A Novel

Fiction - Fantasy - Urban
309 Pages
Reviewed on 11/28/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Samantha Coville for Readers' Favorite

Author Apollo Villa-Real introduces us to a new world of magic, deception, and casinos in his novel, Henchman. This fast-paced tale follows H, who is a mob enforcer and magic wielder with a natural gift. During the annual convention of magic, a wielder is murdered. And the signs are pointing at the Syndicate, which has worked for so long to keep the peace. So H is sent on a journey to clear the Syndicate of any suspicion. But is a war unavoidable?

This is probably one of the top ten books I've read this year! It's not a short read, but it never dips into boring fluff content. It's continuously packed with excitement and intrigue. And the main character, H, is developed thoroughly. So much so that readers will connect with him and cheer him on. And the setting of a magical Las Vegas underworld is so unique that you can't help but keep reading in order to immerse yourself in the world author Villa-Real has created. Henchman keeps you on the edge of your seat at all times.

One of the things I respected about this book is that the magic system the author has developed is realistic and consistent. Nothing worse than trying to learn a magic system when it contradicts itself because the author couldn't make concrete laws. Even magic needs to follow rules! And Apollo Villa-Real does that beautifully here. And that's why I can confidently give it five stars! If you're looking for adventure and magic, look no further than Henchman.

Renee Guill

Henchman by Apollo Villa-Real is about a guy named H, short for Henchman. He is an enforcer for the highest ranking Capo in the Las Vegas Underworld. He uses new magic as well as old. There was a murder of one of the candidates and his boss sends him to find out who did it. Apollo Villa-Real uses portals to go between times and dimensions for the henchman to catch the killer. How far will the henchman go to keep the peace among the Chambers to save the Universe? Will he lose his one love and even his life? He and his few allies use whatever magical powers they have to save the Universe. H learns the hard way who he can trust and it wasn’t who he thought.

Henchman by Apollo Villa-Real is an extremely fascinating story. The author has H use his cellphone to cast his spells! I loved how he mixed the old magic with new magic and used portals to go through time and dimensions. Apollo Villa-Real is amazing with his descriptions. I should give you a trigger warning: if you get grossed out easily, then you may not want to read this, that is how descriptive he is. And his world building is out of this world. I usually am pretty good at guessing the mystery, but thanks to a few twists and turns I was pleasantly surprised. I was only part right. I admit, I was a bit bummed there was one mystery left unanswered, so I hope this means that Apollo Villa-Real will be turning this into a series, or at least a trilogy.

K.C. Finn

Henchman is an inventive work of urban fantasy by author Apollo Villa-Real, set in a magical realism version of Las Vegas known as the Vegas Underworld. This existence works in parallel with the ordinary Vegas that we know, with the exception that in the Underworld everything is run and controlled by magic. Vegas, a convention capital in any universe, plays host to a magic convention, but when an assassination throws the gang system and the governing Syndicate into turmoil, it’s up to mob enforcer H to clear the Syndicate’s name. A long-standing peace in the magical community hangs in the balance, and a single henchman could be the difference between peace upheld and all out war.

Author Apollo Villa-Real has created a gritty, adult magical realism novel that is sure to satisfy grown up fans who desire something less traditional in the sci-fi and fantasy bracket. The Vegas Underworld, a place where closed down casinos are reborn from their graves, is a unique and fantastic playground for all sorts of dark magical hi-jinks to occur, and yet somehow it still fully captures the ethos and atmosphere of the actual Las Vegas we know and love. The writing is smooth and descriptive, involving us deeply in the political and social struggles of the Syndicate and the worldwide Chamber system, and the plot holds together tightly as H (and his super cool cell phone) moves through layers of intrigue and violence to reach its core. Overall, Henchman is a superbly original piece of urban fantasy to be read and enjoyed by all.