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Ratings and Book Reviews (7 7 star ratings
7 reviews
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4.9 out of 5
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    An Epic Action-Packed Military/Dystopian Read

    In The Bearer's Burden, Cade Elegy is a war veteran who returns from battle abroad to find his family vanished, his mind literally plagued by phantom voices, and the world around him increasingly withering away. Recruited by Princess Ashlyn to help solve the mysterious murder of her uncle, the duo sets out on a quest and discovers that the war is not over with the Wraiths, an insect-like alien race. The book is filled with tons of action, often reading like a futuristic, military-operative video game. However, the plot, the characters, and the development of both aspects lend itself to much more than that. I enjoyed the military aspect of this book, especially given the parallel of Cade and his phantoms with modern veterans and mental health issues arising from their service. A sense of duty, honor, and family is at the heart of The Bearer’s Burden with Cade who will stop at nothing to discover what happened to his wife and children and Princess Ashlyn whose determination to investigate the death of her uncle trumps her monarchical politics. Chad Queen inventively mixes a variety of aspects from different genres – medieval, fantasy, science-fiction, dystopia, and military fiction, among others. The fantastical world build, the character development, and the twists, turns, and fluid action of the plot did not disappoint. The ending sets this up for a series that is sure to be epic! I would not be surprised if this series was eventually converted to the big screen.
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    Exciting Story

    “One More Day.” The Bearer’s Burden opens with the ecstasy of victory. Opening with a battle ad victory in a war pulled in to the book immediacy. It created the exciting, action-filled, beautifully written sense of the book while also making me ask questions about who the characters are and what is happening in this world. This book, written by author Chad Queen, is a story about Cade, a war veteran dealing with burden’s far too great. Cade’s family is missing, and their trail has gone cold. He must seek help if he has any chance of finding them and stopping the wraith that threatens to annihilate their world. But he is running out of time as his mind is tearing itself apart, filled with the phantoms of the dead. I felt connected to Cade quickly in this story. His mind is filled with chaos from the thoughts that are not his own, and the burden’s he is carrying is great, but he is a strong character. I like his inner strength, determination, and love he has for those he cares about. He was a character I could really feel for and route for through the many struggles he faces throughout the book. His relationships with his companions are also intriguing and well written. I found the writing to be wonderfully written in a way that both created a vivid setting and worked really well with getting into the heads of the characters. The book is faced past, exciting, and full of mystery that kept it engaging from start to finish. I loved the sci-fi, fantasy, mystery feel of the book and the action kept the tensions high throughout the story. Cade’s inner journey of turmoil was also very unique and engaging to follow. I found this book to be incredibly enjoyable to read and would highly recommend it. I will definitely be keeping a lookout for more by this author.
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    Phantom Pack Book One

    The Bearer's Burden is Book One in the Phantom Pact series by Chad Queen. The story is set in a dystopic world at war. Cade Elegy is a soldier called a 'bearer' who gains strength from forming a pact with phantoms. But sharing your head with the souls of the departed does not come without a cost. That's not Cade's biggest problem, however. Some humans have joined with the enemy, the Wraiths, who invaded Chalice a year ago, and it's up to Cade and Princess Ashlyn to save their world and stop any more people from dying like his wife and two children. With danger all around and doubts about who to trust, Cade and Ashlyn must work together to solve the mystery of whole towns of people disappearing, 'the taken,' and search for her uncle's murderer. The writing style and vivid descriptions draw the reader into the story. The author is a game developer, and the action scenes definitely have that kind of feel. But the book would have benefited from a bit more explanation at the beginning of the story about the world and the abilities of the main character, Cade, to provide a clear understanding and really ground the reader in the world of Chalice. It's not until later in the book that a lot of these details are revealed. The author ensures the reader is invested in the main character right from the very first chapter. I could almost hear the haunting melody when Cade described the phantom's song of his family, like the notes from a music box. While he struggles with tough issues (grief, addiction, hallucinations, voices in his head), his sarcastic attitude and responses make him a great antihero. Although, it's a dark story, there are brilliant touches of humor, especially in the interactions between Cade and Ashlyn, which serve as a counterpoint to the grimness of the world around them. And there are several surprising twists throughout the book. Book One had a conclusive ending, but many questions remain yet to be answered. I'm looking forward to the release of Book Two, when Cade's story continues.
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    5 star

    Fast paced and intriguing...................... ......... ... ................
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    A thoroughly enjoyable read!

    What do you do when you’ve lost everything you had, even the stars, but you haven’t lost the burden you carry: the weight of the dead? Cade Elegy is a Bearer of Phantoms; meaning he both helps the dead, called phantoms, find their way to the next level of existence, and uses them to manifest special powers. He and others who are Code-trained can “encode,” that is, become other substances, such as diamond, steel, tungsten, or wood. It also means he is haunted by the Songs of those who have passed but haven’t left yet. He’s haunted even more by the loss of his family, and the war he fought in against the Wraiths, an alien species that has invaded Chalice. An uneasy truce has been in existence, but now people are disappearing and former soldiers trained in Coda are joining the Wraith as dangerous, angry Acolytes. Determined to save himself from his nightmares, to hold onto his sanity, and honor the phantoms he carries with him, Cade sets out to find the truth and stop what’s happening. With him are Ashlyn Winshire, a rebellious princess determined to find her own truths; Elon Winshire, her brother, who has secrets of his own; Jace Exile, an archeologist with other talents; and Eos, a sentient machine existing within an ancient artifact. More help comes from the most unexpected sources, and they will need it as they set out to stop the Wraith from destroying Chalice further. Unique and highly imaginative, this is a fresh take on science fiction, steampunk, dystopian and fantasy novels, all rolled into one wild, dangerous, exquisitely-realized world populated with relics left behind by the Ancients that the current populace uses without understanding. Even at over 400 pages, there’s not a wasted word to be found; the narrative never lags into a dull moment. The characters, each fully realized with their own secrets, agendas, and needs, race from one danger to another, willing to sacrifice everything to either save or avenge others. It’s a beautiful ode to having a sense of duty, self-sacrifice, and a code of honor. The first in the Phantom Pact series, the ending feels very satisfying in that the story contained within could stand all on its own. At the same time, it lays out the possibility for the next challenging adventure, with mysteries still to be unraveled. Highly recommended, and I can’t wait for Book 2.
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