENTINEL – the first book in Joshua’s SENTINEL TRILOGY – was published by Peridot Press. The second book, RUINS, followed in 2015. Joshua’s short story DEAD AIR appeared in SPEAK MY LANGUAGE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF GAY FICTION and Joshua’s new novel, VICIOUS RUMER, will be published by Unbound in 2018. He also co-wrote ’80s teen horror CAMP CARNAGE.

About the book:

VICIOUSRUMER_FRONT

Rumer Cross is cursed. Scraping by working for a dingy London detective agency, she lives in the shadow of her mother, a violent criminal dubbed the ‘Witch Assassin’ whose bloodthirsty rampage terrorised London for over a decade.

Raised by foster families who never understood her and terrified she could one day turn into her mother, Rumer has become detached and self-reliant. But when she’s targeted by a vicious mobster who believes she’s hiding an occult relic, she’s drawn into the very world she’s been fighting to avoid.

Hunted by assassins and haunted by her mother’s dark legacy, Rumer must also confront a terrible truth: that she’s cursed, because no matter what she does, everybody she’s ever grown close to has died screaming.

Ellen’s Review:

What a ride this book is; from the opening chapter to the last you are grabbed by your throat and dragged on an exhilarating (and often brutal) journey. Cursed at birth and abandoned by her ruthless mother who was known as the “Witch Assassin”, you could say that Rumer has had an unsettling start to life. Bouncing between foster homes and misunderstood by those around her she becomes a recluse, a shadow. Her skills at being unseen soon gets her employment within a London detective agency. Things take a turn for the strange when Rumer is kidnapped by a mobster who is convinced she holds the secret to the location of an ancient relic that grants immortality. Her life depends on finding The Crook Spear and evading the ghosts of her past that are nipping at her heels.

I loved Rumer – I’d definitely wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of her though. She is ruthless and ready to do anything to get the truth but she also has a wicked sense of humour so you can’t but help warm to her. After the upheaval of her early years you can forgive her brittleness and reluctance to form friendships, after all, those she grows close to have an uncanny habit of dying violently!

A kick ass thriller with elements of horror and humour; this is not a book for the faint hearted due to the gore factor. Vicious Rumer would make an awesome film and the soundtrack was rattling around my mind throughout reading. Also, just to add that the the book’s cover is pop art perfection.

Highly recommend!

Author interview:

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Of course! I’m blond, athletic and a good cook. Wait, sorry, that’s my dating answer. I’m a film journalist and author originally from a tiny Suffolk town called Bury St Edmunds. Now I live in London, spending roughly 60 per cent of my time at a computer, 20 per cent watching movies, 10 per cent on the yoga mat and 10 per cent in the pub.

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

Aside from a few years when I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast (I was 10 and I dreamed big) I’ve always wanted to tell stories. My bedroom was always full of books. CS Lewis, Robin Jarvis, Christopher Pike… I had an entire Point Horror library that, sadly, has been lost to time. But yes, I’ve always compulsively written and it quickly became my idea of a dream job.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Inspiration is such a weird thing because so much of it is unconscious. Sometimes I’ll be writing a scene and I’ll realise it’s an exact replica of something from Friends. Or I discover I’ve been writing Drusilla from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The easiest answer is that, when I’m writing, I draw from pop culture both consciously and unconsciously because I’m a kid of the ’80s, so I was raised by TV and Scholastic and that stuff’s lodged in my brain forever.

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your book?

Quirky, fast-paced, grounded. I’ve had a lot of people say my books play in their heads like they’re watching a movie, which is an excellent compliment that I’ll totally use to answer this question!

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

Absolutely, but I don’t know if that translates into sales. Social media is great for connecting with readers, bloggers and fellow authors, and I’ve met so many awesome people on Twitter who have been enthusiastic and supportive when my energy levels have dried up. Social media can be a vacuum, too, but if you stick with it and try to only share things that add value to people’s lives (rather than just ‘BUY MY BOOK K?’), it can be a really useful tool.

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty cool when somebody tells me my book gave them nightmares. In all seriousness, though, being an author is great because I get to tell stories. I love figuring out characters and seeing the world from their POV. And when somebody likes what you’ve written (and leaves a review on Amazon, he adds not at all subtly), that’s the best feeling ever.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

Getting a numb bum every 60 minutes!

Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?

I try not to look that far ahead. Obviously, it would be amazing to write a bestseller, but I’d also be totally OK if I’m still doing what I’m doing now, which is writing, writing, writing, and hopefully getting better with time.

What’s next for you?

A holiday! To celebrate the release of Vicious Rumer, me and a buddy are off to Ibiza. We’re both in our 30s so we won’t be raving it up Inbetweeners-style (unless somebody buys us a tequila, in which case, game over). I’m looking forward to beach, cocktails and time to catch up on reading. My TBR has spiralled out of control again…

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

I used to be voracious but I really have to force myself to make time for reading nowadays, which is a bit of a tragedy. I generally use my commute to work for reading, so it has to be a really good book. I love all sorts of genres, but I’ll always be a sucker for a good fantasy horror like A Monster Calls, or a really juicy thriller like Silence Of The Lambs.

Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?

Ah, the question every reader dreads! My absolute favourites are Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller, The Whitby Witches by Robin Jarvis, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and On Writing by Stephen King. Oh cool, that was easier than I expected!

Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill is a masterpiece of science-fiction that says something really important about contemporary culture. It’s gripping, SHARP, and completely devastating.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

Netflix is my bestie; it’s always there when I need it, and it doesn’t judge me when all I want to do is rewatch Party Of Five. I’m also a fan of the squash court, and at any given time I’m usually beta reading for one of my writer buddies. Because I’m not enough of a nerd already, I’ve also just got into videogames – I’m totally hooked on Heavy Rain at the moment. Highly recommended.

Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?

It’s generally frowned upon to read while playing squash or doing yoga, so those are my two non-literary activities. Unless you count the pub.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

New York, always and forever. I spent two weeks there a few years back, staying with a friend, and they were the most amazing two weeks. We went hiking in the Catskills and visited a ton of cool galleries (the Whitney is a must). I’d move to Brooklyn in a heartbeat if I could.

Favourite food?

Peanut butter. On anything. When I was a kid, I never understood why Americans were so obsessed by PB, but now I get it. And I’m obsessed, too. But I’d never have it with jam because gross.

Favourite drink?

Coffee. But only coffee that tastes like coffee, not those double-mocha-with-whipped-cream-and-a-twist-of-pineapple things.

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

It’s all I can do! It’s a compulsion that I can’t curb. It’s therapy and creativity and escapism all in one. If I couldn’t write, I’d die. Simple (and only slightly overdramatic).