Merging Realms

Lines Blurring Book 1

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
399 Pages
Reviewed on 12/23/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Ankita Shukla for Readers' Favorite

Merging Realms - Lines Blurring Book 1 is filled with action, magic, violence, and sex. The author, S.K. Smith, has a vivid imagination and readers are not denied any aspect of that imagination. Queen Marilynn, the wife of King William, is no ordinary woman. Centuries ago, a deal was made between her and God Seren. According to this deal, Marilynn will remain immortal as long as she sacrifices her child once in every hundred years. In this quest, she beds a handsome man named Tobin and carries his seed in her womb with only one mission -- to sacrifice the child when the time arrives. Unfortunately, for Marilynn, Tobin is no ordinary man himself. He is a soul reaper, who serves God Bytos. As soon as he knows about Marilynn's intent, he escapes her kingdom with the baby. Marilynn is enraged and will stop at nothing to claim her immortality by sacrificing this child. In another parallel story, Bishop Davlamin is eager to see his favorite niece, Dara. He has appointed Captain Frank Heron and his crew to ensure that Dara reaches him safe and sound. This is not a simple task since the path of her journey is filled with trolls, giants, the unmarked, and many unknown troubles. Frank gathers his men and proceeds to bring Dara safely to the Bishop. As expected, this task turns out to be extremely fatal.

S.K. Smith has done an incredible job of writing Merging Realms - Lines Blurring Book 1. There are many characters and, at one point, I thought maybe some of them would turn out to be less than important, but each character has a part in the story. Twists are spread throughout the book and these are enough to keep a reader turning the pages with anticipation. Merging Realms is packed with gory details of violence and extremely graphic descriptions of sex scenes; therefore, it is not suitable for readers who are under the age of 18. Although I am way over 18, some violent scenes forced me to take a break and breathe. I enjoyed the plot and the development of the story. Although Marilynn is a negative character, I felt connected to her. Her eagerness to get the child back is understandable and the author has described it extremely well. Tobin's paternal instincts to save his child's life -- even though this might cost him his life -- add to the authenticity of the plot. The use of magic has not been overdone and is mentioned only where it helped the plot move smoothly. I would recommend this book to readers who have a stomach for gory details of violence, vivid descriptions of sex, and who enjoy reading action-packed fiction.

Ray Simmons

I loved volume one of the Lines Blurring saga, Merging Realms. This is fantasy at its adult finest. There is a clear warning at the front of the book. This book is not intended for readers under the age of 18. Fair enough. If you don’t like realism skillfully merged with fantasy, then move on to something more generic. But for me it was satisfying. The emphasis is on realism. This is the way adult characters would behave in a world without Christianity and education. A world with old gods vying for power and magic as the surest way to move up in the world and get what you want. Without good writing, this book might have fallen flat, but S.K. Smith writes very well indeed. The result is an awesome novel and possibly a great series. I would like to see more fantasy done in such a gritty, realistic manner.

What I liked most about Merging Realms are the characters. S.K. Smith writes complicated characters very well, and that is no simple task. This is a rare occurrence where the antagonist just might be my favorite character. I liked Queen Marilyn, though make no mistake about it, she is as evil as evil can be. But having said that, I understand her choices. She makes sense to me, though I don’t think I could ever make those choices myself. Another great aspect of Merging Realms is the attention to detail. You feel the reality of living in a medieval type world. You are drawn into it in a way that makes the book hard to put down. Add to that an aura of mystery, magic, and competitive, demanding, ruthless gods and you have a clear winner.

Charles Remington

Merging Realms by S.K. Smith is the first title in a proposed fantasy series set in a world that has developed along very different lines to our own. Magic holds sway, and the gods have retained contact with their creations, bestowing special powers and favours on their chosen ones. Tobin is one such favoured individual, and the tale commences when he discovers that the child expected by the delectably evil queen Marilynn, which is destined to be sacrificed on its eighteenth birthday in order to prolong the queen’s life, is the fruit of his loins, and not those of her husband, the king. To prevent this despicable act, Tobin kidnaps the child soon after it is born and heads for safety in the city of his birth. Several parallel threads add to a rich, multi-layered storyline, where the border between our current world and this magical medieval realm starts to break down, and ordinary people wake up in this strange new environment with no knowledge or clue as to what has happened to them, only to be captured and sold into slavery by the local militia.

In Merging Realms, S.K. Smith pulls no punches; the narrative contains a good deal of violence where his descriptions are brutal and direct, along with a plentiful helping of some quite entertaining and imaginative sex. Unusual in the genre, this is science fiction/fantasy for grown ups. The pacey narrative keeps one engrossed, if a little breathless, at times. Personally, I found the ending a little abrupt, but the book is obviously the beginning of a series, so I am sure we will find out what is happening with the large cast of characters in future volumes. I enjoyed Merging Realms and welcome a new voice bringing some gritty original ideas to this area of fiction.

Sefina Hawke

Merging Realms by S.K. Smith is a science fiction fantasy that is the opening book in a new series called Lines Blurring. Sparks fly when master assassin Tobin meets his deadly match in Queen Marilynn. From the first meeting, Tobin felt drawn to Queen Marilynn, regardless of the inherent danger she represents in being married to King William and being the chosen of the god Seren. Queen Marilynn has lived a long life and will live even longer still, providing that she sacrifices her child born of her womb to Seren every hundred years. Yet this time, the sacrifice is not any child, but the child of Tobin. Tobin may be an assassin that delights in death, yet he is far from willing to allow his child to be killed.

Move over author Robin Hobb and make room for fantasy writer S.K. Smith and his cast of intriguing and deadly characters. Merging Realms was a book that I found impossible to put down. I was pulled in right from the beginning and I lost an entire day buried deep within its pages. I found the character Tobin to be my favorite by far, as he is a man that has killed many people, yet he has retained the morals to balk at the killing of his own child. He is the one character capable of overturning the chess board and forcing the other characters to play the game his way. Overall, a great read. I was very disappointed in finding that book two is not immediately available for me to read and I can’t wait for it to be released!