Damned

Book Three of The Castle Chronicles

Fiction - Supernatural
322 Pages
Reviewed on 12/30/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Damned is the third book in The Castle Chronicles by Michael S. Vassel. Mark Castle’s life had reached a standstill. He had no idea what he wanted to do, so he left Cleveland in the hopes of finding a direction that made sense to him. Moving to Santa Fe was a distraction, but his job at a hospital made him come face to face with a creature that would become his next target. He managed to scare that terrible creature off, but the job was far from done. He arrived in Las Vegas where he received a very interesting job offer that he was reluctant to turn down. Could he manage the new job and finish the creature off once and for all? Or was it going to be the end of the road for him?

I fell in love with this author’s writing style when I read Bits & Bites, so you can imagine my anticipation when I picked this book up. Michael S. Vassel didn’t disappoint. The pace of the story was perfect; it gave Mark room to grow and make sense of what was going on around him. Mark was a perceptive character, one that thought with his mind and didn’t let his heart lead him astray. He thought analytically and didn’t let conditions sway him. He used his powers, trusted them, and understood that they were his best guide. I enjoyed the thrills and suspense. The chase to find the creature was the right way to bring the story forward, while giving a purpose to Mark was great for his character development. Reading Damned was an absolute pleasure.

Susan Sewell

For over fifteen years, a man with supernatural abilities searches for a supernatural creature that steals the lives of innocent victims in the urban fantasy novel Damned (Book 3 of the Castle Chronicles) by Michael S. Vassel. Over his lifetime, Mark Castle has used his unusual gifts to protect, serve, and survive, and now he is on the hunt for a soul-sucking being. After being released from the military in the mid-1980s, Mark starts attending the local college. However, he can't seem to find the right niche that fits him. Dropping out of college, Mark couch surfs until he encounters a vampiric creature draining the life-force from a hospital patient. Summoning lords from the Netherworld, Mark attempts to extract information about the creature's origin. Following the enigmatic clues given, Mark moves to Las Vegas and takes a job with a mob boss. As the years pass, Mark witnesses the devastation these monsters wreak upon humanity. Can he bring an end to their soul-sucking reign before he and those he cares for become victims? Or is he already too late?

Interlaced with magic, witchcraft, and vampires, Damned (Book 3 of the Castle Chronicles) by Michael S. Vassel is an exciting urban fantasy. It is a sensational and intriguing story with unique characters, an eerie ambiance, and a spellbinding storyline. Containing esoteric references, an ancient grimoire, incantations, and spell casting, the author has created a spine-tingling occult tale that is engaging and captivating. Even though the plot moves between various time settings, the storyline is captivating and flows at an even pace. It is a compelling novel that will enthrall everyone who loves supernatural stories containing arcane magic and supernatural beings. Due to some violence and strong language, the book is suitable for a more mature reader.

Vincent Dublado

Book Three of The Castle Chronicles by Michael S. Vassel marks the end of a saga and the beginning of destiny for Mark Castle. In Damned, after saving money from joining the army, Castle returns to Cleveland for higher education. But after a year of hopping from one class to another, he felt a little depressed by his quandary and seeks a different path. After taking different gigs in different cities, he goes to Santa Fe, and with the help of an army buddy, lands a job as a dietary staff member at St. Vincent’s Regional Hospital. During one of his rounds, he witnesses a stranger sucking the aura of an elderly patient. Castle is no stranger to such creatures, and after driving away a soul eater, he moves to Las Vegas, comforted by the thought that he does not need to use his powers again. But due to circumstances beyond his control, he draws the attention of the mafia, who offer him a job that will exploit his gift.

One impressive aspect of Michael S. Vassel’s writing is the pacing of events. You read about Castle talking about his discharge from the army and how his pursuit for higher education did not yield favorable results. Then you join him in Santa Fe, where his supernatural encounter begins. We are given a clear idea of what Castle will be facing and that the rash of attacks against humans continues. Damned makes you expect that, despite formidable supernatural adversaries, Castle will manage to emerge unscathed at the end. But Vassel has a more grounded plan for his hero, as he strikes Castle with an epiphany at the end of the story—an epiphany on what he needs to do and how to spend the remaining days of his life. This is a vampire story that is worth sinking your teeth into (pun intended).