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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Confronting the Demon is Book One of The Seven Circles of Hell, a fantasy series written by Ciara Ballintyne. Someone is killing Alloran's friends and former lovers, and they're trying to throw the blame on him. They're also working with spells that can summon demons. Alloran had once been found guilty of allowing his quest for knowledge to lead him to such an incantation and to be found guilty of doing so now would mean his death. Alloran suspects his former friend, Ladanyon, is behind the deaths and the demon, and must find a way to stop him before he destroys everything. Gisayne, the chief wizard's daughter, is determined to help him. She enters Ladanyon's chamber at the wizards' castle to retrieve one of Alloran's journals which the rogue wizard had stolen from him.
Ciara Ballintyne's sword and sorcery fantasy, Confronting the Demon: The Seven Circles of Hell, Book 1, is fast-paced and enthralling. I was amazed by how swiftly I got caught up in Alloran's situation. The author uses just the right combination of description and action to get her readers immersed in her fantasy world, causing them to hit the ground running along with the beleaguered wizard. While I can sometimes become a bit impatient with contemporary epic fantasy offerings, I was surprised and thrilled by how much I was enjoying reading Confronting the Demon. Ballintyne's work shows flashes of inspiration from Robert E. Howard's sword and sorcery stories as well as the works of more traditional epic fantasy authors. Confronting the Demon: The Seven Circles of Hell, Book 1 is an accomplished and impressive debut offering, and it is most highly recommended.