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Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite
In A Separate Power by Loren W Cooper, humans are not the only ones who inhabit the planet. There are the so-called 'bodiless' (basically spirits/entities that can possess a human), and as you might guess, humankind's relationship to them is not the best. Some human lands are protected from the bodiless by barriers, and it is these lands that prosper. In these lands, people feel safe. Matthias lives in one of those lands, the Riverlands. While he has seen the chaos that can be wrought by the bodiless, the war is behind him. Now an artist, he is not very interested in conflicts. It all changes when Hyrn tries to convince Matthias to help him to create a magical force that can assist with keeping humanity safe. Hyrn is sure a terrible war that will destroy everything is about to erupt, and only black fires can be used as an effective weapon against the bodiless. Matthias is a wielder of black fire. But will he give up his personal peace to fight for the peace of mankind?
I am usually not a fan of books that don't have an obvious, single main character. It's just my personal preference, because it doesn't often work out well if an author does not focus on one hero's development. Fortunately, Loren W Cooper seems to know what he's doing. The characters, the way the plot moves forward, and how things eventually interweave make sense. There were some surprises along the way, so don't ever be sure that you have figured out where the plot will lead you in the end! It took me a while to get to the end of the book because I only wanted to read it when I could pay full attention to the story. I knew from reading the author's previous book that his books deserve a reader's full attention, so I wanted to give this one what it deserved, too. For a few days, I spent time with the characters in the novel and did not regret a minute of it.
It's a well balanced plot with some characters you'll enjoy, and some maybe not so much - but that's another question of personal taste. It would be boring if we all liked the same protagonists. If you enjoy fantasy that goes beyond the usual elves and dwarves stories, this might just be the novel you are looking for! It is also a story about the choices someone makes in their life, about personal freedom, personal safety, and about risking it all for the greater good. It's not just a story of black and white, pure good and pure evil, but also shows the shades in between.